Away from the stage and studio, country star Meghan Patrick finds solace—and musical inspiration—in the spring turkey woods
First of all, it’s important to scout the area you want to hunt, Patrick says. With turkey hunting, it’s good to know where the birds are roosting so you can place your blind or set-up accordingly. Also look for a spot where there’s a nearby food source, she advises. “You want to be somewhere where you have a lot of cover, but there’s open space, too, such as a field.”
Turkeys have incredible eyesight, so it’s best if you can sit with your back against a big tree that blocks your outline and helps you blend into your surroundings, Patrick says. “It can also help conceal your movements, as opposed to if you’re out in the open.”
You also want to wear full-camo clothing, she advises, complete with a facemask and gloves. As well, she says to wear a beanie or toque rather than a baseball cap, which is more visible because of the bill when you turn your head.
Patrick also stresses the importance of making sure you have clear shooting lanes, which often entails cutting away brush or branches. “It’s about finding that happy medium of having cover, but also being able to get a clear shot.”
Where you place your decoys depends on where you think the birds will be coming from, Patrick says. You also want your decoys positioned where you can get a clean shot and still be able to stay concealed, she adds. “I try to set up my decoys up in the sweet spot where I’d like the birds to end up in order for me to be able to shoot them.” Typically, she places single tom and hen decoys approximately 40 metres from her blind.
When she first started hunting turkeys, Patrick says she used a slate call, but now prefers a diaphragm call because it’s more portable and discreet. “It’s the easiest to get around with as opposed to having to pull something big and bulky out of your pocket or your bag,” she says, “especially if you’re stalking and moving around a lot.”
Patrick admits it took her a lot of practice to get really good at using a mouth call. Along with getting tips from friends who are great callers, she also did some research. “There are many instructional videos online,” she says. “I watched a few different ones until I found one that helped me.”
Patrick also recommends studying the actual sounds of the animals you’re trying to call in order to make the most realistic vocalizations. “From a musical standpoint, I think calling is really interesting—understanding the timbre and the cadence of how birds call is really cool.”
Finally, it pays to continually practise. To that end, Patrick keeps duck and turkey calls in the console of her truck. “If I’m stuck in traffic or have to drive somewhere, that’s when I practise my calling,” she says.