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How to Forget What You’ve Been Taught and Actually Be Successful Turkey Hunting

Has it been a tough turkey season? Have you tried everything and are still not successful turkey hunting this year? It’s time you change your tactics to bag your Tom.

Forget what you know about successful turkey hunting and think out of the box to bag your next turkey. Sitting in the turkey woods doing everything by the book was getting me nowhere.

I was careful not to call too often, I was out of the woods by nine, and did not bother hunting in the rain. It wasn’t until I broke with tradition that I became more successful turkey hunting. Now I am the guy who consistently kills a Tom.

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I found to be more successful turkey hunting, I needed to call more often.

Each time I came back empty handed, the first thing out of the old timers mouth was that I called too often. I knew that just wasn’t the case; I had hunted with these old timers before and if anything I called less than they did.

I was very frustrated, and it seemed crazy to me to just sit there doing nothing when I own every call known to man. It finally dawned on me that the old timers were empty handed too. With nothing to lose, I decided to simply have a conversation with a Tom as if I were a lonely hen.

At daylight, I heard my first gobble. I answered back quickly and didn’t let up. I tried to make my calls sound excited and giddy. Of course, there were times of silence when I would play hard to get, but the closer he came the more excited I tried to sound.

I used the same diaphragm call the entire time. It seemed like the conversation went on forever, but in reality, fifteen minutes later I was loading a turkey in the truck. I was learning that more successful turkey hunting meant forgetting what I know.

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Turkey move all day, invite one for lunch.

The rule of the lease is if it hasn’t happened by nine, it is not going to.  You hear this a lot in Texas where it is hot so early in the day. I would enjoy the sunrise, hunt until nine, and then head to the local café to swap stories with the rest of the guys. It had been this way for years. 

Hunting by myself, one day I decided to stay a little later than normal. I knew the Tom’s were henned up but decided to stay. I had been sitting in the same spot since sunrise and calling every 20 minutes just to keep from falling asleep.

To my surprise, at 11:30 a.m. I got an answer. This Tom was on a mission; a couple of quick yelps, and he was there. He crossed the fence and instantly went into a full strut.

The Stoeger barked, and it was over that quick. Contrary to my belief, a Tom will go carousing mid-morning, after the hen goes to the nest. I admit it is a long sit, and I still get laughed for staying so long, but the results speak for themselves.

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A little rain can be a good thing.

My grandfather used to tell me even a chicken has enough sense to get out of the rain; that is good advice if your planting wheat. For years, I thought that also applied to turkey, in reality, it depends on when the rain starts.

If turkey are still on the roost when the rain hits they will delay flying down, but the game changes if the rain starts after they fly down. If the turkey is on the ground when the rain starts, they will wait it out in the woods. After the rain has stopped, they will head to open fields to shake off the rain.

Our lease east of Olney, Texas has it’s fair share of turkey habitat, but it has only one field they seem to use to shake off the rain. I never knew turkey did this, until one day I was walking back to the truck and noticed a group of turkey in the field shaking like dogs.

The turkey had waited for the shower out in the woods, and once the rain stopped moved to the field to shake the off the water. After they had dried off, they worked their way back across a pond dam and crossed into the neighboring property.

Knowing this, the next rain shower I set up an ambush just past the pond dam. With a couple decoys just off their approach and a few timely calls, they came in on a string. Since then, this is still my go to place after a rain.

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If you want to be more successful turkey hunting and you’re doing everything by the book, try stepping out of your comfort zone and forget what you know for a day. You might be surprised to see a Tom in your area likes hens that talk too much, likes to mess around at lunch, or stays out in the rain!

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How to Forget What You’ve Been Taught and Actually Be Successful Turkey Hunting