Turkey hunting is an intense active hunt that can be full of excitement and heart pounding moments.
Even on the days when the Toms are quiet and those intense moments can’t be found, you are still taking a stroll through the woods on a great spring day. this can lead to deer recon and delicious mushrooms. What do you have to lose?! If you’ve been wanting to get started but didn’t know where, check out this list of 5 Essential Tips for the New Turkey Hunter.
Being new to turkey hunting looking at the calls can be a little overwhelming. When you think about turkey hunters you undoubtedly think about someone sitting in the woods with a mouth call making it look sooo easy. It’s ok to go ahead and grab a mouth call, but use this in the car…alone for a while! If you can even make a sound, it’s going to be an awful one, and it will absolutely set off rage of anyone that lives in your house with you. Keep working at it, but you might want to take a different approach your first trip into the field. The best calls to start out with are both calls and push-button calls. They are the easiest to use and can get the job done much better than you slobbering and blowing all over yourself with a mouth call that you aren’t comfortable with yet! Remember these three sounds. Clucks, yelps, and purrs. These are the three sounds you need to practice with. For the yelp, push the button firmly and in on swift motion. You are going for “Hey! I’m over here! Where are you!?” Next is the cluck, this is still one push put much calmer. I have little kids so let me explain it this way. The yelp is your outside voice and the cluck is your inside voice. And That leaves the purr. That’s your candlelight dinner conversation voice. With a push button it’s the most difficult but you can do it. You want to push soft and slow and have it skip almost like your antilock brakes. This will create the hen purr. Practice this before you get out in the field. Turkey calling strategy can get complex and hotly debated, but for you first time stick to the basics. Use the yelp to locate the gobbler, once he responds to you use clucks to keep him engaged, once you get to know each other a little, the purr is your closer. Play a little hard to get and keep him interested! As he gets closer to you it’s a good idea to stop calling before he realizes that he’s talking to chalk and wood!
A turkey’s best defense is it’s sight. You don’t have to worry about smell like you do deer hunting, but the orange is only a good idea when you are traveling to your spot. Be completely covered, this includes your hands and your face. For me my uncovered hands look like a big white surrender flag to the turkey if I don’t have gloves on. You don’t have to have really expensive camo, you don’t even have to have matching camo, in fact different patterns help brake you up even more.
Turkeys are tough birds. They can take a hit and keep going. The key to shooting a turkey is hitting it in the head. A misplaced shot that catches the body, and that bird is gone. It’s important to take enough knock down power to do the job, which is why you will see most turkey hunters using 12 gauges. I’ve hunted with guys that have used smaller shotguns, but their accuracy level was expert. Starting out make sure you have enough oomph to do the job so we aren’t leaving wounded birds out there.
Decoys are an integral part of turkey hunting, you can do it without them, but your odds get drastically better with them on your team. You want to set them up where you would have a good shot at a Tom that comes in to check them out and then get back and hid behind brush or a blind and start your calling. You can spend as much as you want on decoys. I’ve shot birds over the ten-dollar inflatable decoys, they will work. You can also go high end and get lifelike ones with feathers and a high price tag. It’s all how much you want to invest. One word of caution though especially if you are using Jake or Gobbler decoys. The woods are full of people in camo with shotguns that are trying to shoot something that looks an awful lot like the decoy you are sitting by. Every year during turkey season hunters call each other in and accidents happen. I tend to stay away from Gobbler calls and decoys for that reason, especially if I’m hunting public ground where I don’t know where the other hunters are. Be aware, and ALWAYS know exactly what you are pointing your gun at.
The Tick Spray!
Like I mention earlier, a turkey’s sense of smell is not great. That’s good for us because hiking around on a warm spring day can lead to some smells. It also gives us the opportunity to spray down for ticks. They are out and active during turkey season and it’s a great idea to do all you can to keep them off of you. Wearing camo that’s been treated with Permethrin is a start. I also like to tuck my pants into my books and them wrap camo duct tape around the top of my boots and the bottom of my pants so they can’t get up my pant leg. Them I’ll spray my boots and pants as well.