A lot of hunters around the world claim turkey hunting to be one of the most exhilarating and exciting hunts of all times. The thrill and aggression of this sport can be easily credited to the paranoid and skittish virtues of its target. So here we are with some of the turkey hunting tips for beginners, who have the zeal and excitement for this sport. In simple words, turkey hunting is tough, and especially for those who are new to this adventure. You cannot expect to go out on a hunt and catch one of these gobblers without any techniques or skills of hunting these gobblers unless it's your lucky day.
Let's get started with some of the best advice from turkey hunting experts that will accelerate your hunt and enhance your enticing skills, which is essential to platter one of your prey for dinner.
Tips And Tricks For Turkey Hunting
1. Identify the hunting grounds.
These gobblers tend to flock in an open field or roost in their nest in accord to the season. So it is important for the hunter to have a perfect idea about the existence of these birds in their hunting area, to avoid unnecessary wastage of time. Turkeys are found in public and private land too.
Hunters usually opt for public land as the vastness of the area allows these birds to scatter and roam around, giving a hunter his solo spot and target area to hunt. Undoubtedly, the hunting pressure on public land is higher when compared to private turkey breeding grounds, but the increased population of the gobblers in public areas makes them a suitable ground for turkey hunting.
As a beginner, you can consult the state wildlife agency websites or various maps on the internet that effectively illustrate the population distribution of these birds across the world. Moreover, independent of the zone, turkeys usually opt for an area that has an open as well as some dense surrounding.
2. Exploit the seasonal benefits
Spring is officially the turkey hunting season, usually ranging from early March to mid-May or even June at times. This period is marked as a breeding and mating season for these birds. Hunters usually take great advantage of this period and indulge themselves into extensive hunting. The increased daylight grants a spanned time range to the hunters to trap their prey. Moreover, during this period these birds gobble around to attract their partner and also stage themselves visually to attract the opposite gender. Most of the hunters, exploit the above two characteristics of turkeys during spring to their advantage. For instance, since the birds are looking for a mate, they tend to respond to the hunt calls and can be easily fooled by the use of decoys.
The other seasons like summer, fall or winter are entirely different. These birds rarely disperse around and mostly spend their time brooding in their roost during this period. However, turkeys behave differently during rains. They sound of the downpour propel these birds into open field where they flock together to keep an eye on any threats. Turkey hunting in rains can be altogether a different fun and thrill for a lot of hunters.
Similarly, turkey hunting in the wind can be an enjoyable experience. The noise from the winds disturbs the vigilance and hearing skills of these birds; therefore they flock around in pastures or open fields. This behaviour is quite similar to rainy day gobblers.
Apart from all the above tricks and tips, there a lot of skills and techniques that can lead to a productive hunt. For beginners, all you need is to dive into this adventurous sport, and eventually, you will learn all the expertise of turkey hunting with each experience of yours.
3. Gear up for a perfect hunt
Apart from an ideal camouflage, hunters must understand the necessity of gears. Gears are used to help the hunter during the entire process of trapping. From hunt calls to maps, the hunter must be well-equipped with all the prerequisites of turkey hunting.
One of the most essential gears is a good turkey vest. These vests are designed with multiple pockets to hold flashlights, box calls, water, decoys, snacks, etc. Along with all these, such vests are padded at the back so that the hunter can lean against a tree or a log and bear long hours of vigilance. Hunting masks are really important not only as a part of gear but also for effective concealment from these birds. Always try to purchase some of the best turkey hunting face masks to avoid any direct contact with the sharp-eyed birds.
Turkey boots are also an essential aspect of hunter clothing. Long hunting boots allow the hunters to take smooth strides in wet or dry surfaces. Moreover, hunting boot also protects the hunter from venomous insects or reptiles. Thus, you should not compromise on any gears or clothing in case you want a healthy adventurous trip to the forest.
4. Choose the right weapons
Turkey hunting with a bow is one of the traditional ways of hunting these birds. Surprisingly, a lot of experts around the world still opt for such hunting techniques. While hunting with a bow, make sure to aim the arrow perfectly at one or both of wings, so that bird can’t fly or run away. If the bird successfully escapes your aim, it's better to pack your bags and close for the day!
Shotguns are a popular choice for turkey hunting. Beginners are usually advised to start their hunt using these as a weapon. A 12 gauge shotgun is a standard choice for hunting down these birds; however, experienced hunters even opt for 18-20 gauge weapons. Independent of the type of weapon used to hunt down these gobble-heads, it is necessary to choke them down on your first shot, as turkeys are paranoid and they might vanish at a blink of an eye. While using the shotguns, the target area in zoomed in from the head to the neck, beyond this part there are increased chances of losing the bird to an imperfect shot.
5. Wise usage of decoys
Decoys can make or break the deal when it comes to hunting. Thus usage of decoys is a critical element to turkey hunting. Decoys are used to attract gobblers within your shooting range. However, you should place your decoy in a position that is visible from all direction. The choice of a decoy depends on the season and nature of these birds that allow a gobbler to view it from yards away.
For instance, during mating season, you should opt for beautifully feathered hen decoys so that they can easily attract the male gobblers. Besides the choice of decoys, their proper placement is crucial. Sometimes, even if the gobbler walks close to the decoys, hunters are either not ready for a shoot or fail to aim at the site. Thus, you must locate the decoy at a site that makes the shoot feasible. This is one of the best turkey hunting tips for beginners that can enhance their hunting experience.
6. Scout the gobbler
One of the basic rules of hunting is to study your target before you set the trap. Even if you are geared up and well-skilled with all the techniques, scouting is a must. Before you head out to hunt down one of these gobblers, it is essential to identify their strutting zones to make sure that the hunter is in the right place at the right time.
Luckily, turkeys love to play in the mud, i.e. they tend to get dirty and muddy, thereby leaving prominent trail-marks for hunters. Moreover, hunters must ensure that their target location is an active roost. This is important because the flock usually move around to different roost sites before they settle for their favourite. An active roost can be indicated by droppings, feathers or fresh track marks; and in case you are lucky, you may find the flock itself.
Along with all these, you can also pay close attention to the gobbling sounds of this stutter. Turkeys usually have a loud call, which can give their hunter a fair idea of their habitat or nearby areas. So, once you are sure about some of the active roost of these gobblers, you have undoubtedly increased your chances of a successful hunt. Thus, before you head out for your perfect hunt, make sure you have a good idea of where to shoot a turkey down.
7. Hunt with an expert
Hunting along with an expert allows you to observe the dos and don'ts of turkey hunting carefully. Experts are usually happy to help out a novice hunter with the tricks and patterns of hunting these gobblers. They can guide you through the most active hunting areas where you can shoot a turkey, the perfect camouflage techniques and how to master hunting calls.
Apart from all these, hunting with an expert gives you exposure to watch and participate in the various phases of hunting from scouting to shooting those toms down. Moreover, hunting with a partner can be effective in calling the birds. One of you can call them from a distance of about 20 yards from the other, who is ready to take an aim when the hunt gets closer.
8. Master the art of camouflage
Camouflage is vital to any form of hunting. It aids the hunter to blend with its surrounding so that they can conceal themselves from their target. Turkey hunting has no different rules, especially owing to the skittish character of these birds. These birds are sharply observant to any unusual sound or unknown presence around them. Thus, it is important that you gear up with smooth gliding shoes and high-grip gloves that help you to chase these fowls without creating any disturbance.
Apart from all these physical blending, it is essential to conceal your strides and movements across the fields. You should walk alongside the trees and bushes instead of barging into the open ground and scaring those birds away. Also, remember it is not a race, so take small steps with appropriate pauses and conceal your presence effectively.
9. Intensify your Hunt calls
It is evident that as a beginner you are not well acquainted with hunt calls. However, calling these gobblers is an essential tool in hunting them down. Hunt call allows the bird to reciprocate back so that you can easily track these birds down. To expertise in these calls, start with some YouTube videos and follow the pitch and tone of the expert. However, always remember to impersonate the birds, not your tutor.
Box calls are highly recommended for beginners, as they are simple to use and effective at the same time. Although hunt calls are dependent on various factors like the sex of the birds, their habitat and their purpose for calling; some basic calls can help you through your initial period of hunting. However, instead of opting for blind calls, as a beginner you must analyse the effectiveness of your calls each time you hunt. This way you can effectively work on your mistakes and use your experience for your future help.
Turkey hunting is an exhilarating hunt experience for a lot of people. This is one of the most exciting and thrilling hunts of all time. The article aims to highlight some of the turkey hunting tips for the beginners so that these novice chasers can step out and start their hunt with enhanced confidence and enthusiasm. If you never had a chance to shoot down any of these gobblers, arm yourself with these amazing tips for catalysing your hunting skills.