Spring Turkey Hunting Tips
Everything about Spring turkey hunting is exciting, from calling in sly long beard birds to the scenery of the spring woods coming to life. I enjoy the challenge of spring turkey hunting and talking with the wise birds as they come off the morning roost.
It is an alluring and addicting hunt that will bring hunters back into the spring woods year after year.
Turkey hunting can be challenging but you should always learn from your mistakes to make you a better hunter. Here we will discuss some common mistakes novice turkey hunters seem to make year after year. You will not always be successful but that is part of hunting, but learn from these common mistakes to bag more long beards.
Did Not Practice Calling
I have hunted with fellow outdoorsman who hit the spring woods and start blowing a turkey call for the first time in a year. Needless to say, I recommend you practice well before season opener. If you plan to fool a big tom turkey by calling him in then you will have to bring your “A” game. Practice will help you become familiar with your calls, knowing what it does and the different sounds it can make. I practice a month before season begins, usually on my commute to work. Do not practice calling where you plan to hunt as this will only educate the birds. When it comes to calling turkeys, perfecting the right cadence is far more important than matching the tone or sound of the call. Practicing with your call of choice prior to season is just as important as pre-season scouting.
Not Enough Scouting
As with most types of hunting, proper scouting of your quarry can make you a more successful hunter. Unfortunately, there are many spring turkey hunters not utilizing this tactic to their advantage. It is a good idea to get out in the woods before dawn before the season begins to determine where the turkeys are roosting at night, and where they are headed to feed during the day. Knowing this vital information is the key to a successful spring turkey season. Locating birds is the ultimate goal of scouting for spring turkey season.
A major mistake that turkey hunters make is a poor setup. Setting up in an area with to much brush or without proper shooting lanes is a common mistake. An improper setup is a disadvantage to the hunter and increases the likelihood of the birds not coming in or getting surprised by birds you can’t see. Your setup should offer great concealment because turkey have very good vision and can detect the slightest movement. Be sure that you have open shooting lanes in front of you and to the sides. These birds have a tendency to surprise you, and you should be ready to get a shot off at a bird anywhere in your range. Focus your hunting setup between the roost and feeding area that you scouted prior to the season for the most success.
Probably the number one mistake all the beginner turkey hunters have been making. As a turkey hunter you are mimicking a hot hen calling out to locate a male and let him know you are available. Toms respond to these calls with gobbling and then strut around waiting for the hen to come to him. In our case, no hen is coming, and you have to persuade this Tom to go against his instincts and come looking for you. Novice turkey hunters make the mistake of over calling just to hear a gobble. When you call nonstop to a bird, he is eventually going to wonder why this hen is going on and on and educating the long beards in your hunting area. There is a fine line between talking to the toms and over calling the birds. It is best to avoid the temptation to call every 30 seconds, I will usually not call more than every 15 minutes if you’re not getting a response. Once he is responding to your calls and moving in your direction, call softly and infrequently. Forcing the bird to find you can cause him to move closer to you, yielding a closer shot.
Not Using Decoys
Decoys can be a huge asset if used properly. It only takes a couple of decoys placed strategically to fool even a mature gobbler. I like to hunt with just a jake and a hen about 20 yards past a calling setup usually. That is enough to really fire up a gobbler most of the time. A general rule is to position your turkey decoys at a 45-degree angle from the hunter on the opposite side of where you think the gobbler will come in from. Setting a jake with a hen or two is important, as a mature gobbler will sometimes see him and come in to fight him off the hen. Decoys work best in fields, logging roads and other open areas where gobblers can spot them a long way off.
Not Knowing Your Equipment
You can do everything right to put a mature gobbler 20 yards in front of your gun sights, but when that moment of truth comes you must have the experience to close the deal. That means spending time on the range patterning your shotgun trying various chokes and shot shells. Every gun, every load and every choke will shoot different. Even bow hunters should shoot the broadhead of choice well ahead of time. It is up to you to put the bird down as quick and humane possible. There is no excuse for being ill prepared and it is the quickest ticket to failure available to turkey hunters. Know the capabilities of your equipment and you will find more success.
These are the most common mistakes new turkey hunters experience in the field. There are no secrets to successful wild turkey hunting. You just need to input your time and effort into learning how to be more successful.
Turkey calling is also a trial and error game. If you don’t get a response to a particular call, don’t give up. Try another call until you discover the one turkeys are responding to in your hunting area without over calling them.
If you combine practice, experimentation, patience and all the other tips we’ve discussed above, your instincts will get better, and you’ll become more efficient at hunting turkey.
Good luck this spring turkey hunting season. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.
Share these spring turkey hunting tips on Facebook or Twitter