The first thing when hunting turkeys that you need to do is locate some turkeys and more importantly locate a gobbler. That means either roosting birds the night before, finding them roosted first thing in the morning or finding them in their strut zones by glassing and scouting out multiple locations if possible. Either way, once you have located some birds you then will have a starting location to start working some gobblers. What I like to do is get into a location that allows me to get as close to them as I can before I start calling. Being as close as possible makes it a lot easier to convince a longbeard to commit and come to your calls if you are nearby.
The biggest key to success while turkey hunting is always having the ability to be mobile. One of the best assets I have in the turkey woods is a good turkey pack. a good pack allows you to set up in seconds with or without a tree or something to lean on while still being comfortable and in great shooting position. If you do get set up on a tom but he is being stubborn, Don’t be afraid to stop calling and allow things to get quiet for 15-20 minutes and then make a move on the bird to get closer, or you can just to add some movement to your call to mimic some realism and entice the bird to come check things out. Even if that means moving away from the turkey you’re still adding in to the realism factor and that movement may end up pulling those stubborn birds in close enough for a shot. The biggest mistake guys make is getting too pushy with a bird. If you can’t get that turkey to commit that day, leave them be and come back another day to try again don’t try push them too much or they will do like all other animals do, and leave the area entirely. If you have the luxury of hunting on a larger tract of land or other property, let that turkey be and go and find another bird that is much more active and use the original bird as a backup option for another day when he’s feeling more aggressive or possibly not hen’d up.
Don’t Over Call
The biggest mistake turkey hunters making is knowing when to call and when not to call. Over calling can end a hunt faster than anything. Once you get a longbeard to start responding to your calls and you hear him working in closer, ease up on the calling. The worst thing you can do is over call and make the bird think that your interest is higher than his. by over calling the turkey will be much more likely to hang up out of your range and make you (the hen) come to him. Once I know the tom is committed to coming its pretty simple and I quit calling, even when he continues to gobble I will rarely ever call back. What i am trying to accomplish is to make him come looking for me.
Enjoy the Moment
We all go hunting because the experience is fun and we enjoy seeing animals in their natural state. So have some fun while your working a bird. Turkeys are very vocal animals and create a lot of excitement during the hunt. Once the longbeard is in your effective range, then it’s time to hit him hard with the calls if you can. There is nothing I love more than to get a turkey hammering at 10-20 yards right in your face. As long as he’s being calm I like to sit back and enjoy the show they put on. Once you simply can’t take it any more its time to click that safety off or clip on your release, take aim and watch the flop!!!
I hope that this quick read will help you have some luck this turkey season!
– Minnesota Land Specialist Lucas Mestad