John's Journal... Entry 241, Day 4
SPACE-AGE GOBBLERS WITH DON TAYLOR
The Slue-Foot Gobbler
Editor's Note: Global Positioning Systems (GPS) is a system of satellites that circle the earth and give off signals. Each GPS satellite transmits its precise location (position and elevation) and the start time of the transmission. A GPS receiver acquires the signal and then measures the interval between transmission and receipt of the signal to determine the distance between the receiver and the satellite-a process called ranging. Once the receiver has computed range for at least three satellites, the receiver's location on the surface of the earth can be determined. Each satellite transmits two types of data, almanac and ephemeris. Almanac data, general information on the location and health of each satellite on the constellation, can be collected from any satellite. A receiver with a current almanac in its memory knows where in the sky to look for satellites, given its last known position and the time of day. Ephemeris data is the precise satellite positioning information that is used for ranging. Each satellite transmits its own ephemeris data. Both almanac and ephemeris data are required for a GPS receiver to locate and acquire satellites quickly and compute your position. GPS produces accuracies of about 27 yards or better, bringing you within visual range of a destination or a target. Most GPS receivers allow you to log waypoints, either by number or name, which remain in its memory until you either delete it or change it. Regardless of your distance from a waypoint, the computer can calculate the direction you need to travel and the distance from it. This week, Don Taylor, a longtime turkey hunter from Alabama, shares the experiences he's had hunting with his GPS receiver.
The hunt I made for the Slue-Foot Gobbler illustrates how a GPS receiver can help you get your bird. My hunting companions and I had named one bird that had whipped us repeatedly Slue-Foot because of his funny gait. This turkey gobbled well from the roost. Then he would fly down within 60 or 70 yards of a calling position and strut and drum to get a hen to come to him. If she didn't show herself, he wouldn't move any closer to where he'd heard the call. One day I decided to chase Slue Foot. As he gobbled walking away from me, I tried to stay close enough to hear him when he gobbled yet far enough away so he couldn't see me. I followed him across the top of a ridge and down the side of the ridge to a little bench where he had set up a strutting zone. Slue Foot could see everything coming up the side of the mountain from this vantage point. When he gobbled, he could spot a hen coming from 150 yards away. I had absolutely no way of moving close to the gobbler without his seeing me from the bench. Through my binoculars, I watched the gobbler until he left the bench and went back up the mountain. I moved down to the bench, cut brush, made a natural blind, took a GPS reading on the blind and then left the area. Before daylight the next morning, I used my GPS receiver to "Navigate" in to the bench and the blind from a different direction than the turkey would come from and waited on him. When I heard Slue Foot gobble, I gave a few purrs to make him think a hen had reached his bench before he had. At about 10:00 a.m., I saw Slue Foot coming at about 100 yards. I never called again as the bird moved down to the bench to gobble, strut and call up his hens. My hand-held GPS receiver had allowed me to find the bench and the blind in the dark and bag Slue Foot.
TOMORROW: GIVE A TURKEY TO A FRIEND