A successful turkey hunting season requires planning and preparation, patience and team work, and of course some luck on the part of the hunter. If you’re lucky enough to have a turkey in your sights this turkey season, don’t let it get away! Use these tips from experienced hunters to help ensure you return home with your fall bounty.
Getting Ready for Your Turkey Hunting Trip
Turkey hunters have all kinds of preparations to make before Turkey season. Between buying gear, making sure everything is working right, and practicing shooting. Make sure that you get your license figured out before the season starts so that you’re not rushing to do it right before you head out.
But getting ready for a successful turkey hunting season isn’t just about getting your gear together or practicing shooting. Hunters should know as much as they can about their quarry. Scouting is key! A wise hunter knows his target and how it behaves before ever taking aim. We’ll circle back to this later!
Choosing the Right Gun
There are a few different ways to go when it comes to choosing a turkey gun, and it’s important that you pick one that fits your needs.
For those wanting to take a lighter gun with them, the 20-gauge is going to be the pick for you. Their smaller profile and less recoil are perfect for younger hunters with smaller frames. Additionally, shotgun with a 28-gauge can be used effectively at close range of about 30 yards.
Of course, the standard 12-guage is a classic choice for any hunter. Though it has more recoil than the others, it can shoot a longer distance – and can even double for a trusty waterfowl gun if you’re looking to find one that you can master for various different hunting trips.
When hunting from blinds or tree stands, make sure your gun is capable of shooting upwards at low angles; otherwise, your shot may miss by bouncing off of branches and brush.
Whether you’re just learning to call turkeys or are an old pro, it’s always a good idea to brush up on your skills during preseason. Calling is perhaps one of the most important turkey hunting tips out there and the key to coming home with a bird in hand. Every hunter has their own style and techniques, but there are several common methods that can be used by all hunters with varying degrees of experience and confidence in their ability to call birds in from long distances.
- Yelp: This is the sound usually made by female turkeys, usually called hens.
- Cutt: When hens are trying to get the attention of a male this is the sound they use. You’ll want to make sever cluck sounds quickly one after another to see the best results.
- Purr: A turkey purrs when it’s feeding or feels safe in its surroundings. When using a purr while hunting, you can trick your game into feeling the same sense of safety and letting its guard down.
- Putt: When a putting sound is heard, this sends turkeys into a frenzy because it’s an alarm for danger.
- Gobble: Hunters are cautioned NOT to imitate gobbles because this is the sound that male turkeys make responding to hens. That being said, it’s a great way for hunters to find the location of a turkey.
Decoys – Does Size Matter?
Maybe you’ve been wondering about decoy size. Should I use a small or large decoy? Or maybe you just want to know if there are any benefits to a large or small decoy. After all, you’re planning your turkey hunting trip and need to plan accordingly.
The simple answer is that size does matter when it comes to decoys, especially as part of your turkey hunting tips for successful season. But we can explain that better… Decoys should be used in conjunction with other turkey hunting tactics such as calling and scouting, but using multiple decoys has its own advantages:
- Large decoys make turkeys feel more secure
- If a gobbler thinks he’s being stalked by several smaller predators like coyotes or foxes (as opposed to one larger predator), he will feel more threatened
- Decoy spread also gives turkeys more places to land, making them less wary of approaching hunters
- Multiple decoys give hunters more flexibility in their setup
- Multiple decoys make gobblers seem like they have girlfriends! So, which type of turkey hunting tips for successful season do you prefer? Large vs. small vs. multiple?
The most important part of turkey hunting is scouting. To be successful, you’ll need to spend a long amount of time watching turkeys and learning their habits. When they feed. Where they roost at night. What time of day they take flight. Using these insights as clues, you can begin formulating your strategy. If you spot a group of hens roosting in a tree, for example, it might be worth setting up a decoy or two in that area during daylight hours.
A small team (of hunters) will also increase your odds: If one person spots a turkey while scouting, he or she can alert others who are nearby. This way everyone has an opportunity to shoot. Finally, calling is key when it comes to turkey hunting; by mimicking sounds that turkeys make naturally (like peeping), you can lure them into range so they’re easier targets for hunters with guns.