A Guide on How to Hunt for Turkey
1. Where Do You Hunt Turkeys?
This is the first tip we would consider because you will not find these turkeys just anywhere. Turkeys too have their habitats and a niche where they can have food, water, and shelter. It is imperative to say that diversity is a key point to consider when finding turkey habitats.
Trees form a good roosting spot for birds; hence make sure your site has a considerable amount of possible roosting trees, usually large ones. They can also survive in sparsely populated areas of timber provided they have access to food and have a place to hide from their predators. Most turkey biologists will inform you that the perfect turkey residing areas usually contain ten to fifty percent open, less-forested lands.
Consider Public Lands
Turkeys are likely to be found across vast stretches of public lands with less pressure from hunting, where they can wander and evade the pressure. To find the best areas for hunting on public land, you can consult with the state wildlife agency. A place to start is the Midwest, furnished with large expanses of state and national forests harbor lots of turkeys worth checking out.
The West, primarily BLM, offers miles to chase birds, making the hunting both fun and rewarding.er.
Consider a Food Plot to Attract these Birds
In the spring, the green food plots that typically attract deer can be perfect for turkeys too as it provides them with forage. They will come looking for the insects and bugs that feed on the crops or flowering plants. The lush green planted vegetation also provides them with sufficient cover from predation.
Regarding food, clover, chicory or wheat plantations provide them with nutritious forage. Birds naturally require a large amount of protein during spring to lay eggs. Therefore the turkeys will come looking for insects on these farms.
One of the plant species that is mainly known to attract turkeys is the Chufa, which you can consider growing on your plot. The chufa which belongs to the nutsedge class produces several peanut-sized tubers during fall, a perfect turkey food. You can read more about how to manage your food plot for turkey hunting at the Realtree website.
You will also find books and journals to help hunters just like you create a perfect food plot for wildlife especially turkey and deer.
2. What is the Perfect Time to Hunt Turkeys?
Most states, except for Alaska, have a spring season for hunting turkey. The dates usually range from 1st March to 3rd May. The states in the deep south usually have their season ending in late April, at the same time the turkey hunting season is peaking on the Northeast and upper Midwest.
Those in Maine have it slightly different as their hunting season can go up to early June. You can scout all these areas depending on when the hunting peaks state-by-state. The Turkey hunting nation provides you with the timeline, dates, and regulations regarding turkey hunting.
Take Advantage of the Breeding Season
The spring is the main breeding season of the turkeys. The males usually gobble to attract hens, something we advise you to use to your hunting advantage. The gobbling may come early more so in the warm weathers. However, a heads up is that not every time they gobble marks their breeding season as it could also happen during fall.
Frequent and persistent gobbling should be your signal. At this time the males will be alerting the hens of their whereabouts. The hens also vocalize in response by yelping or clucking. These are things that should tell you where to direct your turkey hunt.
The hens usually nest close to available food so that the hatched poults can feed on the bugs, plant parts, and seeds.
Hunting during the Early Season
At the beginning of spring, the males let out loud gobbling sounds to attract the hens. Identify an isolated gobbler and call him in on the hunting day. That can also work with a gang of gobblers still waiting to attract their female counterparts.
However, avoid the males that are already strutting for several females since it is tough for them to respond to your calling at that stage. Map out the birds’ daily moves and scout their possible routes to intercept them. To get the gobblers you want, you have to observe patience right from the calling process through to the possible scouting route. The latter could even take days.
When the open season is approaching during later stages of winter, you need to commence your scouting to find as many gobblers as possible. Look for tracks on the ice as well as listen for gobbling noises. These birds are rather messy, and it will be quite simple to find tracks in the mud, sand, and snow.
We recommend that you search keenly for new scratching which is usually unmistakable as they expose wet leaves or dirt. Also, you can identify the droppings by observing but not touching the moist and soft ones.
You can watch this YouTube video of the spring gobbler hunting series to find practical examples of the preparation and the actual scouting process. It has some great material to help you in locating the birds. Turkeys usually roll their bellies down in the dust, and when done they’ll move to another area. These dust patches can lead you to where the turkeys reside.
Also look out for dragging marks on roads with dirt as they will show where the male gobblers strut while pulling their wing tips on the ground. Once you find all or most of these occurrences, then you will prove that the turkeys reside in that area. Depending on the extent of marks left behind, you can tell the abundance of gobblers and hens in the area.
Roosting a Turkey
It involves locating the starting and ending points of the turkey troops to give you an edge as a hunter. Through scouting, you will have established a possible bird location by hearing gobbling or yelping sounds, witnessing marks or a tip from a resident. The step that follows is to pinpoint the exact sleeping location for these birds.
You should visit the area quietly in the evening before turkey fly-down. Once you find the site, do not scare away the birds, they can be very paranoid. Identify their roost trees and the possible landing areas. Sneak up to the area the next day at dawn when they are just flying down within gun range.
4. The Setup and the Shot
Turkeys have excellent eyesight and response to stimuli that make aiming and shooting with less superior weapons difficult. Besides, they can fly and will take off the moment they see you. Therefore you need a competent weapon choice such as a shotgun. However, if you want some fun, the bow can be used together with some help such as decoys and ground blinds.
Today, new blinds and decoys have been established for turkey hunting that you can use to get the most out of bow hunting. Read the outline in Richard Combs’ Advanced Turkey Hunting Guide.
Turkeys are susceptible to being lured by the blind hence you can set them up even on open fields. If you are using a shotgun, it is easy to shoot from the blind because you don’t require much space. For the bow hunters, you need more room to set up the bow and aim.
The Bows and Guns to Use
When turkey hunting, a precise kill is your target since the bird can escape or fly away wounded making it hard to track. A shotgun straight to the head within a 40-yard radius will do the trick. The perfect gun should throw off a good pellet pattern where you point it.
It should be camouflaged to avoid spooking off the gobblers. Single shot shotguns will work just fine since they are light and affordable. Remington 870 and Mossberg 835 of twelve gauges with 3-inch chambers are an excellent choice. Semi-automatic shotguns will work great with the wood turkeys.
In the case of a bow, a short axle length one is fine when you are in a blind. Choose a bow with a light draw weight but with relatively higher left off. The Gobbler Guillotine broadhead is perfect for head shooting.
Headshots usually lead to either an instant kill or miss; therefore opt for it only if you have enough aiming time. Avoid going for the wing area or the breast because the turkey will escape. Shoot the area just above the hip or at the crease of the thigh to hit the vitals or break a bone.
If you follow these tips then at the end of the day you will have a gobbler to take home. Just make sure to use the proper calling techniques, the correct scouting procedure to locate the turkeys, a great weapon to avoid bruising the turkey only for it to escape, and finally have patience for the kill shot. We encourage you to share your thoughts, experiences or comments on this turkey hunting tips whenever you read the post.