There are 3 certainties when it comes to spring turkey hunting season – it’s short, it’s exciting, and there is no guarantee you’ll get a shot at a gobbler. To help you be a more successful turkey hunter, we’ve put together some turkey hunting tips straight from the mouths of veteran turkey hunters that have killed more long beards than most of us have seen.
1. Don’t call too much. Turkey calling definitely works but you don’t want to mimic a bunch of toddlers with noise makers at a birthday party. When trying to locate a gobbler, make a couple gentle hen calls then wait. Though there are exceptions that we’ll get into later, most of the time too much calling will spook birds.
2. Hunt the edges of fields. Turkey will often travel the edges of woods and open fields or meadows. Edges allow birds to see a long distance while searching for food and other birds while still being close to cover. You’ll do well to set up just inside a field edge where you are hidden and can see a good distance as well.
3. I am told this trick can almost be like cheating. Once a gobbler flies out of his roost in the morning he will normally walk away, but 9 times out of 10 he will be back. Before leaving the area completely, a tom will swing back by his roosting tree to check if any other birds are in the area. Watch for a tom to leave the area once he has flown down then move into position and prepare for an ambush.
4. Watch where that big gobbler roosts at night. If you can pinpoint where a gobbler has roosted you have the advantage. Slip into position early the next morning and be the first hen the old boy hears.
5. When a reluctant tom is gobbling out of sight try mimicking a yelping hen leaving the area. Do this by walking in several small circles before walking about 30 yards away from the tom all while yelping. Then stop calling and quickly move towards the tom. Close the distance as much as possible without getting busted, set up and wait. He will think the hen has moved off and will move in to stay close to her.
6. A regular ground blind is great to hunt from but if you are leery of an old tom being too smart, try using a more concealed goose blind that you lay down in. Some toms like to stay out in the open field and are reluctant to come near the edges or respond to calls. Beat him to the field in the morning and surprise him from a goose blind.
7. Make your decoy more realistic. The plastic decoys can work but they don’t have the reflection and shiny look that a real bird does. Cape a freshly killed turkey and dry it out for several weeks using Borax. Then attach the dry skin to a turkey decoy using adhesive. This works well for hens, jakes, or tom decoys. Use a real tail fan for a strutting tom decoy.
8. Become a puppet master. Use a decoy stake that will allow for natural movement of your turkey decoy. Attach a string to your decoy and give it some realistic action. This will drive a tom crazy. Be prepared, your moving decoy may get its ass kicked by an aggressive gobbler.
9. Take action now on a nervous gobbler. If a tom is in range but you haven’t gotten into perfect position yet, keep an eye on him. If he begins to act nervous like he could bolt any second you need to risk being busted to get your bead on him. Move slowly but hurry up if that makes sense. Even if the gobbler spots you, you’ll still have a couple of seconds to make the shot. Don’t hesitate – fire as soon as the bead is on his head.
Follow these and our other proven turkey hunting tips this season to put yourself in a position to bag a record sized gobbler.