Family turkey hunting is a success

Kari Huber, wearing full camo, harvested a beautiful turkey with a perfect 38-yard shot while hunting with her dad, Gary Huber, last week. Submitted Photo

The New York state wild turkey hunting season started May 1. Here we are two weeks later already, and 2024 has proven to be a great year if you are a turkey hunter.

Birds are gobbling in so many places that some folks who have never heard them are calling around to ask what that gobble-gobble-gobble sound is all about in the early morning. Those are the HE-turkeys (toms) showing off their male vocal prowess to the SHE-turkeys (hens) announcing their presence and studly stature with hearty gobble sounds (attractive to female turkeys). Upon hearing a soft purring sound response — audible answer from a female turkey — the toms, with their tail fans drawn full-wide and very visible from a distance, attempt to be heard and seen by the hen that answered, but usually not by hunters.

Turkeys are very wary of people and unexpected movement and, as such, are considered among the most difficult to achieve success for hunters. Hunters attract the tom turkeys by using mouth calls, box calls, and slate calls designed to sound like the most highly sought-after hen turkey in the woods. Typically, hunters use fewer calls, rather than more calls to avoid being unduly detected by the largest of toms as a fake hen turkey. Another example in life where less is more (now don’t think about gas pump prices). When turkey hunting success is realized, it is a sweet day.

For Gary Huber and his daughter, Kari, last week was a double-good week. On opening day, Gary won the battle of turkey wits at 11:45 a.m. using his 20-gauge Stevens 555 over/under shotgun with a Sumtoy 0.562-inch barrel choke. This old-fashioned, highly experienced hunter loads his own shotgun shells using the Ronny Savage “Li’ll Hammer” recipe. The next day, while this father-daughter team usually can never find the time to hunt together, Gary teamed with daughter Kari to find another tom turkey willing to respond to their calls from 300 yards away, across an open field.

“This bird never gobbled. He just came running across the field like on a string. Not all birds gobble,” said Gary.

Gary Huber used his 20-gauge Stevens 555 over/under shotgun with a Sumtoy 0.562 inch barrel choke to take this prized wild tom turkey on opening day last week. Submitted Photo

Using a Remington 870, 20 Gauge with a Remington extra-full stock choke and #8 TSS loads, Kari downed the tom at 38 yards. Gary’s bird was taken at 35 yards. They both wore mossy oak camouflage tops and bottoms with a Northern Mountain leafy color jacket. The duo hunted near Franklinville with Case Lake in the distant view. Hats off to Gary and Kari on their turkey hunt success. The New York state spring turkey season runs May 1-31, with a daily bag limit of one tom and a season limit of two toms (no hens in spring); hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to noon each day.

Gary Huber, a resident from Southern Erie County, is one of the founding members of WNY Deer Search — founded almost four decades ago. Huber is a dedicated, tireless worker who uses trained dogs to help hunters find their wounded and lost deer during the big game archery and firearms hunting season (October to December annually). Huber is a well-deserved recent inductee to the New York State Outdoor Sportsman’s Hall of Fame. WNY Deer Search donates $1,000 to the Chautauqua County Federation of Sportsmen in support of youth education. To learn more about WNY Deer Search, call 716-648-4355 or visit www.deersearchwny.org. Deer Search seeks more help each year; new members require training and certification as dog handlers for official status. Helping others find their lost deer can be very gratifying. If you have the time, contact them.


May 16: Southtowns Walleye Association of WNY, monthly meeting, 7 p.m. start, 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg. Info: Jim Skoczylas, 716-796-5372.

May 18-19: Wilson Harbor Salmon Invitational Tournament. Info: greatlakesspecialevents.com.

May 23: Chautauqua Lake Musky Outreach Meeting, 6:30 p.m. start at Chautauqua Lake Fishing Association, Celoron. Info: Jim Markham, Region 9 Fishery Manager, james.markham@dec.ny.gov.

May 25: Memorial Day Sporting Clay Shoot, Hanover Rod & Gun, 780 Overhiser Road, Forestville, 9 a.m. shooting start, 8 a.m. registration start. Info: Bill Scott, 716-480-2022, or visit www.hanoverclays.com.

June 1: Opening day, New York state inland lakes musky season, 40-inch minimum length, one fish/day.

NOTE: Submit Calendar items to forrestfisher35@yahoo.com.


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