by Chris Larsen
In most states turkey hunters success rates range from twenty to thirty percent. That means the odds of being successful this season is anywhere from one in five to one in three depending on the region. If it has been a few years for you, this might be the season. Of course, some hunters defy the odds and put birds on the ground nearly every year. These hunters are generally more skilled and experienced. It's the little things that set these hunters apart. These three tips will help you do the little things better and tag a turkey this spring.
Don't Rush The Roost
Roosting turkeys the night before the hunt is great strategy. Roosting tells you where turkeys are sleeping and where they will be in the morning. The problem is many hunters walk right into the roost in the morning. Some get disoriented and lose track of their marks. Others purposely move in too close. Under a full moon, turkeys can easily spot movement underneath them. Even under new moon conditions, they can hear footsteps and see movement. In most cases, it's best to set up 75 to 100 yards from roosting areas. This will get you close enough to the birds without getting busted.
Silence On Sight
If you're lucky enough to call a bird to within view, put your calls down. There are two reasons for this. First, calling often requires movement. Even a diaphragm call requires you to move your mouth. If you can see a turkey, you can bet that he can see you if you're not completely still. Have your gun ready to avoid getting spotted when shouldering the gun. Secondly, if a gobbler is within view of you and your decoys, he knows where the decoy is. You have his full attention. He's interested. At this point, the calling is for you. Hunters get impatient. They want the turkey to close the distance and to do it now. But turkeys are on their own schedule and will come in time. Let them do their thing and prepare to end the show with the squeeze of the trigger.
Break The Rules
Am I going to be the first outdoor writer to suggest doing something illegal? Nope. What I mean by "break the rules" is to do something different. In heavily pressured areas, turkeys hear a lot of calling and see a lot of decoys. There is a good bet that by late season many gobblers have seen their brethren knocked off by a load of hot lead. Birds become call and decoy shy. Don't be afraid to break out of the typical turkey hunting mold. Instead of hunting with a jake and hen decoy, set up an entire flock. Put those factory made calls away and pick up a wing bone call. If you typically hunt with decoys, try running and gunning for a day. Most hunters call it a day by mid-morning. If it's legal in your state, hunt the fly-up in the evening. Do something other hunters are not doing.
Some people say turkeys are dumb. Others say they are smart. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. There is no doubt they are challenging and unpredictable to hunt. That's why turkey hunting is so much fun.
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