There are many things a turkey hunter needs to plan before the hunting season even begins, as well as just prior to the hunt. The hunter must consider many details on turkey hunting for better performance. So, you need proper turkey hunting tips and guide before planning the hunt.
Before the hunt of turkey begin a hunter should have proper knowledge on turkeys and hunting. The details will be including the places the local turkey’s roost, what is best to wear out in the field, and how to call a turkey in for the shot.
Turkey Hunting Tips Before Planning the Hunt
Turkeys are unpredictable birds that are easily spooked. They will run off if they see anything that is out of place, such as white socks peeking out from under a hunter’s pants. The key to a successful hunt is to be fully prepared with proper knowledge, tips, and guide.
Scouting before hunting season means taking the time to see where the wild turkeys are gathering. This is important preparation for the actual hunt: a hunter will be much more efficient with information about where the turkeys are spending time. This is as important as having proper hunting arrow, bows, best arrow rests and scope. One should hike around the hunt zones a month or so before the season starts.
When scouting, look for tracks and scats (droppings). There is a noticeable difference in the appearance of a hen’s and a gobbler’s tracks and scats. Checking local library resources and going online are great ways to research turkey tracks and scats.
Also, as opening day approaches, walk or drive around and listen for gobbles. Mark the areas where you hear the sounds on a map to remember where to go when it is time to hunt.
Listening and Calling Turkey
When listening for the wild turkey, it is important to know that different turkeys make different sounds. An excited when makes a series of fast, loud, erratic single notes: this is known as cutting. On the other hand, a typical gobble from a gobbler or tom lasts for as long as two to three seconds.
An older tom will have a deep, full-throated gobble. A jake, or young male, has a shorter gobble. Wild turkeys are very vocal in the late winter and early spring. A hunter will hear yelping, cutting, gobbling, purring, and other sounds.
The Website of the National Wildlife Federation (http://www.nwf.org) is just one of the many sites that allow hunters to listen to the different turkey sounds and become familiar with them. Then, when hunting, the noises will be recognizable. Hunters use turkey calls to simulate the different sounds and draw in wild turkeys. For example, a hunter can make the noises a hen makes to attract a tom.
Calling the Turkey Tips
Once a hunter gets a tom to gobble, he or she shouldn’t overcall the turkey, or bother it with too many calls. One should let the tom gobble a few times between calls because the tom is trying to call the hen (who is really the hunter). If the tom stops gobbling, the hunter should stop calling altogether.
This may make the turkey come to look for him or her. Sometimes a tom will gobble a few times and then approach silently. A hunter should be patient and shouldn’t give up too early on a bird. A lack of gobbling does not necessarily mean the tom is not coming.
Sounds that Wild Turkeys Make
Sometimes it helps to use a decoy to direct the turkey’s attention elsewhere. When the hunter is ready to shoot, he or she can remove the safety on the weapon and fire.
The National Wild Turkey Federation Web site is another place to listen to each of the different turkey calls. Here are just a few of the sounds that wild turkeys make:
One or more short, staccato notes, usually used by one bird to get the attention of another.
This sound signals danger to other birds. It indicates that a turkey has seen or heard something that it doesn’t like. It can be a single note or several sharp, rapid notes.
A series of soft, muffled yelps made by a roosted bird. It is used as a way to communicate with others in the flock.
This sound is made by the male wild turkey. It is primarily used during the springtime to let hens know he is in the vicinity.
A series of single-note vocalizations. A yelp can have different meanings, depending on the way the turkey uses it.
Variety of Turkey Calls
It is helpful to be familiar with a variety of turkey calls. Using just one of these calls may not always work to draw in a turkey. The more calls you know, the better you will be at hunting. Here are some examples of turkey calls that hunters use:
This air-activated device consists of latex reeds, an aluminum frame, and a skirt. One makes turkey sounds by pushing air through the call and forming the mouth to say certain words. This is the most popular call, but the hardest to master.
To make sounds, a hunter pulls a striker across a circular surface that is made out of slate, glass, aluminum, or a combination of these materials. Most beginners can pick up this call very quickly.
A hunter simply slides a wooden lid across an open box to create the sound. This is one of the easiest calls to learn.
Spring Turkey Hunting vs. Fall Turkey Hunting
According to John Ferguson, spring turkey hunting is exciting, challenging, and fast-paced. In springtime, hunters can harvest only toms. To call in a male, or “tom turkey,” hunters need to mimic hens because this is the breeding season.
Using Different Calls for Turkey Hunting
This is achieved by using diaphragm calls, slate calls, or wooden box calls. It takes practice to become proficient with these calls. One wrong sound can be the difference between harvesting a turkey and going home empty-handed.
It is possible to call a tom from more than half a mile (805 m) away. Sometimes a bird will come in within a few minutes. Other times a hunter will have to work with a turkey for hours.
Fall Hunting Season Hunting
During the fall hunting season, a hunter is allowed to take either male or female turkeys. The key is to try to ambush the birds at their food sources. Turkeys are only concerned with feeding and staying alive in the fall, so food sources and roosting areas (sleeping areas) are the best places to scout.
If a hunter scatters a flock in the fall, he or she can usually use soft clucks to bring the birds back in. A hunter is not able to shoot a turkey that is in the roost but must wait until the turkey is on the ground.
Physical Condition of the Hunter
When preparing for turkey hunting, one must not only have the proper training and equipment but must also be in good physical condition. There are many ways a person can prepare for the physical demands of hunting. For example, one can exercise on a daily basis and practice healthy eating habits.
It is also important for a hunter to be aware of his or her physical limitations. Many hunting injuries or deaths come from hunters having heart attacks or suffering heatstroke because they were not used to the physical exertion of hunting.
This usually occurs more frequently in older adults. However, as a young hunter, it is a good idea to get in shape now and build healthy habits. Some hunters wisely spend a few weeks before hunting season in the gym or outdoors, building up their endurance and strength.
Personal Safety and the Safety of Others
When turkey hunting, there is a proper way for a hunter to sit and wait for a turkey. The guidelines include the following rules: First, the hunter should not load the gun until he or she is set up and calling the turkey in.
Whenever you can hear another hunter working a bird, do not go in that area at all. If you are not completely sure that you are the only one working a bird, do not take any chances. It is never worth taking a risk if you or someone else might get hurt.
Yelping while on the move in the woods can be detrimental. Another hunter may hear the sound and mistake it for a wild turkey. His or her adrenaline can kick in and lead to an accident. Sit still and spend some time really observing your surroundings and listening for signs of hunters. Before raising a gun or bow, be absolutely sure that it is a turkey you are hunting and not another person. If another hunter is visible, let him or she knows by shouting a loud and firm “Good morning!” or by saying, “It’s a beautiful day out!”
Wait to show yourself until the other person’s gun is down and he or she is relaxed. After shooting a turkey, place it in an orange vest or carrying bag so that other hunters see a bag and not a wild turkey moving.
Hunting Clothing: What to Bring in the Turkey Hunt
As a hunter, one needs to be concerned about camouflage as well as comfort, silence, safety, and warmth. Like we said in the big buck hunting tips article, proper clothing and outfit is important for proper performance.
Expert turkey hunter Ben Cowan says that he lives by two clothing rules when hunting in the woods: First, purchase quiet fabric that provides comfort from the elements and mosquitoes.
Second, remember to think about everything from your undergarments to pieces that will cover you from head to toe. A hunter’s undergarments should be made from modern synthetic fabrics, which wick away moisture and keep a hunter warm.
Purchasing green, brown, or camouflage long johns will ensure that no light colors pop out from underneath clothing.
Outerwear of Turkey Hunters
For outerwear, a hunter should wear full camouflage, including coverage for the hands and face. Turkeys have excellent vision. Pants should have enough length so that the legs are covered when one is sitting with the knees drawn up.
Many hunters consider a vest the most important element of clothing because it works like both a suitcase and a filing cabinet. It provides storage for calls and other various tools needed while hunting. Some vests have a cushioned seat attached for comfort when the hunter has to sit for long periods of time.
Upper Portion Clothing of a Turkey Hunter
Head and face coverings are also key items. A hunter should wear a mask so that he or she will not expose a shiny forehead or rosy cheeks.
Wild turkeys will pick up on such details with their keen eyesight. When the weather is hot, one can wear a mesh camouflage baseball cap. Gloves should also be camouflage and have long, knit wrists. Make sure that the gloves are thin: the hunter’s hands should be unobstructed so that he or she can give calls, release the safety on a gun, pull a trigger, or shoot a bow.
Proper Turkey Hunting Tips on Footwear
A turkey hunter’s footwear depends on the season. Tall rubber boots with good cushioning and foot support are great for rainy weather. Insulated leather boots work well when the weather is cold. Good, waterproof hiking boots can also keep the feet warm. A thin pair of polypropylene liner socks combined with wool outer socks will help wick away moisture and keep the feet dry and comfortable.