With eyesight that puts an eagle to shame and an all-too-often reluctance to come within range despite the lively “conversation” between bird and a hunter’s slate call, spring turkey seasons are a challenge that see camo-clad, shotgunners head to the woods and fields in droves.
There are four subspecies in the Lower 48. The Eastern is the most prolific, having made a stunning comeback over the last decades—with lots of help from people like those at the National Wild Turkey Federation—after near decimation in the early 1900s. You’ll find it almost everywhere in the Eastern U.S. and even into Canada. The Osceola turkey is on the other end, with the most limited distribution and germane only to South Florida. North and west in the ponderosa pines of states from New Mexico to South Dakota you’ll find the Merriam’s subspecies with its distinguishing white bands of rump and tail end feathers, while the windy plains from Texas to Utah are the range of the Rio Grande.
Check Out some of these Turkey Hunting Tips
Find more information about turkeys from our friends at the National Wild Turkey Federation. The NWTF’s Turkey Hunting 101 is considered the premier educational tool to learn everything you need to know about wild turkeys, their behavior and planning a successful hunt.
Turkey Hunting Regulations During Pandemic
As states scramble to slow the spread of COVID-19 and enact a wide range of regulations to enforce social distance, many hunters, anglers, and outdoor recreators are left wondering what they’re allowed to do. It can be a little tricky, so be sure to stay on the right side of the law and regulations. MeatEater has been keeping a close eye on what the restrictions mean to hunters and anglers alike. They’re updating it as often as possible, so check it out.
If You Can Safely Bring a +ONE
Every hunter wants to make the most of each day they can get into the woods and fields. The pandemic made it even trickier. Still, hunting is open for the most part. Get out, and if possible, take someone else and join NSSF’s +OneSM Movement. Chances are every hunter knows someone else who is itching to get out of the house and now is the perfect time to introduce someone new to the hunting heritage.
Ever wonder why some hunters grow such an immense passion for hunting? Hunting takes time, work, skill, luck and so much more, but the benefits can far outweigh what is invested.
As you get into hunting, the challenge can seem overwhelming. It is sure to challenge your learning abilities, but persistence and perseverance truly set accomplished hunters apart from the rest.
No matter how much you hunt, here are a few ways that hunting might positively impact mental health:
Connection with nature: Hunting often involves spending time outdoors in natural environments, which can promote feelings of calmness, relaxation, and connectedness with nature. Research has shown that spending time in nature can reduce stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression.
Physical activity: Hunting often involves physical activity, such as walking or hiking, which can promote physical health and also release endorphins that can improve mood and reduce stress.
Mindfulness: Hunting can require a great deal of patience and focus, which can promote mindfulness and help individuals stay present in the moment. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
Sense of accomplishment: Successfully hunting an animal can provide a sense of accomplishment and boost self-esteem. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who may struggle with feelings of low self-worth or lack of purpose.
Hunting can also provide an ongoing lesson for the roles in life and death, which can also benefit one's perception of reality -- something very much needed in a time when social media, artificial intelligence and augmented reality are taking over our younger generations. It is critical that we adapt to the world we physically live in and not expect the world around us to adapt to us for everything. That is not a healthy reality and oftentimes creates unhappiness.
It is important to note that today not everybody is for hunting, but hunting will always be for everybody. Elements of today's culture and modern conveniences numb our primitive instincts to hunt -- developed through our ancestors -- and the necessity to learn, invest and become self-sustainable through the outdoors. Hunting used to be about the need to survive, but more than ever it is now considered recreation because only those who want to do it participate -- it has become a choice among many choices. There are still millions of people who participate, strive to maintain the basic life skills hunting provides, and continue to share the heritage of the hunting lifestyle with others.
Those who participate reap the benefits the most, but hunting also supports conservation efforts that benefit all people and species. For that, we should all be thankful for hunting.
This year retailers will see a renewed focus on innovation.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “Change is the only constant in life.” That just might be a fitting theme for the knife companies that are launching new designs at this year’s SHOT Show. Many companies are releasing knife designs that have moved away from the standard three-inch EDCs that were so prominent a few years ago. Look for innovative designs, out-of-the-box thinking, and new ways of capturing a customer’s attention with many of this year’s new releases. Of course, there are still plenty of the tried-and-true designs that will never go out of style. Because not everything always has to change.
Bear & Son Cutlery
Bear & Son will be featuring a new Bowie knife that’s sure to turn few heads. The Cocobola Gold Rush Bowie features a hefty 7 3/8-inch Sandvick 12C27M stainless-steel blade. The knife has an overall length of 12 inches and weighs 16.4 ounces. The handle is made of Cocobola wood and features a curved brass hand guard. SRP: $154.99, which includes a leather sheath.
Check these out on: bearandsoncutlery.com
Browning is giving hunters a sharper edge this year with the release of their new Primal Scalpel Kill Kit. The Kill Kit comes complete with everything hunters need to make easier work of field dressing big game, including a pair of disposable gloves, zip ties, 10 feet of blaze paracord, and a blaze storage bag to keep the kit together. The Kill Kit even includes four washable and reusable game bags that feature a reflective logo to make it easier to spot in the dark. The highlight of the kit is the Primal Scalpel knife. The knife features stainless-steel replaceable scalpel blades locked securely in a foldable frame complete with a thumb stud and pocket clip. The black-and-orange handle is made of sturdy polymer with a rubber overmold and non-skid grooves on the spine. The knife comes with 10 replacement blades housed in a storage container that doubles as the blade installation/removal tool. SRP: $99.
Check these out on: browning.com
The Buck Alpha Hunter is built to withstand the rigors of big-game hunting. The S35VN steel blade will hold an edge through the entire field-dressing process without the need for resharpening, and a high-panel flat grind adds strength to the blade that allows you to cut with confidence. Jimping on the top of the blade delivers ultimate control when using different grips on the knife for detailed work. The purpose-designed textured handle gives you a trusted grip, even in wet conditions. Includes a reinforced leather sheath.
Check these out on: buckknives.com
Camillus is presenting its new line of knives from a different location this year in Booth #13660. One of the standouts of the 2023 line is a knife that will no doubt be unlike anything else featured at the SHOT Show this year. The Swedge is part fixed-blade knife, part chisel, and part file. Created to handle a wide range of campsite chores, Camillus describes the Swedge as a cross between a “bushcraft knife and a small hatchet.” The 8.75-inch knife features a thick 4.3-inch titanium-bonded 420 stainless-steel blade with a textured ABS plastic handle. SRP: $24.99, which includes a molded sheath with a belt clip.
Check these out on: camillusknives.com
Columbia River Knife & Tool
Columbia River Knife & Tool is continuing its tradition of developing designs that seamlessly blend aesthetics and functionality to create knives that look every bit as amazing as their performance. Case in point: the new Pilar IV. The 7.34-inch knife is designed with a natural contour that effortlessly fits into the user’s hand and features two deep finger choils to ensure a secure grip whether it’s being used to field dress large game or slice open the tape on the latest package left on your porch. The 3-inch clip-point blade is made from D2 steel and is deployed from the G10 handle on CRKT’s IKBS ball-bearing pivot system. SRP: $90. CRKT is also adding to its Forged by War line with the new Taco Viper tactical folder. Created and named by Antonio Rodriguez in homage to the nickname for his former unit, the Taco Viper features a 4.22-inch high-carbon stainless-steel blade with Veff serrations and a stonewash finish. The blade is housed in a glass-reinforced nylon handle and features assisted-opening deployment. SRP: $135.
Check these out on: crkt.com
Hogue will be launching its Collector Series of knives at its new booth #14838. As the name implies, the line consists of high-end collector-edition knives made from premium materials. The signature knife in the line is the new Counterstrike. The out-the-front automatic features a 3.35-inch double-edge blade made from cryogenically heat-treated CPM MagnaCut stainless steel. The hard-anodized aluminum frame is housed in a black carbon-fiber handle complete with a carbide glass breaker and lanyard hole. The Counterstrike features an ambidextrous trigger deployment and retraction to make it effective regardless of which hand it’s held in. SRP: $399.95.
Check these out on: hogueknives.com
Ontario Knife Company
Ontario Knife Company’s new Epoch folder is a prime example of the innovative new designs prevalent at this year’s SHOT Show. The 2-inch blade, which is made from D2 steel, is designed with sharp diagonal edges at the spine and tip to create a modern-looking EDC that has the kind of substantial heft to handle even the heaviest of cutting tasks. Adding to the style of the Epoch folder is the golden finish on the blade, which contrasts sharply with the handle that features olive-green G10 scales on one side and brushed stainless steel on the other. SRP: $135.95. Booth #20305 ()
Check these out on: ontarioknife.com
Outdoor Edge is releasing a more-compact version of its popular Razor-Lite EDC replaceable-blade knife from its new booth location at #70935. The new Razor-Lite 2.5-inch features a black-oxide coated blade holder that houses 2.5-inch replaceable razor blades made from Japanese 420J2 stainless steel. The knife comes with four blades, which are replaceable with the push of a button, and features a double-molded Grivory handle with rubberized TPR inserts. Available in black, olive green, or blaze orange, the Razor-Lite EDC 2.5-inch comes complete with thumb studs on both sides and a replaceable pocket clip. SRP: $39.50. Booth #70935 ()
Check these out on: outdooredge.com
Spyderco is continuing its long-standing tradition of releasing top-quality knives for nearly every purpose and multiple price points. Standing front and center in their new booth #10555 at this year’s SHOT Show will be the Stretch 2XL folder that provides a powerful option for people who want something more substantial than a three-inch blade in their EDC. The Stretch XL is nearly 9 inches overall and features a 4-inch blade made from CPM CRU-WEAR tool steel with a full-flat grind. The handle features gray G-10 scales with a back lock on the spine. SRP: $406.50. Spyderco is also releasing two versions of its Ambitious lightweight knife for those who are looking for something a little lighter and more compact. Both versions have a 2.31-inch blade and tip the scales at a mere 2.8 ounces. One version features a CPM S35VN stainless-steel blade with a blue fiberglass-reinforced nylon handle. Available in either a plain edge or fully serrated option. SRP: $130. The other version of the Ambitious EDC has a blade made from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel with a black-oxide finish that coordinates with the black fiberglass-reinforced nylon handle. SRP: $60.
Check these out on: spyderco.com
At this year’s SHOT Show, Case is breaking away from what people traditionally expect to see from the iconic knifemaker by releasing an assisted-opening EDC from its new booth location #10538. Not only is the new Westline knife a break from tradition for Case, it’s also a break from the traditional design of the EDC. The 3-inch S35VN stainless-steel blade has a stylized drop-point design, which gives it a modern flair. That contemporary feel is further enhanced by the blade’s stonewash finish and the hard-anodized handle, which is available in blue, red, silver, and black.
Check these out on: caseknives.comYou may also be interested in:Find more articles like this in the 2023 SHOT Show Day 3 SHOT Daily:
National Hunting and Fishing Day is this Saturday, September 24, and NSSF, as a major sponsor, encourages all sportsmen and sportswomen to participate.
Celebrating 50 years of National Hunting and Fishing Day!
On the fourth Saturday of every September, NHF Day recognizes generations of sportsmen and women for their contributions to the conservation of our nation’s rich sporting heritage and natural resources. One of the main goals of National Hunting and Fishing Day is to recruit new hunters and anglers by encouraging participation and increasing public awareness of the connection between hunting, angling, and conservation. Through self-imposed fees and excise taxes, sportsmen and women have raised more than $57 billion--that’s more than $100,000 every 30 minutes being raised for conservation. Now on its 50th year, NHF Day is the largest, most effective grassroots movement ever undertaken to promote outdoor sports and conservation.
Launched by Congress in 1971 and heavily promoted by NSSF for decades, NHF Day is now administered by Wonders of Wildlife Museum and has consistently recognized hunters and anglers for their leadership in wildlife and conservation.
Find national, state, regional and local organizations hosting related events.
Hunting, Fishing, and Shooting Sports are not just great American pastimes – they are the very foundation that supports the model of wildlife conservation created more than a century ago in this country. By introducing new audiences to these activities, we ensure that wildlife and wild places will be protected for generations to come.
Hunting is a useful and beneficial wildlife management tool that ensures and maintains the health and abundance of game species and the balance of our natural resources. There are a number of species, from upland birds to big game animals to hunt. Learn more about these species from game bird and game animal organizations.
Take the Pledge
Take the pledge to take someone hunting, fishing, or shooting this year and be entered into the NHF Day Giveaway!
Share Your Images
Upload an image of you hunting, fishing or target shooting and tag @NHFday on social media and use the hashtag #GuideToOutside or Upload an image to be featured here!
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