Sounding off on wild turkey call

By G. Sam Piatt - Contributing Columnist



Hunters in both Ohio and Kentucky have generous spring seasons on hunting the illusive wild turkey.

Ohio hunters have 30 days to hunt, with the season opening Saturday April 24 and running through Sunday May 23.

Kentucky hunters have 23 days – the season opening Saturday April 17 and running through Sunday May 9.

Kentucky’s two-day youth season is set for April 3, 4; Ohio’s two-day youth season is set for April 17, 18.

In Kentucky, hunters age 12 and under need neither license nor permit.

Most hunters have by now schooled themselves on how to call ol’ Tom turkey in by making reasonably convincing hen calls on box, mouth or slate call.

The box call is the easiest to use and the one I prefer.

The limit in both states is two turkeys per season, but they can’t both be taken on the same day.

Kentucky’s regs call for a legal harvest of one male or one that can be a hen provided she sports a beard. Hens rarely grow a beard, but sometimes they do. Ohio’s regulations simply call for two bearded turkeys.

Kentucky hunters may take both turkeys on the one statewide permit. Ohio hunters must purchase a second permit to take that second turkey.


Keep abreast of laws and regulations. First of all, you want to be a sportsman. Secondly, if you beak them and the conservation officer nails you, that turkey can wind up costing you a chunk more money than the cost of a license and permit.

In Kentucky, no preseason calling is allowed. You break the law if you sound off with that box, mouth or slate call from March 1 until April 3 and from April 5 until April 17. You may, however, while scouting, use owl, crow, coyote, or woodpecker calls.

You may not use electronic or digital calling devices. You may not use a dog or hunt over an intentionally baited field. You cannot shoot a turkey in a tree or use live decoys.

Legal arms include shotguns from 10 gauge to .410. with lead shot measuring no bigger than No. 4s; longbow, recurve and compound bows; crossbows; and muzzleloaders.

Legal hunting hours in Kentucky are one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset. In Ohio, legal hours for about the first half of the season end at noon, but until one-half hour before sunrise until sunset for the remainder of the season.

A full listing of dos and don’ts can be found on the website or in a publication labeled Kentucky Hunting & Trapping Guide available where licenses are sold.

In Ohio, go to the website or pick up a copy of the publication Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations 2020-2021 (effective September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021).


You can teach an old dog new tricks, especially when it comes to the sport of bass fishing.

For this trick I take you back 35 years – last of July, 1986, Long Point, Ontario. On this shallow, weed-filled bay off the north shore of Lake Erie, Fayne Robinson and his wife, Nancy, and me and my wife, Bonnie, were on a week’s vacation in a camp owned by Earl and Marjorie Bouck.

Fayne and I had had limited success fishing my old standbys, spinnerbaits and surface lures. In a cabin next to ours were Chester Kouns, Tony Ratliff, and Gordon and Willard Boggs, all of the Schultz Creek area in western Greenup County. They were limiting out on largemouth bass. And they were doing it with eight-inch plastic nightcrawlers the color of a purple grape.

Bill Dance once told me, “The greatest lure in anyone’s tacklebox is confidence.”

I had lost confidence in the plastic worm. Chester Kouns restored it.

One evening half an hour before sundown he jumped into his Skeeter bass boat and motioned for me to hop in. He zipped across to the north shore, right off the front yard of the town of Port Rowan.

We rigged up with eight-inch purple worms, a small barrel sinker stopped at a foot above the hook. Using a combination of pitching and flipping, we plopped the lures down back inside the pockets of the weeds. The bass were stacked up in there in water four feet deep.

As soon as he worm hit bottom, we lifted the rod tip enough to jiggle the worm on its tail. The bass inhaled the worm. When the line went taut, we set the hook with a sharp, upward movement of the arms.

We hossed and wallered them out of the weeds. In half an hour, we both had a limit of six largemouth, weighing two- to five-pounds.

The fish would not come out to us to strike. We had to go into them.

Success depended on presentation of the lure.

An old dog had learned a new trick.


By G. Sam Piatt

Contributing Columnist

Reach G. SAM PIATT at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.

Reach G. SAM PIATT at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.