Turkey Hunting: general tips and tactics to help fill your tag
It's Spring! The woods are waking up, everything is starting to turn green and it's time to go chase turkeys. Depending on your neck of the woods you may have already been out for some time by now (I hope this post doesn't find you too late). Hopefully you've had an opportunity to fill your tag(s) but if you haven't I hope we can offer some perspective that might help.
Turkeys are funny characters. If you find them in the right mood/setting it can be as easy as letting out a few calls and they come running. Usually that's not the case! Especially if you've spent time chasing birds on public land. They can be quite cagey. Moral of the story, at some point in your turkey career you're going to chase birds and come up stumped. Birds are gobbling but don't want to come your way.
Let's get into the meat of this discussion. Seasons winding down, you may have already punched a tag and have one more, or you may still be searching for that cagey long beard. There are a lot of great ways to hunt turkeys whether you're fast paced, walking ridges, setup over food, or hunting your ol' honey hole. We want you to have a few extra tools in the belt!
Here are some of our best practices:
- Hunt 9-5, yeah we said it! You'll hear less gobbles midday but when you do, it'll be a high percentage bird. Chances are he's looking for love after his morning "session". We're not discouraging hunting the AM by any means, our hope would be to encourage the people who typically just hit the golden hour in the morning and call it a day to keep hunting!
- Call less, especially late and early in the season, a few soft yelps/clucks can go a long way
- Get into the zone, typically 150 yards or closer is a great estimate of starting point but you have to let the land define your decisions. If you're in the swamps versus the plains, low visibility and high visibility, use your best judgement
- Scout more, learn the birds in your area, understand it's not always possible but if you understand their patterns, your chance of success goes up
- Use google earth. Digital scouting is such an advantage with today's tech. Look for features like tall pine trees, big trees in general, creeks/water, open areas for the birds to strut. Find these things in a condensed area, chances are you'll find turkeys.
- Locator calls are great, but don't over use them. Pin point the location and slide on in.
- PRO TIP - if you're locating with a turkey call, be ready to setup ASAP. We got burned the hard way this year, couple calls, gobbler hammered back, next thing you know he was in our lap and caught us.
- All of the tips provide a great starting point and are learned from our trials and tribulations. They provide a framework to help make decisions in the woods. Although everything is not set in stone, if you're not having success, use your best judgement, don't be afraid to switch up your tactics!
Here's the bottom line, get boots on the ground. Get out in the woods, and spend some time doing it. Turkey hunting is a great way to introduce new hunters or youngsters. The action can be plentiful. Honestly anybody can get a bird on the ground with some basic calling technique, learn to yelp, cluck, and when in doubt call less than more and finish your calling sequence with a yelp. Now that's not saying you're going to go out and get a bird right away, but put your time it will happen.
We'd love to hear about your adventures chasing turkeys, send us a message on here or instagram, e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org