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  • by Steve Sorensen | The Everyday Hunter®

Tips on Turkey Hunting — #5: PROTECT YOUR EARS!

How well can you hear? Maybe you’re an expert eavesdropper and can hear a whisper across the room. But you can’t hear as well as a turkey can, even if you have a set of “jug ears” on the sides of your head.

Most of us have abused our hearing. We’ve done all kinds of things that ruin our hearing. We run chain saws, ride motorcycles, work in machine shops, shoot guns, listen to loud music, walk behind a lawn mower for a couple of hours each week. There’s not a turkey anywhere that has done those things. (A few hunters also have wives who scream in their ears whenever they tell her, “I’m taking the whole month off to go turkey hunting.”)

Besides that, our ears might be 20, 40, maybe 60 years old or older. In that time, even everyday sounds can take a toll on our hearing. Very few gobblers are even five years old. Most of them are two or three. I don’t know how good a toddler’s hearing is, but I guarantee you a toddler’s hearing is a whole lot better than a 65 year old turkey hunter’s hearing. No wonder a two or three year old gobbler can hear a whole lot better than I can!

So, do everything you can to protect your hearing. Keep a pair of foam ear plugs handy for when you’re exposed to loud noises. Your hearing is the most important hunting equipment you have. Hearing aids cost from $1,500 to $3,500 per unit—double that if you need one for each ear! (I’m betting you don’t have another piece of hunting gear that costs that much.) And even with the best hearing aids, you won’t hear as well as your undamaged natural ears can. So, protect your hearing. It will make you more successful when you eavesdrop on spring gobblers.

Watch for more “Tips on Turkey Hunting” two or three times each week until mid-May. I don’t claim to be the best turkey hunter around, but I’ll share what I know. It might be helpful to those who pursue our greatest game bird. While you're at it, check out my gobbler-killin' scratchbox turkey call at It's full of deadly sounds.

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