For many hunters, their turkey blind is as essential to the hunt as their gun or bow.
Although I'm not a big fan of them, if you're hunting with a kid, trying to arrow a turkey, or staking out a strut zone, a turkey blind might be the perfect way to conceal your movement long enough to take down a wary gobbler.
Here are seven bad habits to avoid while in the turkey blind.
1. Gun safety fails
The tight confines of a turkey blind can lead otherwise safe hunters to commit some pretty terrible, and possible deadly, gun safety fails. Make sure your gun is steady and pointed in a safe direction if you set it down and avoid leaning it against the walls of the blind where it could tip over and cause an accidental discharge.
While the rest of these bad habits could cost you a turkey, this one could cost you your life.
2. Talking too much
Sure, a blind muffles the sounds that are made inside it, but that thin nylon barrier won't stop your story of the last turkey you killed from spooking the one slipping in behind you. Keep conversations short and sweet and speak in a whisper to avoid spooking turkeys.
3. Opening too many windows
The biggest advantage of a turkey blind is the dark "cave" it provides. By wearing dark clothing and staying near the back of the blind, a hunter can virtually disappear. However, if you open windows on opposite sides of the blind, you'll be silhouetted and stick out like a sore thumb. Keep those windows closed and bag a big bird this spring.
4. Playing on your phone
How many times have you heard hunters recount a blown hunt by saying, "I just looked up and he was right in the decoys." What I always wonder is "what the heck were you doing before you saw the turkey?" More often than not, they were staring at their phone.
Sitting for hours in a turkey blind and waiting on a stubborn gobbler to show can get pretty boring (one of the reasons I don't like them), but by leaving your phone in your pocket or back at the truck you'll be ready when that long-spurred strutter comes strolling in silently.
While playing on your phone is bad, falling asleep altogether is even worse. I know it's tough, especially after several days or weeks of early morning wake-ups, but do your best to stay awake and alert. Drink coffee or energy shots if you have to, and you'll never wake up to a sharp "PUTT" as a gobbler moves away again.
6. Looking into the sun
Find a setup that has your blind pointing north or south. That way, when the sun is rising or setting, it's not shining directly in your eyes and, more importantly, it's not lighting up the inside of your blind like Saturday night on the Vegas strip.
7. Passing gas
If you're hunting by yourself, do what you want, but if you have company in the turkey blind, avoid passing gas. The confined space concentrates the foul odor and causes it to linger longer than normal. You'll spook turkeys with the windows your buddy will inevitable open, the sound will cause nearby birds to flee from the wild pigs they believe they heard, and, worst of all, your buddy might return the favor and make the situation even worse.
Avoid these bad habits in the turkey blind this spring and have a safe and successful season.