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  • Royce Carnley

Why


The "why" is in the picture. The passion of hunting the wild turkey is my "why." More importantly, the hard lessons learned from the ones that got away are my why as well. I probably don't have to go into depth in describing the passion. If you have stayed up all night before a hunt, saved all your vacation time for Spring, collected more calls than you could ever use, drive your wife crazy practicing that excited cutting of a hen, your 16 month old boy walks around the house mimicking the hoot of an owl, or you have an entire room dedicated to turkey gear, then you know exactly the passion I'm referring to. Odds are if you're reading this you have that passion. After all the preparation through scouting, planning, money spent, and practicing, the last thing you want is to hear that nervous put when it comes down to crunch time. The sound that haunts all of us that chase the wild turkey letting us know we made a mistake. What was it? What did I do wrong? Why did he walk off? The answers could be endless and sometimes the answer is never found at all. That's what makes hunting the wild turkey so great. Each encounter is a new learning experience no matter how long you've been after them. All we can do is take care of everything we can control. After that, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature and the chess match of each turkey we pursue. Well, one of those things we can control as you might have guessed I would mention is camo. We have all heard, "the best camo is to sit still and be quiet." While I agree with this completely, I also agree that camo pattern matters.....sometimes. You might ask why I would say "sometimes" if I'm trying to sell camo? Simply, because it's true. Sometimes, you get a bird so locked on to either decoys or to where he is going, they hardly pay attention to anything else. Those birds typically don't live very long. Then, you have those birds that "sometimes" pay attention to every little thing and take forever to cover ground. Those birds are the ones where camo pattern matters. You have to remember these birds are out there 24/7 and often follow routines meaning they know their home turf very well. Anything odd or different could cause them to turn around. Something bright, dark, or an odd shape. For years, I looked for a pattern better suited for Texas. In places I hunted most of the time, we didn't have very big trees. We had lots of scrub brush, briars, and mesquites accompanied by lot of bright green vegetation. In south Texas, where I now guide, we have even more diverse ground cover with even smaller trees. So the traditional darker patterns would stand out quite a bit. As you can imagine, over several years of wearing the traditional patterns in mostly bright green vegetation, I would get picked off every once in awhile because my camo pattern didn't match the hatch so to speak. Not a lot....but sometimes! Fast forward to last Spring (2020). Due to covid, a lot of our hunters canceled so that allowed me to take my wife and try to put her on her first bird. This was a property I had hunted a couple times before and had a good idea of where the birds roost and where they like to travel. Anyway, we get there before daylight, get to a creek that we have to cross, and decide to owl hoot. Sure enough, we hear two gobbles from the area I was hoping they were roosted in. So all we had to do was cross the creek and head a little ways up a hill and get on the same tree line they typically like to walk to off the roost. We crossed the creek and started to cross this meadow with a few small trees but mostly very small bushes and shin high grass. I decided to hoot one more time to try and make sure a bird wasn't roosted where we wanted to setup and I'm glad I did...kind of. One sounded off right where I wanted to setup. I knew we couldn't go any further across the meadow even though it was still fairly dark in fear of letting the birds know we were there. So we backed up to the nearest cover and setup. The cover we setup in made a little horseshoe behind us. I thought it was perfect at the time. Little did I know. Fast forward to the bird on the ground, cutting me off, and heading our way. Told my wife to get ready and soon as this bird clears the brush take him. This bird periscopes his head above the brush and picked us off immediately then walked away leaving us with that awful sound of putting we hate to hear. After an hour or so, I went to where he was and looked back at our position where my wife was still sitting. We stuck out like a sore thumb. Dark blobs in the middle of bright green vegetation. And this bird just happened to be one of those "sometimes" birds. That was the moment I decided to keep trying to make a pattern that would reduce those "sometimes." Through a lot of trial and error from that point, MTR Camo was born.


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