• Hunting

    A turkey’s weight is only one piece of the puzzle that leads to his final NWTF score.

    How to score a turkey

    The National Wild Turkey Federation’s formula for scoring a wild gobbler is a combination of weight, spur length and beard length, with multipliers used for emphasis on spur and beard. All measurements are taken in 1/16-inch measurements, and lengths and weight must be converted to decimal form.

    March 19 at 7:00am
    One of the trail-camera photos that caused him to want to be in an afternoon stand in mid-January.

    How’d that happen?

    On one particular afternoon in mid-January, my son-in-law, Jody, had the itch to head over to his favorite deer-hunting area to try and get a crack at a couple of elusive, mature bucks  he had captured on trail camera. The weather was right, and the wind was blowing from a favorable direction, enabling him to get into a really thick area where these late-rut bucks seemed to be holed up.

    March 15 at 9:00am
    Part of a young hunter’s training is learning during a hunt. Scott Ellis uses the time to point out different signs, explain strategy and give calling tips.

    Calling instructions for the champ

    Scott Ellis is a three-time Grand National Champion turkey caller who has beaten all comers in practically every venue. More than a champion caller, he’s a tremendous turkey hunter, as evidenced by the gobblers he has killed all over the country.

    March 15 at 8:00am
    Scott Ellis said using shooting sticks to help a youngster stabilize the gun can help early in their turkey hunting careers.

    Matching a young hunter to the right firearm

    These days, manufacturers are marketing youth shotguns that are easy for even the smallest youngster to shoot ­— and more than adequate for harvesting a turkey with the proper training. 

    March 15 at 8:00am
    Jake Ellis finished off his turkey grand slam last season with this Rio Grande gobbler.

    Father and son grand slam

    Getting a turkey grand slam — killing all four sub-species, Osceola, Eastern, Merriam’s and Rio Grande — in a single season is a daunting task. Imagine a father and son accomplishing it; Scott and Jake Ellis did it in 2017.

    March 15 at 8:00am
    Scratching in the leaves while calling quietly is a great tactic to give an approaching gobbler a sense of security.

    When things gets tough, scratch out a tom

    Hunters love it when a turkey plan comes together right off the get-go, but sometimes a wary old gobbler will tease you with booming gobbles, but sit tight on his turf. Instead of scratching your noggin for answers, just simply scratch…literally.

    March 15 at 8:00am
    Decoys, especially those imitating a jake, can be very effective in getting turkeys to commit and come into shotgun range.

    The pros and cons of turkey decoys

    Hunters typically fall into one of two camps when it comes to using turkey decoys: those who swear by them and those who don’t want the hassle of carrying them into the woods and setting them up.

    March 15 at 8:00am
    Many different turkey loads — 31/2-inch 12-gaunge, 3-inch 12-gauge, 3-inch 20-gauge ­— can be effective in the right hunter’s hands.

    Comparing shotgun loads for turkeys

    One well-known turkey hunter once discussed different shotgun loads for gobblers this way: “The only reason I don’t shoot 4-inch shells is because they don’t make them.” 

    March 15 at 8:00am
    Patterning your shotgun at different ranges, with different loads, will give you a better idea about your weapon’s capabilities.

    Patterning your shotgun

    One of the most-overlooked aspects of hunting with a smoothbore is the act of getting a good pattern for your shotgun.

    March 15 at 8:00am
    Blinds built of natural vegetation can be great hiding places for hunters if located along turkeys’ travel routes.

    What do hunters see in blinds?

    Hunting from a blind is a great way to get an edge on a wary gobbler, but good blind strategy will improve your odds, too.

    March 15 at 8:00am
    Mechanical broadheads have several advantages for hunters who want to take a gobbler with archery equipment.

    Broadheads for turkeys

    Having the right gear is part and parcel to using archery equipment to take a turkey. 

    March 15 at 8:00am
    If there’s anything more exciting than a mature gobbler in strut, it’s two mature gobblers in strut.

    Magnolia monarchs: State’s top gobblers

    Mississippi’s Magnolia Records program tracks turkey hunting records in the state and has a database that includes hundreds of birds taken by hunters within its borders.

    March 15 at 7:00am
    A total of 128 deer from six counties in the 25-mile buffer zone have tested negative for CWD.

    Second round of CWD tests all negative

    Mississippi wildlife officials have now tested 128 deer — two sets of 64 each — since the state’s first case of the deadly deer disease was confirmed in a buck in Issaquena County on Feb. 9.

    March 13 at 1:25pm
    The MDWFP will host its second public meeting at the Vicksburg Convention Center on March 19 to discuss CWD and its response plan.

    MDWFP sets CWD meeting in Vicksburg

    State wildlife officials and representatives of other agencies will meet with the public March 19 in Vicksburg to discuss the latest information related to Mississippi’s first case of Chronic Wasting Disease.

    March 12 at 8:00am
    The MDWFP will continue to monitor the CWD situation and collect deer for sampling.

    CWD testing finds no new cases

    Tests on 64 deer taken from the five-mile Chronic Wasting Disease containment zone in Mississippi’s South Delta were all negative for CWD, state wildlife officials said on Tuesday.

    March 07 at 9:55am

    2018 turkey season forecast

    Mississippi turkey hunters who had a good season last spring will enjoy the forecast for the 2018 season, but those who did not will not be so enthusiastic.

    March 07 at 7:00am