A successful turkey hunt can be one of the most difficult but fun and fulfilling hunts you can ever have.
There are many elements that play into ensuring a successful turkey hunt.
While there is no way to guarantee success, taking a few important steps can help insure your best chances of bagging a bird.
Scouting is the most important aspect of a successful turkey hunt. Scouting should take place virtually all year long and especially in the few months preceding the season. While wild turkey’s patterns will remain similar from year to year, their specific eating and roosting patterns will change.
To increase your chances of being set up in the right place for success, you need to scout. Find out where the turkeys are roosting, what time of day they are feeding, and what direction they usually fly towards. Knowledge like this not only helps to plan out your hunts, it can helps you strategize your season and build blinds, which brings me to the second point.
2. Spend Time on Your Blinds
No matter what type of blind you choose to use, you need to spend time setting it up and preparing for the season. Use your pre-season scouting to find the best place to build or set up your blind, and then make sure you do the best job you can of making the blind blend in with its’ surroundings. Turkeys have impeccable vision, and if something seems different or out of place, they will generally avoid it.
If your idea of spending time working on your blind is to open the box and set up your brand new pop-up blind in the field on opening day, you may not have much success. But if you choose to use a pop-up blind, cut some branches and place them around the edges to give it natural cover. Put as much cover as possible so that you cannot tell the blind exists. If you can’t see it, chances are, they can’t see it.
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3. Practice Your Calling
Turkey calls are a huge part of turkey hunting. Work on them in the weeks and months before the season starts. Make it so that you don’t have to look at your calls to be able to play them to perfection. Looking down to see if you are holding your call the right way can be the difference between a successful hunt and the one that got away. Practice ensures the latter doesn’t happen to you.
4. Practice Your Shots
Whether you are turkey hunting with a shotgun or a bow, practice shooting from different angles. When the time comes, you will be able to confidently make the shot.
When I first started turkey hunting, I missed a shot on a bird because I had never shot left handed. I had a clear and perfect shot left handed, but I had never practiced how to do it. As I tried to move to get a normal, right handed shot, I spooked the bird and he disappeared. After that I went and practiced shooting from both sides and in all positions, standing, kneeling, sitting, laying, and a few in-between. The next time was a success.
5. Be Willing To Risk It All
Turkeys are wild animals; they don’t play by your rules. No matter how much scouting, planning, and practicing you do, sometimes they are just not going to do what you want. There will be times when it’s best to stick to your plan and stay in your blind—maybe call and wait it out. But sometimes you have to risk it all and go for the birds.
This might mean moving to a different blind, or using a run-and-gun method, or even possibly taking extreme measures to bring home the bird. I had a hunt a few years ago with a friend that ended with me belly crawling across an open field to get a shot on a turkey. It was a big risk: he could have easily spotted me and been gone before I ever got close.
But my risk paid off and I was rewarded with a nice gobbler and a fun story.
What do you think? Any tips you would add to this mix to guarantee a successful turkey hunt? Let me know in the comments below.