WHERE IS THAT TURKEY LURKING?

A couple of Panhandle long beards unknowingly strut into range.

A couple of Panhandle long beards unknowingly strut into range.

Hunters should master the call early

There are plenty of turkeys in our area that were spotted during deer season. Public land hunts should be better than average this season and private land hunts will be excellent.

Let’s break down turkey hunting into two categories: preseason issues, and what to expect when the season arrives. Hopefully this article will help you increase your turkey hunting success.

PRESEASON

First, let’s focus on pre-spring turkey season must-dos. Long before Day One of turkey season arrives, the successful turkey hunters are practicing their calling abilities with a variety of instruments. Box calls, slate calls, and mouth calls are all effective. Some of the veteran turkey hunters that I talk to use a variety of calls when chasing after the elusive bird. 

Practicing with each device will increase your confidence and your ability to “sweet talk” big boy into range for a clean kill shot. Each sound that a hen or gobbler makes during the mating season can be reproduced on any of the calls. 

At this point, I need to bring to your attention that there are some other calls that are used by turkey hunters. These are simply known as the shock calls. A big gobbler will reveal his location by gobbling at other animals. When my uncle wanted to locate a gobbler, he would use a shock call. An owl, crow, young gobbler and even a peacock call was used to mark the bird’s whereabouts. 

From my perspective, having a plethora of calls and practicing diligently with all of them will greatly increase your chances of a successful turkey hunt. Just make sure to take all your calls with you on the hunt and make sure they don’t rattle around in your pockets!

SCOUTING

Now that the season has begun, let’s talk about dealing with scouting and some techniques that you may have used in your arsenal. How do you find out where the turkeys are calling home? You need to look and listen for clues that tell you where they roost, feed and also the areas they travel to and from. 

Tracks in the fields and roads will give you a starting place. Turkeys will fly to roost every evening. They will usually go to roost in pine trees on the lower branches. When you find the tracks in the road or in the field you need to figure out if they are leading to the roost or to the food. The idea is to hear them but to remain undetected by the birds. 

When trying to find the turkeys, I would much rather find their roosting spot than where they are feeding. One technique used in trying to find a roosting spot is to quietly slip into an area about an hour before dark and sit down. Eventually the turkeys will fly up to roost. Then wait until dark and slip back out of the area.

Turkey hunting is a sport that will get your blood pumping. It is a sport that will put your calling prowess to the test. I highly recommend you give it a try. 

Until next time, God bless and good, safe hunting.