Gobbler Goofs: Avoiding Common Turkey Hunting Mistakes

Avoid common pitfalls to bring home a nice turkey this springSpring is about rebirth. Flowers bloom, trees bud, and grass greens. Better yet, hunting season is back. Turkey seasons across the country open and hunters full of excitement hit the woods in anticipation of a boss gobbler strutting toward them with reckless abandon. Some hunters will return from the woods with a filled tag and a turkey hanging over their shoulder. But most are left to shake their heads and hope for next year. The difference between the two groups could be as simple as a few small mistakes. Avoid these common pitfalls to bring home a bird.

Don't hit the snooze button

The vast majority of tagged turkeys are shot within the first hour of hunting. Gobblers are most vocal just before they come down from the roost which makes locating them considerably easier. If you miss morning gobbles and the fly down, you’ve missed the best time of the day to locate the birds you are targeting. Try to get into place at least 45 minutes before sunrise. This allows for a stealthy trip into the woods before the first peeks of light sneak over the horizon.

Don't give up

-Was it over when the German's bombed Pearl Harbor? No! - Bluto Blutarsky
While Bluto needs to study his history, he has the right attitude when it comes to turkey hunting. Most birds are shot early on, but not all of them are. After hens break away from the flock to tend to nests, gobblers get lonely. This is a great time to use probing calls to lure in toms in search of a little company. For more information on post-roost birds, check out this story:  Late Morning Turkey Hunting

Silence is golden

Turkeys are unpredictable. That’s what makes them so enjoyable and challenging to hunt. After calling a big gobbler into view, they often put the brakes on. Calling may have pulled this guy to your location, but silence is usually what he needs to hear before finishing the job. Going silent will arouse his curiosity and the turkey will eventually get moving again. Putting the calls away will also help you stay concealed as the gobbler eases closer to your location.

Avoid “sneaking” a bird

The wild turkey is one of the most adaptable of all the game species we pursue. They are present in 49 of 50 states and the population continues to climb. Turkeys are built for survival and their greatest tool is sight. Sneaking in on turkeys is nearly impossible, even for James Bond. I’m not advocating against moving when the action is slow. But when you hear turkeys in the area, it’s time to hunker down and call them to you. A “little closer” is usually too close. Let gobblers do what nature intended them to do, chase hens. In this case, you are the hen.

Harvesting a gobbler is often just a case of doing all the little things right. Coming home empty handed could be due to a series of small, overlooked mistakes. Fine tuning your game plan and keeping focus on the little things may be all it takes to be successful this spring.