Before you head out into the turkey woods this spring you need to check out these 6 reasons turkeys are so hard to hunt, and how to work around them.
The North American wild turkey can be one of the hardest types of game to successfully hunt. There are a number of factors that contribute to that difficulty but the truth is that most of these obstacles can be overcome.
With spring turkey season already open for many of you, you may already be facing some of these reasons. Now you will have a better idea of what to do about it.
Click through the slideshow to find out what you can do to outsmart the turkeys this season.
Problem 1 – Vision
Wild turkeys are probably most known for their extraordinary vision. When they are on alert and scanning, they can spot something as slight as you blinking your eyes from 60 or more yards away. This problem is one that is always going to be present, so we as hunters are always looking for ways to overcome it.
Solution 1 – Camouflage or Muscle Memory
To overcome vision you must disappear. If your camouflage is good enough that you completely disappear, then you can eliminate the sight advantage that the turkeys have over you. This can come in many forms; better gear that matches your environment, face-paint, full ghillie suit, or any other form of camouflage you choose to employ.
Another major part of overcoming a gobbler’s keen eyesight is to work on your muscle memory. The more tasks you can learn to complete by muscle memory alone the less movement your body, head, and eyes have to do. This eliminates movement and greatly reduces the chances of you being spotted by a gobbler.
Problem 2 – Good Memory
Some people call it memory, some call it “educated turkeys;” after time, turkeys can learn what your calls sound like and instead of coming in to your calling, they will turn and head the other way.
Solution 2 – Vary Your Calls
Varying your calls is a great way to ensure that turkeys don’t become overly educated. If you do the same yelp on the same box call every single time you walk into the woods you will find that your birds will become educated rather quickly. Learn as many different calls as possible and invest in a wide variety of turkey calls. This will insure that whatever the hunt requires, you will have a call in your arsenal that can do the trick.
Problem 3 – Weapon Restrictions
This is a problem for a lot of young and beginning turkey hunters; especially those who are coming from a background of only hunting with a rifle. With most places limiting the hunting of wild turkeys to a shotgun or bow, many hunters find the range that they must get in to be too close or too different from what they have experienced in the past.
Solution 3 – Use A Blind
This problem is one that has a quick and easy solution. Use a turkey blind. What kind is up to you; you can go as simple as a homemade ground blind to something new and innovative like the GhostBlind. Whatever option you choose, just make sure that you do your scouting and pick a good starting point.
Decoys are also a great option when you are hunting from a blind. Using decoys takes the focus off of your calling and gives the turkeys something to look at when coming towards you. This can help give you a little more room for error in calling, and in movement.
Problem 4 – Gobblers Won’t Leave Hens
This is one of the biggest problems that even experienced hunters have a hard time overcoming. You have turkeys that you can see but the gobblers and hens are already joined together in one group. This is a problem because once they are together it is very difficult to get them to separate.
Solution 4 – Call The Hens
I know, I know, in most states you cannot hunt turkey hens. What I am saying is strategize like you are hunting the hens. They are more likely to respond to calling or decoys than the toms are so if you hunt the hens the gobblers will likely follow. Use calls to try to get the hens angry or curious and if you can get them headed in your direction, get ready to take the shot on the longbeards behind them.
Problem 5 – Decoys Are Not Working
Sometimes decoys simply don’t work. Maybe they are not realistic enough, maybe you have them set up wrong, and maybe the turkeys you are hunting are just anti-social. For whatever reason, we all have those days where a turkey just will not come to a decoy and that is definitely a problem.
Solution 5 – Stalk or Buy New Decoys
You have a couple of options to solve this problem. First, you can go buy new decoys. There are always new decoys on the market that are better and more realistic than they were last year. Many of these are now incorporating mechanical movement which has always been one of the biggest downfalls of decoys.
The other option is to forgo your blind and go stalking. This option is great because you can still leave your decoys set up, go stalking, and then slowly work your way around the property and back to your original setup. If you don’t run into any turkeys before then they may be waiting for you at your decoys when you return.
Problem 6 – They Are Unpredictable
No matter how much research you do and time you spend scouting, you will never be able to completely predict a wild animal. Turkeys may fly down from the roost at 8 a.m. every day for a month and then on opening day wait until 10:30, or they may feed in a field and then halfway through a season decide to feed on the other side of the river. These are things that always keep us on our toes and guessing.
Solution 6 – Keep Hunting
This is a problem only if you let it become one. Every hunter knows and learns that hunting is not an exact science. There are things, such as the tips in this slideshow, that will help you along the way and will help improve your chances of hunting success but a true outdoorsman knows to just enjoy the time in the woods and take every experience as a lesson that you can apply next time out.
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