We are again very near to that time of the year when sights of delicious turkeys will intercept our thoughts. Thanksgiving Day and Christmas are fast approaching. A stuffed turkey onto the plates on either of these days is a coveted epicurean interest. When everyone on the table appreciates the exquisite taste and the size of the bird, you should raise the collars a bit. To top it, if the turkey has been self-caught, the joy is doubled.
People who are into hunting know that pursuing a turkey is a fascinating thing to do. The birds are tough to catch and engage the hunter’s attention from the very beginning. The last 50 yards or so of enticing the big bird to your trap can last for long or end in a few minutes. It depends on the bird’s feet and also the expertise of the hunter. If you want to get started with turkey hunting, let’s try and follow some tips as a beginner.
Let’s delve into the tips.
Wild turkey hunting was once considered a mysterious art, practiced only by experienced foresters. They were sportsmen of caliber who rarely shared their art with anyone. They kept the secrets very close to their hearts and shared the tips only with their near and dear ones. But, as time changed, the tips were no longer a secret. Aspiring hunters can find more about turkey hunting tips in TV shows, videos, seminars, blogs, and books.
This article includes 15 such exciting tips to help in your journey as a beginner turkey hunter.
1. Take The Help Of A Friend.
If you have an experienced turkey hunter on your friend list willing to guide you during your first-time turkey hunt, you are more than blessed. He is the best person to teach you the turkey basics. An effective game plan of catching one may increase your odds up to 50%.
Knowing turkeys is one of the primary things to do, which involves
● Knowing where they eat or sleep.
● Locating their trails.
● Finding out where they travel.
● Visiting those places.
● Shooting the birds.
If you have identified where it roosts, which direction it flies towards in the morning, the places where it meets the hens, the areas it loafs about, half of your work is done.
The next important thing, your expert friend can help you interpret the messages the turkey has left in the woods. It leaves a lot of signs, and understanding them would be the best way to hunt. The signs of the bird have a degree of permanence; for example, most of its droppings will last till the next rain. The woods are a logbook of what the turkey keeps on doing. You have to learn how to see and identify them.
Your friend will help you differentiate between the scratchings of the turkey and the holes made by the squirrels. He can also help you point out turkey tracks initially and also help you understand why he has traveled there. He can also help you spot the turkey droppings and differentiate them from the droppings of other animals.
2. Always Be Ready With The Essential Turkey Hunting Equipment
The first in this category would be camo or camouflage. A good turkey hunter always needs a camouflage suit, which matches the place where he has gone for a shoot. A camouflaged hat, head net, boots, gloves, and socks should always be in your kit. Also, you have to put a camouflage raincoat in your backpack.
There is a set of other miscellaneous equipment too. You will need a turkey vest with a seat having drop-down facilities. Now, this is a funny part. The seat will help you to hold your patience and sit for a long time. Most importantly, choose the gun and the shells. You can also consider using a choke tube and/or a full-choke barrel designed for turkey hunting.
You might have to sit for extended hours and wait for the turkey. So, if you do not have proper footwear, your feet will have to bear a lot. They might get wet or swollen. Buy the lightest and the most comfortable pair of waterproof boots to keep you comfortable. Always remember to buy knee-high boots, in case you have to face standing water.
Another basic turkey hunting need is a good quality turkey call. Be it clucks, cackles, and purrs.
3. A Little Bit More About The Gun
The guns form an essential part of the equipment you are carrying with you (if you’re not bowhunting, obviously). It needs a special mention, as it is the most important device, helping you shoot down a turkey. The first step in checking whether your shotgun is working correctly is to check the choke tubes. It would help if you determined whether you have interchangeable choke-tubes. These are a big benefit for the hunters. The full chokes can keep the shooting pattern dense, which means you can aim for long shots. When the full chokes are not there, you can use the shotgun for hunting the turkeys, but they have to be a little closer. There is something called the Carlson’s choke tubes, which lead to long and deadly shots on the turkeys.
When you are buying turkey ammo, there should be a variety of that to test while the patterning process continues. All ammo will not be shot in the same way from your gun. As you would love to have the most accurate shot, go for the enormous ammo that your weapon can have.
4. Scouting For Turkeys
Scouting for turkeys is a vital thing to do. Don’t get to thinking, as turkey gobbles can be heard easily. Many hunters drop the plan of scouting as turkeys are easily visible. But, this is the biggest mistake they commit. You will always be ahead in the turkey hunting game if you do even a bit of scouting.
The pre-season scouting
This step is mandatory for early success. It is better to put a tag on a turkey before the turkey season starts.
Scouting for roosting areas
It is best to roam around areas where turkeys hang out to have a good catch. Put your ears at least 30 mins before the daylight while they’re gobbling before coming out of the trees.
5. Always Go For Multiple Spots
Many hunters find hunting for multiple spots their favorite tactic. If you have many reserves in many areas, it is beneficial. It may happen that the one site you select comes under too much hunting pressure. The spots can turn out to be a disaster and make the process harder. By having many places to hunt, the turkey hunting process can reach tremendous success.
6. Choose A Good Place To Hunt
Continuing with the last two points, we can infer that choosing a good hunting spot is always essential. Let’s try and understand some basics before we zero down on one. The turkeys are cunning and intelligent. Once you have scouted and spotted a few places, the genuine expedition begins. Always start by buying a map of the area. Start from a larger size, find a more prominent spot for the turkeys, and then narrow down. Often, this helps you find a good hunting spot.
7. Be Patient
You have to develop patience, as this is the key to being a successful turkey hunter. Usually, in the mornings, the gobbling rate is high, and you can anticipate quick success. But if things do not go the way as expected, don’t give away hope. The birds are still nearby. You just have to sit still and wait for them to make a move. A good time would be to wait for them to finish their breakfast, as they get a little frisky this time.
8. More On Turkey Hunting Kit
When your basic turkey hunting gear is ready, as already discussed, you have to focus on other essentials. These things, as a part of your kit, will make your expedition quite successful.
● Insect repellents.
● A hand-held GPS receiver.
● Black greasepaint.
● Extra shells.
● Waders and tennis shoes.
● Ziploc bags to carry important things like toilet paper.
● A sharp-edged knife.
● A camera.
9. Turkey Hunting Season
To have a good turkey feast, you have to make sure that you get hold of a good fat turkey. How will you make sure of that? It would help if you chose the ideal turkey hunting weather. A bright sunny day is said to be the best as the birds will keep running about. Often the rainy days also bring great luck. The turkeys keep on moving about on rainy days, but a dry turkey is better than a wet one.
10. Don’t Ever Call Too Much
Amateur turkey hunters often tend to call too much because they think that the gobblers will also call back to them. It is always good to resist this urge, as this habit will disturb other hunters. Secondly, the gobbler might lose interest, thinking that this is unnatural. Experts say it is good to find out how loud and how often the real turkeys call out and then mimic that with a mouth call. Studies say the turkeys do not call out much.
If you’re about to go on your first turkey hunt, investing in a box call is a good idea.
11. Travel To New Areas With Less Pressure
Often as a beginner, it will be tough for you to find the right spot. So, better go to areas that are not under that much hunting pressure. You also have to learn to give up the turkeys you have chosen to prey on easier targets. Areas with less stress can turn out to be great honey holes for the late season.
12. Turkey Decoy Placement
Different kinds of decoy combinations are used for different situations. As turkeys are lustful and territorial, the decoys can be used to play on their weaknesses. You have to visualize and understand how and in what directions the gobblers will approach the decoys.
If you are not planning to be highly mobile, you will need a hen decoy. Gobblers look for hens, so it is always a fair idea. A Tom and a hen combination are always good for inciting the male turkeys’ jealousy button compelling them to come forward.
It is also worth investing in a strutting turkey decoy.
13. It Is Always Good To Be Mobile
This tip may sound contradictory to the tip of staying patient. A gobbler often wants you to go with him, and sometimes it does pay off by walking in the opposite direction and making calls. But sometimes, you have to play the game from the turkey’s perspective. A good strategy for this would be to walk around and call out until you hear a gobble. Then try getting closer to the gobble and set up any decoy to call him inside.
14. Let The Gobbler Go
If a gobbler shows no interest in coming towards you, it is better to allow it to go away. Force never plays it well. Things can turn worse, and the gobbler will figure out that the decoys are a trap.
15. Realizing Mistakes And Improving Them The Next Time
You will not be a pro hunter overnight, and there will be a plethora of mistakes that you make. The lesson is to learn from them and avoid them the next time. Do your homework, follow the beginners’ tips and stay calm about the mistakes made. The following season, your chances will be higher.
Feasting on a delicious plate of turkey meat is of great gastronomic interest. Besides near-to-perfect culinary skills, what one needs is a great turkey. You can choose to buy one, but what if you hunt it? If you are an ace hunter, you know the tricks. If you are a beginner, we are sure these tips will be of immense help to boast of your hunting skills.