Now that deer season is over there seems to be a lull in the action. Some outdoorsmen have taken on ice fishing up North or in the Midwest, and some have already taken to hunting for antlers since deer are beginning to drop them in some parts of the country.
For me, I’m gearing up for another exciting spring turkey season. Believe it or not, I grew up turkey hunting before I was introduced to deer hunting. My dad was and still is an avid turkey hunter before we decided to take on other big game. In my humble opinion turkey season can be the most fun type of hunting in the Deep South since there aren’t many other big game animals besides deer and bear, and that all depends on where you live.
I think the shot of adrenaline one receives when a turkey gobbles is unparalleled to most game species. It takes on a whole new meaning since most of the time turkey hunters don’t use the convenience of stands, rather, the stalk approach provides an up-close and personal experience with the animal face to face.
Here are a few pointers I’ve learned over my years of turkey hunting. Obviously these aren’t the be-all and end-all for turkey hunting because what works in one region of the country make not work in the other.
1.) When The Turkey Is Not Gobbling
This is when turkey hunting can get hard but not impossible. In my experience when the birds aren’t gobbling there’s a good chance there already with hens and they’re focused in on the prize already. So normally, depending on the weather, we post up in the corner of a clover field with our decoys and just wait. This can be difficult because you have to wait the turkey out. You have to remember that a turkey is not on your time-table so it has all the time in the world to get to you. At this point in the season hopefully you know where the turkeys have been roosting and feeding in order to get a great shot.
2.) Weather Can Be Your Best Friend
Growing up I thought that bad weather was a great indication to stay inside and leave hunting to another day. The last two years I’ve realized that assumption can be wrong. As a matter of fact the opposite can be true. Two years ago a buddy and I planned to go for the weekend, but last-minute we changed our plans due to the forecast predicting it to storm. The following week I found out that other hunters on the same property had taken three birds that same weekend. This past year during deer season, not once, but twice while I got caught in some bad weather, I saw at least 20 turkeys each time. Not to mention my brother shot his biggest deer to-date in the same weather. Even though the birds weren’t making any noise they were still foraging for food that was brought to the service from the rain.
3.) Calling IS A Game Changer
I’ve never been the greatest turkey caller, but I’ve hunted with some professionals that birds just couldn’t resist which brings me to my last point. Calling can make or break your hunt. If you have experience and know what bird is looking for they can’t afford not to check it out. Especially, on the days that the males are gobbling. However, if it’s one of those days that turkeys are silent, too much calling may cause the turkeys to walk the other way. This is why on the quiet days I like to keep to short ‘clucks’ and ‘puts’ that don’t overwhelm the gobblers, but provide just enough, so they’re interested to come to my decoys.
These are just a few pointers that will help in landing a long-beard this season.
Good luck, and keep hunting!