Turkey Hunting Tips
Turkey Hunting Tips
Turkey season is coming and I’m sure we’re all getting excited for opening day sunrise with turkeys gobbling on the roost, waiting for that big tom to pitch down and run into our decoys. With almost a decade of chasing turkeys under my belt, I’ve been outsmarted by them enough to learn a few things. I’m going to share my 3 biggest lessons I’ve learned so far from being in the turkey woods…
My ability to be patient while turkey hunting is relative to how comfortable I am. I imagine it’s the same for any other hunter. Last spring, after I had filled my tags, I went out to bag a bird with a close friend of mine. We setup early afternoon in an area we knew the birds liked. It was a 10 acre field surrounded mostly by hardwoods in a secluded spot. After an hour or so we saw a big tom and a single hen poke out into the far end of the field. The tom heard us call and gobbled back as to say “Hey you!…Come over here!”. We noticed the hen wanted nothing to do with him and eventually managed to give him the slip. Once the tom gave up on her he slowly…and I mean SLOWLY started coming in towards our decoys. It was so neat to watch but it still took almost 45 minutes before the strutting tom was in gun range. Thankfully we had a ground blind with comfortable chairs because I know I would not have been able to sit dead still for that long on the ground sitting against a tree. Patience has played a bigger part in successful hunts than anything, and comfort is key!
Well don’t scout ALL day…Almost every successful turkey hunt I’ve had was because my hunting partner Tim and I knew where the birds liked to be at any point in the day. Tim and I split up scouting duties and we watched every flock we had permission to hunt. We knew what path they took from roost to feeding area in the morning. We knew what patch of hardwoods they hung out in for the afternoon. Then come evening, we knew what limb there were heading to roost in.
Knowing this information has been vital to our success. If we had an unsuccessful morning hunt then we already knew where to setup for the afternoon. We make sure that we can get into the area the birds want to be in before they got there. This gives you time to setup a ground blind (if you use one) and get decoys out. Usually we like to get into a “hot spot” at least one hour before we expect the birds to show.
GET YOUR DECOYS VISIBLE!
Personally my favorite setup with a decoy is in the most visible area of a field, where ever that may be. Nice wide open space so any turkeys near the field edge will see it even if they’re too far away to hear a call. My hunting partner and I have had close to a dozen birds come in and we didn’t make a single call! Just make the decoys visible and they’ll do the work. Hens aren’t usually very vocal anyways so using decoys and no calling is more realistic than screaming on a box call too often. Don’t get me wrong, the first tom I called in was on a loud box call with long series of yelps and he came running from 300+ yards away. But personally I haven’t seen it happen that way very often.
Author: Shawn Rypstra – Easthill Outdoors
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