Turkey hunting is a game of skill and one in which the hunter is often at a disadvantage. While these majestic birds may appear slow, dumb and easy to bag they are anything but. These birds have outsmarted more hunters than you can count, especially the big old Toms that have survived season after season to lead a flock.
If you are leaving the woods empty handed you need to change tactics and we have just the ticket. The following tips are designed to close the deal when everything seems to be going in the bird’s favor.
1. Back off
Far too many hunters set up almost under the roost site, thinking they will surprise still sleepy Toms as they start the day. Truth is the chances of surprising a turkey are slim. You might trick them but surprising them is another story. Instead you should back off a bit. Move out of the immediate area, out of sight of the roost and along a travel route.
2. Stop calling
It is true that plenty of turkey have been taken after being called in, even from considerable distances. But when hunting gets tough it is time to be quiet and stop advertising your location. If you simply can’t resist the urge to call stick with soft clucks and barely audible yelps.
3. Become invisible
One of the biggest reasons hunters are busted is because the turkeys see them. Sure, you can be a little lazy when there are plenty of active birds you may overlook you if your decoy spread is nice enough. However, when the birds become cautious you need to become invisible. Head to toe camouflage, face paint or mask and a subdued shotgun are a must. Then you need to set up with trees, bushes to the rear to further mask accidental movement. If you have a blind, and they are legal when you hunt, this is a good time to use it.
4. Run and gun for an interception
If you hear birds in the distance but they show no interest in coming to you it is time to go to them. As soon as you hear a Tom call figure out their location and direction of travel, back off a bit and set a course to intercept him further down the line.
Even cautious birds are less likely to detect you if you are set up in a direction they were already heading.
5. Go with the flow
All game animals need water, and many find it to be a source of security- using it to cut off potential approaches for predators. Turkeys are no different. Not only will they often roost near or even over water they will also spend a great deal of time simply strutting near it. Bottomlands, pond dams and river banks are favorite hang outs. These same spots should be your go to spots for tough days.
The last tip is to get out and get some field time, you can never bag a bird from the living room couch. For more tips on filling your turkey tags check out this YouTube video.