Basic Turkey Hunting Tips
Turkey hunting is challenging, exciting and in some cases becomes addictive. Turkey’s senses are extremely keen - even your heart pounding can make the turkey vanish like a puff of smoke.
Basic help in turkey hunting
Before you can hunt a wild turkey, you have got to find them. The easiest way to do this is by locating the general areas of the turkey’s habitat.
• Get a good map of the area you plan to hunt.
• Wave or use a locator call like an owl hooter or crow call or even a turkey call to try to get a response. When you hear a gobbler, mark the locator map.
• Scout for the best location on foot. Check for signs of the bird’s scratches, droppings of feathers. This information can help you locate some areas. Check along mud holes, creek banks, pastures, log roads, fencerows etc. as many trips as possible.
• Never try to get too close to the turkey. A turkey’s eyes, ears and awareness are many times better than yours.
• Choose a tree that is wider than your shoulders. This will protect you from other hunters that might come behind you and mistakenly assume that you are a real turkey.
• Camouflage is almost a must to avoid being seen. Wild turkeys have such keen vision. Many turkey hunters usually wear camo suit, cap, facemask, gloves, vest with many pockets to carry calls and maybe a snack. Also do not forget to wear dark colored socks so that when you sit down, they would not show you. But the main thing to remember: your movement is more important; regardless of how well you are camouflage. It doesn’t make you completely visible. Even though you are camouflage, you are still an unnatural form in the woods. Movement is the greatest enemy of the turkey hunter. A turkey can detect you 10 times faster than you sense the turkey.
• The best shotgun and ammunition for turkey hunting is the combination that delivers a dense, hard-hitting pattern at 40-45 yards. Practice with a target that portrays a turkey’s vital head and neck area. These parts are the ones that you should be shooting. You should have at least 8-10 pellets in the vital area at 40 yards.
• Do not hide so well that you cannot see what is happening. Blinds are useful for the turkey hunter, but when constructed so well that vision is obstructed, it is no longer a blind, and it is a hiding place, as beneficial to the turkey as it is to you.
• Cease from using gobbler calls. Although this call can sometimes be productive, it is also very dangerous. In areas where many hunters are located, you can attract hunters to you rather than turkeys.
• Never wear any red, white or blue clothes. These are the colors of the gobbler’s head - the main target of a turkey hunter.
• If another hunter is working a bird, do not mess everything up by trying to call the bird to you or spooking the bird. This is very unsportsmanlike. The true and experienced hunters do not do that kind of thing.
Fall was the preferred time to hunt wild turkeys by most of the famous old time turkey hunters and is still favored by many traditionalists. These turkey hunting experts liked it best because it was a lot more difficult and therefore more rewarding to call in an old turkey in the fall rather than the spring.
Gobblers in the late summer, fall and winter become very solitary animals with very little interest in females. They do, however, gobble in the fall and there have been a few mornings in October and November that you would think that it was spring with the huge number of gobblers around. On rare occasions, gobblers will even come in strutting and gobbling just like it was spring. More likely though, you won't even notice a fall turkey reacting to your calls. He will just appear silently, looking for companionship with another long beard but not really caring whether he finds it or not. This is a real fall gobbler.
The fall season has regained its popularity recently with the ever-increasing numbers of turkeys. Over 40 states now host fall turkey seasons and more and more hunters are discovering the excitement of hunting in the fall. Turkey hunting is a pleasurable and enjoyable sport people are starting to like.
This sport requires seperate permits for hunters during the fall, along with the applications for spring hunting permits. Turkey hunters are allowed only to take only one wild turkey of either sex during that fall season each day.
Turkeys are usually found in open, mixed hardwood and pine forests. Others are scattered in brush land. Others prefer to roost in trees larger than the surrounding vegetation and will often choose place to stay on sites facing slopes where they can shelter from the existing strong wind. They will use open fields and meadows as feeding and boasting sites and wooded areas are roosting sites. If few or no roosting sites are available, the turkey may leave the place and not use it.
Basic Turkey Characteristics
Turkeys’ ears are also placed on both sides of their heads. And because they have no outer ear to develop the sound in one direction, they hear sounds all the way around them. Sounds received by only one ear can help the turkey find out which direction the sound comes out but not any indication of distance. Turkeys turn around to be more alert.
With a highly developed sense of smell, they can determine the direction of danger by scent and wind direction. The clever beasts generally flee away from the danger, not toward it. Besides their sense of smell, they rely heavily on both their eyes and ears to determine the direction of danger before they run away from it.