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Turkey Hunting Strategies

Turkey Hunting Whether it's spring or fall doesn't matter to this bunch. Great tips on calling, bustin flocks, using blinds and more.

Turkey Hunting Strategies

Old 04-09-2009, 10:29 AM
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Default Turkey Hunting Strategies

Selection of a hunting site: Advance scouting is absolutely necessary. Because of the hunter's ordinary arrival time in the woods of "dark thirty", any information about turkey roosts, travel routes, feeding areas, and the like must be obtained ahead of time. Try to select a position between a roost and a known landing site, but this is not always possible because of the bird's different flyaway patterns from different roosts every night and other unpredictable behavior. The important thing is to find where the birds are known to range, usually identified by scratching, droppings, other hunters' reports and visual sightings ahead of time. Once you have satisfied yourself that the information about the area you intend to hunt is accurate, then select a large tree or a suitable backdrop that affords a clear view of the area that the birds are known to range. Use this tree or backdrop for a backrest making sure that no saplings, brush, or any other impediments exist to interfere with the free operation of your gun.
Always orient yourself 90 degrees from the direction you think the birds will approach depending on whether you shoot right or left handed, then select objects (trees, stumps, etc.) within a known range so that any guesswork about how far away the bird is will be eliminated. Try to orient yourself towards the west if you are hunting at daybreak as this will put you in a shadow, but always preclude this by the anticipated direction of the bird's approach.
You must be comfortable. "Murphy's Law" governs turkey hunting and states that any movement, no matter how small, will always occur at the worst possible moment. While a seat directly on the ground may offer the best possible concealment, your ability to observe and be comfortable are important considerations. A sitting height of 6" to 16" is usually a good compromise. Remember, an uncomfortable hunter cannot be still.

Clothing: Full camouflage to include face, hands, and gun is recommended. Use the colors appropriate for the season. It is important to realize that various groups are beginning to advocate the use of international orange for hunter safety, so please check your local regulations for current requirements. It is easy to underdress for warmth during the fall and spring seasons, so be sure to wear plenty of clothes. Use insect repellent under the netting, as the little buggers will nail you right through the mesh if it brushes your skin. The same goes for an itching hunter as applies for an uncomfortable hunter, neither can hold still.

Weapon: Check your state laws current regulations regarding caliber. In my opinion, a 12 gauge full choke loaded with #6 shot with the maximum powder charge is a reasonable weapon of choice, preferably backed up by #4's or larger if more than one shot is needed. Oh yeah, and makesure you use the deadliest box call on the market, the patented Moss Double Tone box call.

Safety: Make absolutely sure of your target. Under no circumstances should you shoot at a flash of blue accompanied by a suggestive yelp coming out of the bushes, as this may be an inexperienced hunter in a plaid shirt. Bagging another hunter could ruin your whole day!

Conduct of the hunt, springtime: Try to arrive in the woods at least 20 minutes before daybreak at your preselected site. Get set up and remain quiet. Listen for sounds of birds leaving the roost, early gobbling, or any other indication s of the presence of turkeys. Do not make any calls at this time with the possible exceptions of a tree call or fly-down cackle to indicate the recent landing of hens on the ground. The safest advice is to wait until you are sure of good visibility before making any calls in order to positively identify any birds which respond to your call.
Start calling by using a mating call or a lost/assembly call. Use a soft, short range volume for the first attempts, then gradually increase volume on succeeding calls to reach birds at a greater range. Listen for the gobbler's response. Because old gobblers will likely sound off at many different stimuli, (jet planes, hoot owls, car doors slamming, hens around him, etc.), you can never be sure just who or what is causing him to gobble. You must assume he is reacting to the seductive calls coming from your call and keep calling accordingly.
Just remember that an old gobbler doesn't do anything too terribly fast, and that it may take him an hour to come into your view. This is because of the natural biology of the turkey which dictates that the hens are supposed to come out of the bushes upon hearing the gobble and seeing the displays of the male. Now you are making sounds like a hen who hears, but is unwilling to come out of the safety of her hiding place to take place in the mating ritual. In short, you are playing hard to get, and your gobbler now must take charge of this situation by coming close enough to completely sweep this reluctant hen off her feet by male chauvinistic displays.
If the gobbling sounds seem to be closer than at first, chances are the Tom is moving in on the shy hen you are imitating. Do not make loud calls if this is occurring, but rather stay with the soft calls such as the poo-poo, cluck, chirp, or the whine/purr. If the gobbling ceases, the bird is probably stalking you, and will be extremely wary and slow to respond any further. Keep your calls soft and spaced about two minutes apart.
One of the most frustrating situations a turkey hunter can encounter is the non-gobbling bird. For whatever reasons, he may appear like a ghost at your position. Displays may occur, but likely he will have the periscope up with that incredibly keen eye trained directly on you. The only defense for this situation is to presume there is a bird stalking your location at all times, and make the appropriate calls.
If you think the gobbler is moving in, place your call on the ground in a preselected place by your side. The Double Tone can be operated with one hand, freeing the other to ready the gun for the final moment. When you first see him, he will be suspicious about this whole deal, so keep your calls to a minimum and very, very soft in nature. The poo-poo is ideal for this situation. Take advantage of the moments his head and eyes may be obscured by obstacles to raise the gun. When he is within your preselected range markers, aim at the head and neck and squeeze the shot off.

Fall hunting strategy: Turkeys will tend to flock in the fall and present a different tactical situation. The most successful hunters we know tend to agree the best method is to locate the roost the day before and so to speak, put the birds to bed. The technique is to arrive before dawn the next day then roam through the roost, scattering the birds in all directions. After taking a position near the roosting area, wait silently for at least 20 minutes. Start calling with the lost/assembly call, and make it plaintive and pleading in nature. Intersperse these calls with clucks and purrs for best effect.
All turkeys may respond to your calls in the fall and a gobbler may fly into your position rather than walk in, so be ready for anything.
The one thing that is safe to say about turkey hunting is that you never know for sure what is going to happen. Remember to stay alert, learn from your experiences and that persistence is your valuable ally. Soon you will have taken one of North America's most difficult trophies, the wild turkey.
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:58 PM
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Default RE: Turkey Hunting Strategies

Nice read...
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Old 04-10-2009, 05:10 PM
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Default RE: Turkey Hunting Strategies

ORIGINAL: Arrowmaster

Nice read...
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