Turkey Hunting Tips
At Tracks & Wings, we are concerned for all of your hunting needs, that includes making sure we have all types of hunting excursions covered. So let me ask you, have you ever wanted to go on a turkey hunt? If so, we are here to give you the basics of turkey hunting so can get out there and even maybe provide the turkey you and your family for next November! Benjamin Franklin advocated naming the turkey the United States national bird, way back when our country was born, so we know there are plenty out there for you in good old North American countryside.
Turkeys are quite the interesting bird, and pretty strange as well. That being said, there are plenty of these odd creatures trotting around all over the world. So don’t worry about being able to find them.
Hunting turkey basics
When and where do we turkey hunt?
When can we go on these turkey-hunting excursions? Well, in the beginning of March in all states except for Alaska, turkey-hunting season officially begins. But you know what is interesting about spring season for turkeys? This is their breeding season, so as you and I are heading out for our years first turkey hunts, more and more turkeys are coming into this world.
Their gobbling is a mating call and of course that makes our lives easier, doesn’t it? We can find these gobbly hens wherever they are making noise. The mother hen turkeys can always be found having their little baby turkeys near food sources, so during breeding season make sure you’re search includes places where turkeys might be looking for a good meal. Also, make sure you get out there in early March, because late season comes very quickly for turkey hunters, and it’s a bit tough to nab your turkey in these later stages.
So now you’re probably asking, “Where can I look for these turkeys that are growing in large numbers?
Well the short answer my friend, is to look for turkeys wherever there is a lush and varied landscape. Turkeys tend to live and roam in areas where there is large diversity, in order to eat assorted plants and find sufficient shelter. While their habitat should be diverse, it shouldn’t be too lush, because turkeys still tend to roam free. Wherever there is sufficient food and shelter for turkeys is the spot to hunt. Sometimes we can even lure those gobblers in by planting some good crops that turkeys enjoy.
But of course friends, we can’t specifically tell you where to hunt for your turkeys. Go to your local government, or your fellow turkey huntin’ neighbor and consult them because we can’t know where you’re living!
The scout for turkey
When it comes to scouting turkey, it’s all about the strut zone. Where are these wild turkeys strutting around in big packs? Well think about it, how can we find clues for where turkeys have been and will be in the future? You got it, track marks.
What makes it super easy for us is the fact that turkey love to get dirty, so these birds will be leaving a seeable trail far after these muddy spots they like to hang out in dry up. We preferably want to look for the wet scratches though, so if you do find them be ready to encounter your potential thanksgiving turkey in this area!
Just as importantly, these strutters gobble very loudly, so we want to listen out for them. Get up to a high location and really listen up for these turkeys gobbling.
So get out there to a lush area, look for some turkey marks, and listen for some roosting turkeys, and you’re all set for your hunting location. Get ready to take down a few turkeys!
So we have to gobble?
If you had a Spanish-speaking friend, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to call him over using a little Spanish now would it? Well, turkey hunting is no different! Yes, that is correct, we speak in the turkey’s mother tongue when we want to hunt them down, and it involves a little bit of trickery.
So friend, what we do when we find our turkey mark tracks, and other signs for where these birds hang out, is we just gobble. Once you spot the bird you want to kill, get as close as possible to it. Before you settle on a spot, try to find one that is as open as possible to different shooting lanes, while still maintaining your hiding spot.
But how can you sound like a turkey? Turkeys have tons of different calls, which one do we use? Won’t they know this difference between a human voice and a real turkey gobble? All great questions! Let’s dive in.
You’re going to have to do your best to learn as quick as you can the turkey calls almost all turkey hunters use. But there is good news for us, there are only two main turkey calls most hunters use. The first one is the cluck. The cluck, which I am sure you’ve heard before, is the sound that basically asks the turkey, “Where are you?!? Come to me!” The second call is the hen yelp, which is much higher pitched, and consists of 5 or 6 notes which we will need to practice.
This can all be learned though, so don’t you fret about learning this new foreign, wild language! Best thing to do is to look up some YouTube videos, and practice on your own.
There are also plenty of other machines, tools and different methods out there for making turkey calls, so if you really don’t want to try your hand in this strange bird language, you could always invest in one of these trusty tools! Look into box calls, slate calls, mouth and diaphragm calls. Between the calls and the use of turkey decoys, you wont have any trouble getting that delicious looking gobbler to come your way.
Turkey hunting weather
Like any of the earth’s organisms, you’ll be finding turkeys in different places depending on the weather a certain time of the day. You wouldn’t find us out in the park on a cold rainy spring day, right? Well turkeys, just like us, change places as the weather changes.
Rainy days for turkeys is like a big family Sunday meal for us. They absolutely pig out on these types of days! All the worms and bugs they love come to the surface, and as we said before gobblers don’t mind getting a little dirty. This type of day is also great for hunters because turkeys’ vision and hearing is way, way worse in the rain. So if you yourself don’t mind getting a little wet, you could be in for a great hunt! Find the spot these birds feed at, and stake out for a great day of hunting.
Sunny days are a bit different. Turkeys’ hearing and vision is somewhat better than it is on rainy days, so we’ll have to be on the top of our game for good sunny days like this. So where do we go to hunt? Well you’ll have to choose the best spot, because some turkeys will be feeding, and some will be roosting and mating, so find out where the most turkeys are and go there.
How do I prepare for my turkey hunt?
So turkey season is finally arriving and it’s time to gather our equipment for the big hunt. First, let’s prepare for the skills we need on the hunt. Do we have our turkey calls down? Good. How about scouting? Do you know where these tasty birds hang out? Alright then. Now we need equipment.
Let’s thank the turkey gods that not much is needed for a good turkey hunt. First off, let’s try to camouflage ourselves best as possible. First let’s talk camo. If we want to conceal ourselves best, we need to know our surroundings. Is it fall or spring? What is the brush like in our hunting area? This is a judgment call and it’s up to us and our trusty hunting buddies to know what type of wear will be best so that those gobblers don’t catch us before we can take the shot. Just be sure, whatever type of camouflage you choose to cover yourself head to toe with as much as possible. As a part of camouflage, its good to mention that a hunting blind can be very effective while turkey hunting. Learn how to build your own blind in the field.
So are we set on our outfits? Good, let’s talk guns. Turkey hunters’ weapon of choice is a shotgun, it doesn’t take much skill to handle these powerful hunting tools. Shotguns are short range, so we’re going to have to get good at our turkey calling. Be sure you have the right set up, and you’re shotgun will take care of the job.
So there you have it. You may have noticed that a lot of this is just getting a feel for your preys habits and way of living. Just embrace becoming a turkey expert on your turkey hunting journey! We have to know the animals we hunt better than themselves, and that even goes as far as to know their mating calls better than those turkeys that want to mate. Just remember that any type of hunt is a learning process for everyone involved, so just relax, prepare well, and have fun next turkey hunting season. If you get one we’d love to see it posted proudly on our hunter wall!
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