Now that Thanksgiving is approaching, hunters are returning the fields and woods in camo to chase some turkeys! For some, it can be addicting and enjoyable because of how difficult and easy it is at the same time depending on your actions.
We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of tips and advice explaining the basics of turkey hunting to make the activity more successful and fun for you! Be sure to get your turkey hunting license before anything else.
The turkey hunting itch begins as early as February. When it happens to you, don’t ignore it, just scratch it!
The first step to hunting is to know where these animals are located in your town or state. Turkeys usually roost in trees that are big enough. Aside from the roost trees, they also thrive in areas with sparse timber and sufficient food, water, and cover to hide and protect themselves from predators.
Scouting must be done at least two days before hunting or even earlier. Remember that the ideal turkey habitat contains 10 to 50 percent open, non-forested lands. Start scouting food sources such as mast-bearing hardwood flats, cut grain fields, and pasture for tracks, droppings, and scratching.
Take note that old scratching will look dry and old, while fresh one will show moist leave and dirt underneath. The same foes with droppings.
You can also plant food plots in different areas to attract them to a certain location. For instance, you can give clover, chicory, and winter wheat plots that offer turkeys nutritious forage from the plants. These plants also attract insects that hens need for protein to produce eggs. A lush plot also provides an excellent breeding place for poults and open areas for gobblers to strut.
You can also start setting up some trail cameras in possible locations where these turkeys feed. Scouting gives you a chance to locate the general area of the flock, but it does not specifically tell you where to hunt.
Use your pre-season scouting observations to key in on the exact area where turkeys spend the night. The easiest way to kill these gobblers is knowing where they roost the night before the hunt.
Listen to wings flapping and light calling as turkeys fly upon their roosts during the evening. You can also use an owl or crow locator call to get a tom to gobble on the roost when it’s already turning dark.
Getting Ready to Hunt
If you’ll be hunting in a private property, try bow hunting instead of shooting. This is because farmers and other landowners will more likely approve of letting you hunt for turkeys with your crossbow rather than a gun. But if you’re going to bow hunt, make sure you know how to as the method presents challenges as well. For instance, you will need to get away with the movement of preparing for the shot and drawing back.
Also, total camouflage is a requirement, not an option. This type of clothing is crucial to staying hidden from gobblers, considering that they have a very sharp vision. Go for a high-quality turkey vest that can carry your calls, strikers, flashlights, snacks, etc.
In case of bad weather, tough it out! Sometimes, hunting during these conditions can be good if you know how to adjust your strategies. As an example, thunders can cause turkeys to shock and gobble. They will also make these animals stay on their roost all day or on open areas where predators are less likely to sneak upon them. Remember to call less during the rain!
Remember that it’s easier to hunt while it’s raining than when it’s windy. Windy days won’t make you hear turkeys, and you won’t be sure if they hear you too. Always be ready with your bow or gun as you won’t hear them coming. Move from one spot to another where there is thick timber and where the wind isn’t bad.
“Turkey talk” is the number one way to kill a big long beard. It actually does most of the turkey hunting and it means sweet yearning, making seductive sounds of a very excited and lonesome hen turkey.
There are thirty types of turkey calling sound which you can hear in the wild, but only fewer than half of those vocalizations are typically used while hunting. The majority of spring gobbler hunters make only two basic calls which are the plain cluck and the hen yelp.
These two can kill plenty of turkeys, but you can also learn other good sounds like roost clucks and tree yelps or tree calling. Others include fly-down cackles, cutting, lost yelps, purrs, gobbles, and the kee-kee sounds of young birds. Watch this video to learn some turkey sounds.
Make the turkeys know it’s the real thing by pairing the calls with decoys. Remember that stutter decoys either make or break the hunt. Use these only in areas where a dominant is known to frequent or where there is a pack of sub-dominant gobblers running together. • A single sub-dominant turkey may not approach a full-strut decoy. But give him a wingman or two and the game changes, and you can often bring the entire boy band in on the run with intentions of ganging up on the strutter
Also read: Top Three Turkey Guns
When you call, and a gobbler answers but holds his ground, just move out and then reposition. This is because the bird might have heard you call from the same spot and direction that he’s no longer interested. If you have a cover that is thick enough, try to back out of the area and call them from a new spot.
Once you’ve settled, stick it out and make your aim!
It Takes Patience
From finding the precise location to learning the different types of calls, you’ll be needing a lot of patience! Reading our article won’t make you a better turkey hunter in just a snap, you’ll have to take what you learned and apply it in the woods using a trial-and-error method.
We hope you catch a gobbler to cook this thanksgiving!