One thing is for sure with fall turkey hunting, it allows us to bring home dinner for Thanksgiving if we’re successful.
If you have never been turkey hunting in the fall, you are not alone. Even the most hardcore turkey hunters only hunt in the spring.
Some states do not allow fall turkey hunting, but many times, people just don’t find it as satisfying as calling in the birds during the spring mating season. But mark my words, the spring mating season should have left you with flocks of summer poults that are now young turkeys giving you an advantage coming this fall turkey hunting season.
If you want to bring home the bacon, or in this case the turkey this fall, here are some tricks to get the job done.
Use of trail cameras
No, they are not just for deer. Trail cameras are one of the most helpful scouting tools when it comes to hunters being successful. If your state allows you to bait, a good idea is to use corn through the summer to monitor your turkey flocks.
Turkeys, like deer, spend a lot of time in your food plots as well. If you have a time lapse option on your camera you may be able to use that to capture the morning and evening pictures of an entire field that you believe turkeys are using.
When using the trail camera, remember you are trying to capture turkeys and not deer. Turkeys are much smaller than deer so you must adjust your trail camera accordingly.
We place the majority of our trail cameras at a height between 20-30″. We also find a hillside useful when distance on trail cameras is limited. Give it a little elevation to help capture more ground.
The scare tactic
This tactic is one to add to the toolbox for when you already have a flock located. In the fall, the young turkeys are still trying to talk like adults and just aren’t fully developed into a yelp or cluck yet. The sound they make it called a kee-kee or kee-kee run. This sound is often made by a young turkey who has lost its mother and is looking to regroup.
Knowing this, sometimes you can scare and separate a flock of turkeys. As they disperse, you can set up and begin using the kee-kee run call. Many times this will bring back hens to your location in search of the young, lost turkey that you are portraying. If done correctly, you can capitalize on the situation and be successful.
Take to the treestand
How many turkey hunting stories have you heard in which the hunter is using a treestand to hunt? I would assume very few. While deer hunting in the fall from my stand, I often fill my turkey tag.
I always bring a turkey call in the woods with me if turkey are legal in the state that I am hunting in the fall. As I walk to and from my stand, I give a few soft yelps or clucks on my mouth call. This helps me do two things: I can cover the noise I create when walking to try to fool any deer I bump into thinking I am a turkey; and I can also attract nearby turkeys should they be in the area.
Already this year in Maryland I have had a turkey come into my stand, however there is no fall season where I hunt. When I last deer hunted in Missouri, I called in a flock of turkeys from the treestand. Since I was able to legally shoot turkeys in Missouri, I was able to get a shot at one.
Turkey hunting can be a blast, mostly due to the fact that turkeys are very vocal animals. Unlike deer, their sense of smell is not as strong as their eyesight. Using a treestand can be beneficial, but always remember that a turkey can spot movement in a tree very quickly.
Whatever tactics you choose this fall, be sure to enjoy your time in the woods. Fall turkey hunting is a great time to introduce young and new hunters to the sport. Often times in the fall with a decent hatch, finding flocks of turkeys can be slightly easier than in the spring.