Turkey Reaping

Jeremy McCarty refuses to call IT turkey hunting. According to him, we are “turkey reaping,” and, unlike turkey hunting, where concealment is key, when turkey reaping, you want the gobblers to see you — or at least see the decoys you’re using to close the distance.

I’ve turkey hunted a lot. But this is unlike anything I’ve ever tried.  It’s intense, aggressive, and at times, exhausting. There’s no sitting and waiting and there’s very little, if any, calling. When Jeremy is out to reap a turkey, he drives past agricultural fields where he has permission to hunt until he spots a strutting tom. Then, with a decoy in one hand and his gun in the other, he crawls toward the bird, challenging it to a fight. When it works, and it usually does, the tom will charge in, sometimes getting close enough to reach out and grab it.

This is an ancient hunting technique, once practiced by Native Americans. Bored with sitting in a blind and calling, Jeremy and his friend Chancy Walters decided to try it several years ago, initially using just a dried turkey fan. The results thrilled them. The toms, especially the aggressive ones, would not only stand their ground, but they’d often charge in toward the decoys. Shooting distances were measured in feet, rather than yards.