By Kinsey Edmunds, Huntress View Team Member
Throughout the years, turkeys have become one of my favorite things to hunt after! I love being in the woods surrounded by new living things, (except snakes) and how fresh the woods smell as everything is turning green again. The sound of the first thunder chicken literally gets me so fired up, I’m like a giddy little kid waiting to unwrap a present! I’ve been turkey hunting for many years, and each hunt is never the same. That is one thing I love! Each time is a new chance to learn in a different scenario.
If you are new to turkey hunting, you are seriously going to love it! If you already have been and are hooked, than you can probably relate to what I said about being giddy like a little kid the first time you hear the turkeys light up! I want to share with you some of the tips I have learned from personal hunting experiences, and tips that my friends have shared with me along the way that I have found to be very helpful! I still have so much to learn, but that’s the fun part!
- Evaluate the time of year you are hunting and figure out what stage the turkeys are in. Are they still joined with their winter flocks? Are they henned up? Are the hens on their nest? Once you figure out what stage the turkeys are in then you can have a better understanding of how you should get set up.
- The type of decoying you can do can vary throughout the season. Think about your location. If you have a good backdrop and good cover in your surrounding area, you may not need decoys. Watch how much you are calling, and let that turkey come in and look for you.
- If you are in a taller grassy area, it might be best to use a lookout decoy so it is easier for the gobbler to see. If you are in open timber, one or two hens would work good so he has something to visually see when he hears your calling. The same could work if you are sitting on the edge of an open field. In this scenario you could also use a jake and one/two hens.
- Putting your decoys out front to the left or right of where you are sitting, will help lessen your chances of being seen if the turkeys are coming in directly in front of you. If you think they will be coming in at an angle, make sure you set up to where it is easiest for you to make a clear shot.
- Later in the season, depending on your location, you can try using a laydown hen and a lookout hen when calling. The look out hen shows confidence, and once they lay eyes on the laydown hen, it will help attract them to come in to breed.
- First of all, be patient, sometimes it happens quick but other times it takes a little bit to get the gobbler to come in. Don't lose hope!
- When you first hear a gobbler and you are calling back to him, pay attention to him and what he seems to react to. Does he like the aggressive yelping, or does he respond better to a softer purr? No turkeys are the same. Try and mimic what they are doing.
- If you have been talking with the gobbler and he is sounding closer, or you can physically see him making his way to you, let up on the calling and make him come to you. You have gotten his attention, so now allow him to come and find you.
- This may be a given, but if you’ve never been around turkeys you probably don’t know just how good they can see, so STAY STILL. I read once, if you can see the turkey, he can see you much, much better. Good to remember. Make sure to wear some type of mask or face paint to hide your face.
- If you are calling and the turkeys responded to you but then stopped, don’t get discouraged. That could mean they are coming in.
- If you are trying to locate the birds on a windy day and need a louder sound, box calls are a great way to get the sound reach you might need.
- If the turkey(s) is at your decoy set up, and you need to adjust your gun or pull back your bow, move when the turkey’s back is facing you.