Shoveling out my blind!

Finally! Turkey hunting starts on private land in South Carolina on the 20th of March! Many hunters spend the months and weeks prior to the season preparing and counting down the days.  Like many regions, we have a good many venomous snakes to be aware of when we hunt, especially when turkey hunting.  I don’t have a fear of snakes, but I do have a healthy respect for them.   I like to start out in a blind, and if I don’t have any luck, I like to run and gun and that means I may find myself sitting up against a tree or stalking through some dense woods to get closer to a gobbler.

Snakes are expected to be in the woods, so you just need to be careful especially where you put your hands. I like to take an extra chair in my blind so that I can set my backpack on it instead of on the ground. Wearing snake boots is a given and I feel comfortable wearing them year round when hunting.  Checking your blind with a flashlight throughly is a very good idea before you get too comfortable and carry a stick which makes a good first defense should you come upon one. I had a snake in my elevated deer stand this past year so that told me that you need to be prepared.

Here are some of the most interesting ideas I found on some forums about dealing with snakes when turkey hunting:

  1.  If you are hunting in a blind, when you first approach the blind, give it a good shake so that if there is a rattle snake in it, it will alert you.
  2. Make sure there are no snakes nearby and then sprinkle Snake repellent or moth balls around your blind. The snake repellent I found smells just like moth balls and I find it too strong for me to consider.
  3. Snakes do not like to crawl over hemp rope.  Surround your hunting space or blind with a rope.
  4. Snakes hate cinnamon and clove –  In a gallon bucket, add 10 drops of each essential oil in the bucket and mix.  Use a spray bottle to spray the outside of your tent.
  5. Snakes also do not like tick spray- spray the outside of your blind thoroughly with tick spray.
  6. Take a plastic container in the blind to keep everything dry and in one place so you don’t have to search in the dark for gear.
  7. Make sure your blind has been completely cleared of all plants, grass, or anything that would make a cozy place for a snake.  I shoveled out a ton of leaves and pine straw out of mine.
  8. If you can get your blind up in advance,  pack down the sides of your blind to discourage snakes from intruding.  Keep in mind it will not keep rodents out so look for any holes.
  9. Evidently, snakes hate black pepper… we decided that this is a good option since we like organic options.
  10. You can buy snake gloves in the garden section of many stores or on line

    Trippett brought an extra large bottle of black pepper to put around his blind!!

Speaking of pests, I always treat my outer clothes with Permethrin spray which helps protect against ticks especially when you are sitting in pine straw or up against a tree.

Now that we have taken some precautions to avoid coming upon a snake, it is time to focus on calling in a long beard!  So, my plan is to get in my blind about 30 minutes before day break and settle in and listen.  My decoys are set up as realistically as I can get, but I can’t keep from laughing to myself that turkeys get real turned on with these rubber, blow-up dolls without much fussing.  Wanting to make the most of the morning hunt,  I run though my mind all the turkey hunting do’s and don’ts that I have learned over the years.  Sitting there quietly, my turkey hunting successes and failures playback like video camera in my mind on fast forward.

Not only am I an over-thinker, but yes, I am an over-packer.  I always like to have my hand gun with me, and my backpack is filled with every imaginable item you could possibly need.  I am always prepared,  just as if I am going on the Price is Right and hoping to win the pocketbook challenge and Bob Barker is asking me if I have some obscure item in my backpack!

Handgun, binoculars, & slate call made by by my brother, Jim

Sitting there motionless, there is no doubt, that first gobble will send a thrill to every cell in my body and my plan is to return a soft seductive cutting sequence like I am welcoming the morning, just to let him know I am around.   Once he hits the ground and he calls again, I will only respond with a little louder sequence to let him know I am interested  and then stop!  Having him come to me is the challenge, since in his mind, I should be coming to him and hoping that my playing hard to get will get him closer.  But my biggest challenge is not over-calling!!!

What happens next depends on a lot of things.  He may already have a willing hen;  he gets hung up waiting for me;  or he just stops gobbling… The joys of hunting turkeys.  That is what makes us obsessed each year.

Wishing everyone a wonderful turkey season and let me know about your adventure!

Maggie Boineau, Prois Hunt Staff