Tips from a turkey expert

March 31, 2010

Faith Outdoors


One of the highlights of my year came today. I had lunch with Steve Huettl, a turkey expert whom I got to know a few years ago when I took his wedding photos.

We discovered a mutual passion for turkey hunting and have stayed in touch since. We have lunch once or twice a year to talk strategy. He does most of the talking and I listen attentively to his every word.

He is one of the best turkey experts I know and his advice has paid off handsomely for me over the last few years. It was time to pick his brain once again. As usual, he did not disappoint. I showed him maps of several properties my boys and I will be hunting this year and he gave me tips on where birds might be. He knows turkeys’ tendencies very well and has been very generous in sharing his knowledge with me. I can’t wait to put it to work.

As it turns out, I’ll be in the woods a lot this spring chasing turkeys, both for myself and for others. The weekend after Easter is the Wisconsin youth turkey hunting weekend. I’m taking my son, William, who just turned 12 and is going on his first turkey hunt. We are going to a property where we have killed birds the last two years, including during the youth weekend. So, I’m optimistic.

Then, I take all three of my boys out for the first season in Minnesota a few days later. After that, I’m going to Camp Ripley to serve as a guide for a special hunt for disabled war veterans. I’m being paired with a World War II vet and his grandson, and I’m very excited. I sure hope I can help him get a bird.

With turkey hunting, the odds go up when you understand the birds and their tendencies. Steve truly does, and I learn something from him every time we talk. I hope to use that insight for myself and others this spring.

Steve is off to a great start already. He bagged a nice tom in Nebraska last weekend. He called in a group of gobblers the first morning of his hunt and  got  the nicest one with his bow. I may try bowhunting for turkeys at some point, but that’s far more challenging than using a shotgun.

In the meantime, I plan on trying a new product that just came out. It is made by Gamehide, a camo clothing company where Steve works. It’s called ElimiTick and it’s now available on the company’s website: I’m going to get some from Steve and try it out. I have used spray previously with good results, but, in this case, the repellent is bonded right to the fibers of the garment. It’s odorless and the company  says it will last through 70 washings — essentially, the life of the garment. I can’t wait to try it.


About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek