If you love hunting and are looking for an action-filled experience, turkey hunting is just the right thing for you. Turkeys are fascinating birds and engaging in conversation with the hunted before going in for the kill at the right time is sure to leave you asking for more!
While you can hunt turkeys in the spring, fall is certainly the original turkey season. However, as fall isn’t turkey mating season, hunting for a bird presents different challenges. But don’t let this dampen your spirits; read on for some tips on bringing home your first fall turkey!
Approach Fall Hunting Differently
As mentioned, fall isn’t turkey mating season, so you’ll have to approach the sport differently. Keep in mind that the male turkeys, called gobblers, respond to hen yelps or clucks readily in the spring. During the fall, gobblers stick with each other and concentrate more on roosting and feeding.
Calling turkeys by yelping and clucking will work in the spring, whereas in the fall, you’ll have to adapt to gobbling to lure in the longbeards.
Locate Hunting Zones
Ideal turkey habitat will have the three basics- food, water, and shelter. Just consult your state’s or country’s wildlife agency websites to locate public hunting areas. Your state or country is likely to have private hunting areas too, so be sure to check.
Turkey flocks eat a high-protein diet consisting of crickets, grasshoppers, and other insects. Wild turkeys might also eat tubers and berries. Areas that have abundant food plus trees for roosting and cover to escape from predators will be your best bet.
Turkeys roost in the same spot each night, so you might want to start scouting before the hunting season begins. Also keep a track of the different areas the turkeys frequent during the day.
Here are some evidences to look out for when scouting turkey flocks:
- Droppings- gobblers leave ‘J’-shaped droppings while hens leave bulbous droppings
- Molted feathers- scattered feathers under trees along with droppings indicate a roost
- Scratched areas- turkeys rake up leaves to expose insects, nuts, and berries
- Dusting areas- shallow depressions in loose soil indicate dusting areas that turkeys roll in to keep themselves clean
- Tracks- look in muddy or snowy areas for tracks left by turkey flocks
Get the Technique Right
There is more than one technique to hunt wild turkeys and you can choose from roosting, blind calling, or running and gunning. Whichever method you choose, ensure that you’re well aware of how to proceed.
All techniques involve calling to turkeys to attract them closer to you. Turkeys usually start calling back within 10-30 minutes but you might have to wait longer than that.
Sometimes, a turkey might stop right outside the range of your hunting weapon- instead of calling continuously, generate its interest by remaining silent for a while. Turkeys that are almost within range can also be drawn closer by shuffling leaves with your feet to imitate the sounds made when a turkey forages for food.
Using decoys will also help attract turkeys. Arrange a single decoy to look like it’s grazing in the field or arrange a couple of them to look like a gang of gobblers. You can also arrange decoys in a line to trick turkeys into believing that a flock is leaving the field and heading elsewhere- this is sure to bring them out in the open!
Take Appropriate Gear Along
Be it camouflaging clothes and paint, guns and ammunition, rifle scopes, calls, and being ready with the appropriate gear will increase your chances of success. Take a look at some good and authorized hunting gear websites to make sure you’ve got everything you need.
Follow Safety Guidelines
Following safety guidelines will ensure you have a great time pursuing your sport. Camouflaging is necessary but do wear hunter orange so that you’re seen clearly by other hunters. If you think there is another hunter in the area, speak in a loud and clear voice from your place.
Most importantly, keep local rules and regulations in mind so that you’re not breaking any laws. Abiding by the rules not only keeps you from getting in trouble with the authorities, but also helps preserve the flora and fauna of the area. In general, hunt only during hunting seasons, and remember to shoot only when you’re sure of the turkey’s gender.
Hunting wild turkeys can be a rewarding experience- it requires you to establish a line of communication with the hunted, ultimately leading to a nerve-racking climax at close quarters. As exciting as it all can be, your hunting session can quickly turn into a heartbreak if you make a mistake.
With the tips given here, you now know how to go about fall turkey hunting the right way. So don’t rush things, be prepared for your first turkey hunt in every way, and you’ll definitely succeed!
About author: Judith Wright is a passionate blogger in the areas of adventurous, perilous and outdoor activities. Judith is also extremely enthusiastic about skiing, hill climbing and trekking.