By Sully Chaudry
Spring turkey hunting is an exciting sport that is growing in popularity. Nothing quite beats the warm breeze of spring, beautiful forest scenery, and the excitement of hearing a gobbler in close proximity and calling him in.
In order to have the best chance of a successful hunt, it is crucial to have the proper equipment, knowledge, preparation, and hunting technique. Spring is a great time to hunt wild turkeys, and understanding the unique aspects of spring turkey hunting will help you get the best out of your hunts.
Learning About Spring Turkey Hunting
Spring is the mating season for wild turkeys. Gobblers are going to be especially attracted to hens during this season and are much more vocal and active. They spend much of their day strutting and making a show for hens. Wild turkeys are more responsive to calls in the spring as well.
However, gobblers are no less aware of their surroundings and they will still quickly take flight if they are the least bit threatened, so knowing when, where, and how to set up and pursue gobblers is crucial. Successful spring turkey hunting also requires that hunters know how to scout and the best times of day in which to hunt.
How to Scout Before You Hunt
In the weeks prior to going on your first hunt, it is important to thoroughly scout the area that you are looking to hunt in. Try to scout for a group of hens or a roosting site. Learn the area that you are going to be hunting in; get familiar with the paths, shrubs, trees, and clearings. Scout for a number of set up spots in close proximity to where you think roosting or feeding sites are. Depending on the state you are in, you may be able to use locator calls to help you find roosting sites, but be sure to check with your state’s wildlife commission beforehand.
Time of Day to Set Up
Generally, the best times of day to hunt are dawn and a few hours after dawn. Some hunters try the late afternoon, but gobblers are much harder to trace at that time because they are less vocal.
Normally if the weather is not clear, it is best to wait until it clears up to go hunting. If the weather is clear, from between 10 to 30 minutes before dawn, gobblers fly down and start gobbling. Gobblers can be found during this time in their feeding or strutting areas. Generally, roosting sites are no more than a hundred yards from these areas. It’s best to start from high ground, as it is easier to hear gobbles. Also, gobblers have been known to be more likely to listen to and follow calls that they hear from a higher point.
How to Call and Pursue Gobblers
Be sure not to call gobblers down too early in the morning, as this may be a signal for the gobbler that a hen is approaching him. Instead wait until there is some light in the morning sky and start with a few clucks and yelps. Keep repeating the clucks and yelps every 5-10 minutes a little louder each time until you hear a gobble in response. Then wait for the gobbler to come looking for you and don’t call him again.
If you hear gobbles, the best method of approach is to move 20-30 yards at a time at a slow pace toward the direction you hear it from. Try to eliminate any hazards or other obstacles to the gobbler as you move toward him. Use the natural brush and low points for cover as you approach the gobbler.
Spring turkey hunting is great fun and there are a lot of details about knowing how to set up and pursue gobblers for this particular time of year. With adequate preparation including regular scouting, knowing the best time of day to hunt, and knowing how to call in gobblers, your next spring hunt will hopefully be a great success.
Spring Turkey Hunting Tips