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Turkey Hunting for Beginners | Mahting Putelis from Hunt to Eat

Turkey Hunting for Beginners | Mahting Putelis from Hunt to Eat
March 17, 2021

Getting into turkey hunting can seem overwhelming so we asked Mahting Putelis from Hunt to Eat to share his gear recommendations and entry level tips. Mahting shares how he uses digital scouting to locate turkeys, his turkey shotgun setup, his turkey calling strategy, how to make sure turkeys don’t spot you, his favorite piece of turkey hunting gear, and his favorite way to cook and eat thunder chickens.

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Gear Mentioned:
Benelli Super Vinci Shotgun

Benelli Nova Pump-Action Shotgun

Primos Hook-Up Magnetic Box Call

Primos The Gobbler Shaker Call

DTS Tactical Montana Decoy Fanatic Turkey Decoy

Montana Decoy Fanatic Tom 2D Turkey Decoy

Cabela's Tactical Tat'r 2 Turkey Vest

Alps Turkey Vest

SITKA Thunderhead Optifade Subalpine Jacket

SITKA Thunderhead Optifade Subalpine Pants

Mossy Oak Greenleaf Hat & Face Mask

Premium Turkey - HEAVYWEIGHT TSS 12 Gauge

Show Notes:
Restless Native with Mahting Putelis: coming soon
Shopgowild.com (https://timetogowild.com/categories


Brad: like your imprisonment in facebook jail the wait for turkey season is almost over heck those of you down south have already started yelping at those many roaring dinosaurs some folks like recent guest tony caggiano speak turkey as fluently as his native language american for the rest of us though it's best to just keep it simple and stick to what you know today's guest is going to walk us through his simple approach to turkey hunting mate patellas founded hunt to e which started as a t-shirt company and it's now grown into this full-blown educational experience organization now first I'll say to hear more of Mahting's story make sure you subscribe to my other podcast restless native he's coming up as a guest but on today's show we're going to talk about locating turkeys Mahting's shotgun setup calling strategy how to avoid turkey's watchful eye his favorite piece of gear and we can't have the food guy on the show without talking about his favorite way to eat a wild turkey before we dive in quick reminder that you can use code NWTF10 that's NWTF10 when shopping on GoWild direct this is going to save you 10 off but it's also going to allow us to donate a portion of our proceeds to the national wild turkey federation visit shopgowild.com use the code and help raise some funds for those turkeys alright that's enough gobble and this is gearbox talk with Mahting Putelis


so let's talk about some turkeys man how's it going

Mahting: it's going well I'm excited to go chase turkeys all over the country this year

Brad: dude I know I keep doing these turkey shows and I it's like getting me too fired up I want to go right now but I got a few more weeks here alright man first question how do you approach finding a good spot for turkey hunting

Mahting: colorado and I think a lot of other states actually show if you go to the cpw website you can find maps of their migration from winner to winter and summer range and those like literally finding little pockets and overlaying that on onex that's been virtual scouting has been pretty much how i've found every single turkey spot it's just looking at where they're supposed to be and seeing how that overlays to some public land and going and looking for them and lo and behold they're usually there now there might be a lot of other people there too but but that's where the turkeys are right so like that and then hunt on weekdays

Brad: there you go there you go alright when you're on the ground what are you looking for keep in mind a beginner level show if you if you're first season chasing turkeys what signs are you looking for that that turkeys might be in the area short of sound like I know I know you can you know you can do a call crow call or something to locator calls like what are you looking for though how can someone know if they're in a good spot for turkeys

Mahting: that's a good good question I was so the thing for us here in colorado I'll say is water is access to water so access to water and then pinch points really that's kind of what I'm looking for so water is pretty limited in a lot of these places so I want to know where that water is and then kind of what happened what's the path they're probably going to get there

Brad: yeah for sure good answer i've killed you know most of my turkeys that i've gotten somewhere near some type of water source they do seem to like roosting over creeks too and I think james nash even told me that that he's noticed that as well what's your shotgun set up for turkey hunting man

Mahting: so I'm for my shotgun setup for all of my turkey or all of my hunting with a shotgun is is this bad boy so it's a camo printed super yeah the super vinci from finale it's as people say cry once right I actually got this on a really good deal from a closeout from a shop that was quitting being a carrier of these shotguns so I got it actually for a cost but it's one of those guns that like yes I think it retails for 1700 bucks but it shoots any load you want to shoot and it really is so good you should never have any issues with it so it's like you cried the first time you spent the money on it and now you just smile every time you open up that box so

Brad: well dude if anything you know this year or over the last like a few weeks really last year but this year too guns are an investment man the price just keeps going up so in fact even a few years ago I bought my benelli I have a nova and just a plain old nova 12 gauge I bought it and my buddy bought another gun and then he wanted it back he's like dude I'll pay you more than like I'll lose money on this deal and it's like nah man I'm that'd be a nice return but I'm keeping it yeah alright man can you break down your calling strategy like how does it how does it change throughout the day but let's start in the morning and kind of walk me through what your your thought process throughout the day

Mahting: yeah well let me start by just saying these are my two calls that I carry and I carry a diaphragm call as well just in case I know that there's a bird coming close I can have it in my mouth and so I'm not moving when I still need to like squeak out a last couple one or two hand calls but for the most part I go with these two things so this is the primos magnetic lid hook up box call it comes apart it's i've hunted with a couple of guides and when I let this thing loose

Brad: zoom's not gonna it doesn't do well on zoom

Mahting: yeah but the last time I hunted with a guide just we happened to be on some trip and I let this thing rip and he was like whoa like it carries it's very very loud it carries a long way it has like I guess good pitch or whatever so that's my that's my big call

Brad: I use that same box call

Mahting: yeah and then this guy's if for people that are not familiar with this thing it's the primos it's the gobbler turkey shaker call and it really you just you just hold it and and it makes a turkey gobble this is what I ultimately like I'll start with some hen some hen noises in the morning but I'll rip out pretty often I'll rip out this gobbler just to locate birds in the morning because they if they're if you're shocked gobbling them meaning you're calling you know with some loud noise that they just automatically respond to i'd rather be a turkey that they want to like interact with or they want to like have a turf fight with than just yelling at a crow call or something like that so that's kind of what I start with in the morning I probably I probably overcall but I found that like being a caller that doesn't that doesn't call very well or doesn't have a big repertoire of noises I have had pretty good luck with it with over calling and particularly in places where there's a lot of hunters there's a lot of pressure and they're getting called at from a lot of different sides or whatever I ultimately want to be the hand that's like really like I'm so excited for you to come over here versus the next guy on the other ridge so yeah later in the day I will say that I ultimately shut up I ultimately fall asleep and my I have two birds that i've shot that have essentially appeared out of my dreams I woke up I looked up and there was three birds in front of me as opposed to two birds being my two decoys and I shot the third one that was standing there that's what happened this past year as I literally just woke up and was like oh boy there's three birds yeah alright which one's the which one's the real one

Brad: that's funny I i've done that and almost shot my decoy several times what did you do I didn't ask you or prep you on this but I'm curious what decoys do you use

Mahting: so I have been using the geeze I'm gonna mess it up yeah I didn't prep you on it so no it's the dt dts dst okay like I never remember what their thing is they're pretty bulky they look fantastic I will say that this year thanks to just them supporting the hunt to eat camps we're working with montana decoy and so some of their packable decoys which would be nice because when you're lugging around two really big fat decoys it's a lot of extra stuff to have with you versus fold up decoy so yeah how well they work but it

Brad: does seem like the more realistic you go the the bigger they are in a pack are you carrying I don't even know if this is one of the questions we're going to ask either but just kind of rapid fire here do you have a backpack that you prefer like are you what are you using to pack them around

Mahting: yeah so I usually don't I usually don't carry a backpack I carry your vest it's my vest right and it's like it's got the seat it's got everything that I want it's got a water bottle holder and it's got like the big essentially game back back here and so ultimately I can stick two decoys in there which works great and then if I kill a bird I also carry this is like a great thing for beginners is I literally just carry a pair of like a fat piece of paracord that's tied on a loop so I can put this essentially and put the turkey's head through there and cinch it and then tie the legs off and I just like sling it over my shoulders and take my bird out that's like a crucial piece of gear that always lives in my bag

Brad: yeah who makes your vest which vest are you using

Mahting it's it's it's a one-size-fits-all cabela's thing yeah I have a five years now and it's totally fine

Brad: yeah I have an alps one that I mean it totally changed I went from you know I'm not a super advanced turkey hunter I kind of suck I only had like two years of not getting anything last year was my redemption year but I went to I started hunting with a vest and it's a game changer man like the run and gun strategy of just being super aggressive going after the birds instead of sitting there in a blind all day and waiting I mean people can do that if that's more comfortable to start with but those blinds are a ton to put out and I just I don't know

Mahting: public land too the lions are like no not they're not not that they are a no-go but like there's so many people running around that like you might show up somewhere and be like okay now I gotta move right right

Brad: and those things I when I first started turkey hunting I thought that's how you turkey hunted so I was like packing a blind through the woods and i'd set up and i'd stay for like half the day and i'd move and I'm like oh my god how do people do this this crazy amount of gear and then you know when I started learning from other really great turkey hunters and hearing how aggressive they are and they're not just sitting there trying to call birds all day they're going to where they think birds would be honestly I just started seeing so much more action on the turkeys in general I think it's a lot more fun and and you know you do have to be a little more careful because turkeys have incredible vision but the yeah the I highly recommend getting a vest and trying that and it's like so what if you get blown you know it's like it's you know try something new if you haven't tried it out or if you're just getting started go for it you know get a vest and you like you said you carry everything in one of those I carry my decoys in my vest too and yeah

Mahting: even on an extra layer like I can have you know my puffy in my whatever rain jacket stuck in there too like I will say that there there have been times and i've actually recommended this to new hunters recently is you can buy off of amazon you can buy where'd that thing go no you can buy essentially just like a piece of camo

Brad: oh yeah like a pop-up net yeah yeah

Mahting: but it's like it's not even the pop-up it's just literally just a it's a one yeah like two sticks yeah yeah go to the lawn store and buy three big you know four foot lawn stakes and zip tie like the middle and both ends and you have a blind that sets up in seconds and if you're hunting with someone brand new or you are brand new to hunting and you just don't realize how much you move around right turkey hunting you cannot move you need to stick your butt down and just stay totally still right and so it's nice to actually throw that thing up around you and then you can fidget all you can you know fidget all day and turkey's not really going to see you

Brad: I don't know if he actually said it but everybody says that fred bear said the best camo was sit still right like I think was going to ask you about camo so let's talk a little bit about that this varies so widely throughout the country like you and I are hitting very different terrain during turkey season but I'm kind of curious what your camo setup is and and you know your pattern

Mahting: yeah so I will say that my pattern generally speaking is always sitka just in the I guess it's the optifade pattern which is like for that for viewers at home really that's just because I like sick of gear I think their gear is as as good as it gets being that they're a gore company they're you know they're on par with archeryx and they're essentially the same stuff so that's what I rock everywhere I will say that for turkey hunting the one piece of gear that it's camo that I have that is extra is even if you sit really still and you're really great about it the one thing that sucks is that like a turkey will see all of your movement so it'll see you move your head side to side right but there happens to be a lot of times when you're calling or like you're looking at a certain direction and that turkey walks in this view and then he actually they actually walked all the way back to your decoys and you've got to do this right you've got to move your head 90 degrees and so the thing that I found for that is that even though I have my sitka you know hood up and with my face mask I will oftentimes still wear like a gilly suit head it's just this just goes on your head as a face mask because all of this extra stuff if there's a wind movement like if the wind's blowing it really just looks like a bush is shaking and so even if it's shaking and it turns 90 degrees like the turkey don't like they don't pick up that motion of your head turning

Brad: it breaks up your face too

Mahting: yeah there's so much extra stuff moving around your head so since that's the one thing I always need to be able to move yeah and i've had i've had an experience where I literally and I had this thing on I had three hens walk seven eight feet right in front of me I'm literally laying on the ground totally out in the open but in my sitka and I had to move my my my head like this to watch them go by me and try to find where the tom was in the background and every time I would move my head like like a quarter inch they would all stop and look right at me and they're I mean they're seven feet away from me right like really close and they never they never busted me they walked over to my decoy beat it up and then walked away but I was able to go from here to here with birds at seven feet you know like they didn't notice so I think it's it's a good little like extra bit and

Brad: I had that same experience

Mahting:  here yeah amazon for I think that thinks 10 bucks yeah we we just started carrying some of those too we've got some mossy oak ghillie suits we've got some coats I'll put links to those in too if anybody wants to check those out or you can buy on amazon but the I had the same thing happen I had three jakes come up over a hill hillside they came in super close to me and I had turned and seen them in time to where I knew that they were gonna see the decoy and I had turned my head back but then you've got three birds looking at you or like at any given moment you have a bird looking at you and my gun I was sitting on the ground with my vest and my gun is on you know like every thousands of turkey hunter millions probably have turkey hunters sit with my gun on my legs on the ground and I'm like I have a foot and a half to position myself to be able to shoot those birds so I spent like a few minutes trying to figure out which bird I wanted but then after that I'm like oh my god I got to find a moment where they're not looking at me but the d that's where the decoy really does help because they were there I mean they definitely saw me moving and and I think it was kind of like a risk assessment it's like well that's something looks wrong over there but there's also this hot girl right here that I'm kind of you know trying to make some moves on and if I go check that out you know my buddy might buy her a drink before I do right it was like that kind of scenario so I definitely think like breaking up I had a I had a face mask on too I didn't have a ghillie suit on but I definitely think breaking some of that movement up and just being cognizant that they have like multiples better vision than we can even imagine

Mahting: yeah the the way that someone explained it to me recently and I don't know like if this is totally accurate or not but like if there's a if you hold something up like like this right and you're like looking through one of these holes like you can be sitting the turkey can be 200 yards over here and you can be sitting behind this tree and as long as there's like a tiny little hole that they can see through and that you're behind moving they can see you moving yeah which is like terrifying right because essentially like you just can't move

Brad: yeah you're not gonna fool a turkey's eyesight they can see you blink at like 200 yards away I mean that that to me is always the like what you know so when you think of it like that you just realize that you know the best camo is to just sit still I mean yeah you really need camera

Mahting: and be ready for it though right you've got to be like your shotgun should already be on your knee against your shoulder yeah or when that bird cause that 200 yards if they're walking across the clearing yeah you can't pull up your gun right right at the last second if you're actually going to shoot it but like

Brad: no it's tough it's totally tough I mean when they if if they come in quickly on you you can't guarantee that you're gonna be able to move you know they're way less forgiving like I hunt a bunch of I hunt whitetail all the time too and like deer deer spook easily but like they'll forgive pretty quickly and kind of go on about their day like turkeys though they can just see so well hey man what's your out of everything you use what's your favorite piece of turkey hunting gear

Mahting: I mean I think it is I really do think it is this this call yeah it's worked so well i've shot two birds on those calls so I shot I shot all my birds on this one from primos dude again I think on amazon this thing's like 15 bucks or something

Brad: yeah the I really like that that lid comes off that and you can flip it like yeah so you can you can store it you know so it doesn't make noise

Mahting: yeah and just the fact that it's it's a magnetic attachment right and so it really it makes it very easy to have the perfect like level of pressure because it's kind of like guiding you with that so I'll say that's really good

Mahting: I will throw I will shout out to the new the tss loads you can I mean with this gun you can shoot a turkey at 60 70 yards if you wanted to I mean it's a lot a long ways away normally your decoys are at 20 yards or whatever

Brad: it is crazy how much range you can get out of some of these new loads we work with federal and when I started reading about those I was like oh my gosh this is like 20 yards further than some people can currently shoot which is a game changer right like if we had those turkey loads I my co-founder chris on his first turkey hunt would have had a giant awesome tom but it was at like 50 yards and I was like I don't know man I don't feel good about it like and then by the time we decided to shoot it was that you know they were gone but like that that extra 10 or 15 yards can make all the difference which is crazy absolutely hey man you're you're the cooking guy so I got to ask you we got to wrap up the show with a recipe what's your favorite one or two ways to cook turkeys

Mahting: turkey schnitzel it's a it's a you know probably everyone says it but you get the twofer for me is like so turkey schnitzel's super easy you cut the breast you flip it so and then you pound it thin and then you egg it bread it with panko and fry it we now try everything in an air fryer all the rage right but like you spritz it with oil versus dunking in oil I mean it really air fryers are they make everything for a guy that doesn't love my vegetables I eat a lot of vegetables these days because they come out of the air fryer but we'll usually like have a nice dinner with turkey schnitzel but then it's the leftovers man so I make all of it and then I have leftovers and I make like a barbecue pickle cheese sandwich essentially you know like a little slider kind of thing and that's just my it's my favorite sandwich so

Brad: I made I found a turkey breast that i've forgotten about in my freezer the other day and yeah yeah I know it's like sweet and my wife was like thank god something that's not venison so I got it out though and I made like a schnitzel kind of I cut it up into strips for my kids and I cooked it I soaked it in pickle juice and then basically made like chick-fil-a type chicken nuggets out of it oh my god man the kids went to town on it was awesome i've been trying to like experiment with that process I did that last or when I got that bird back in april or whatever and it was okay like I didn't do that great of a I don't know this is not my favorite recipe but this time I baked it and I instead of like the traditional egg and batter approach I did a I just did arrowroot and seasoning and like you know and then baked it and it still it looks like a fried piece of chicken or turkey at the end of the day but that was a little bit of a twist on it and it was awesome though yeah yeah

Mahting: it's boy it's it's hard to beat

Brad: how do you eat your legs on the turkey

Mahting: oh carnitas yeah

Brad: okay yeah like slow cook them down

Mahting: yeah just slow cook them down put them in put them in the instant pot put them on for you know whatever five hours and yeah pulls apart and it's delicious

Brad: I started doing danielle pruitt has a recipe for I can never remember which way to say that faux or pho which which way is the ph yeah I always say it backwards my wife says I say everything wrong cause I'm from appalachia but the so she has a recipe for that with pheasant legs and I was like I'm gonna try this on a turkey leg and you braise the legs and then boil it down and then you make the stew oh my god dude like I tell everybody about it and it's not like it's not really a turkey recipe but it's my favorite way to eat I mean it's her she does it with pheasant legs which is obviously takes a lot more but oh man but slow cooking those down you know that's to me that's like the best flavor from the bird definitely a little bit more work it takes a little bit more to get there but it's so worth it alright man for tell real quick where people can because you do some awesome classes and and you guys are you're really your whole brand has evolved over the last couple years and you guys are out there for anybody it's like man this is like seems kind of accessible I'm not sure about it you have a really cool way to learn about how to get into hunting in general not just turkey hunting so you have like the elevator pitch and where to find that

Mahting: yeah so come check out hunttoeat.com look up the the hunt camps tab on the website and essentially we've got a we've got opportunities across the country this year for you to go turkey hunting with experienced mentors you don't have to have any of the gear you can just show up and we'll take you turkey hunting and kind of run you through all of it we've got one really big camp in oklahoma so it's kind of central to everything there's going to be some other opportunities to do fun stuff there as well practice your shotgun shooting and whatnot so yeah come check us out there and always you always need a lucky t-shirt and our t-shirts are just super lucky so if you don't have a turkey gobbling shirt yet we got a couple different designs for you so come get a lucky turkey shirt you're you're bound to shoot a turkey this year

Brad: I love it I said the same thing about one of our we have a mossy oak hoodie with our logo on it and I was telling them I was like hey listen I got skunked the year before I had the shirt I'm just saying I think that's pretty scientific that it impacted my hunt right man I love what you guys are doing we have a restless native episode that's going to be coming out maybe before or after the show I don't know but you should just subscribe to both so man thanks for coming on thanks for doing the interview this was great

Mahting: thanks Brad

Brad: yep alright thank you

Mahting make sure you go check out hunt to eat they have some sweet clothes I mean they have a ton of stuff now they have the educational opportunity that they've started to teach people who really just want to get into the outdoors want to learn to hunt with with no judgment you know they have a ton of great great teachers within the program cindy steitz for example cindy's awesome and many many more so there's tons of people that you can learn and network with and stay connected to as a part of the hunt eat program this is my last gearbox talk for spring turkey season I know a small tear rolls for me too but it's time to get out there and apply everything you've learned over these last few episodes about turkeys we will have some in the field content though hitting from my season I have a hunt coming up with the pied piper himself tony caggiano and wild game chef jeremiah doughty among a few others we're going to be out there we're going to be chasing some birds we're going to create some content but if you're not subscribed you're going to miss it so go ahead and hit the subscribe button make sure you're staying in touch with everything that GoWild is putting out it's going to be a fun series of content don't forget to use code NWTF10 that's NWTF10 at shopgowild.com it's going to save you 10% off of your purchase and you're going to help raise some funds for the national wild turkey federation good luck chasing the birds this season for today I'm out

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