March Turkey Madness: Here’s how to take everything you have learned by watching the NCAA tournament and transition basketball tactics to get a gobbler.
March Madness means different things to different people. For some, it means basketball 24 hours a day, for others it means that turkey season is just around the corner. But, you can actually use one to help the other; check out these ways to use basketball tactics to get a gobbler this spring.
Basketball coaches and players spend countless hours watching film of the teams they are going to face in the NCAA tournament. This is one of the biggest advantages they can get, because they can study and see how the opposing team likes to work.
You can do this exact same thing with your turkeys. Of course, to study film you have to have some kind of footage of the turkeys you are hoping to hunt, or of other turkeys in the area. This is where trail cameras come in. After that the rest is easy, just sit back and enjoy; watch what they do, which direction the gobblers come and go from; and any other helpful information you can use to your advantage.
Just because you have been turkey hunting before doesn’t mean that you don’t need to think about and plan out your hunt. Each basketball game is different. A team chooses to strategize because they faced a particular team during the regular season; so why wouldn’t you do that with turkeys? It is good to be flexible, but to go into the woods with no plan at all is just setting yourself up for a long, empty-handed walk back to the truck.
The Tip Off
The tip-off is the starting play in a basketball game; the team who gets possession of the ball during the tip-off gets to start the game at their own pace, and has a good a chance of scoring first. While turkey hunting, your set-up in regards to the roost is your tip-off.
Pick a good location where you can see, and hear the birds and you have the upper hand; pick a bad place and the turkeys either spot you or just fly in the other direction, then you spend the rest of the hunt playing catch up.
Offense scores points in basketball, and kills gobblers in turkey hunting. Offense is taking every opportunity you can to get closer to the kill shot. Having a good set-up, decoys, and knowing how to use turkey calls make up a good offense and will help you to score a longbeard or two this spring.
The often misquoted line from Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant Jr. says, “Offense sells tickets; defense wins championships.” That statement applies just as much to basketball and turkey hunting as it did to football when he said it. All the calling is great but if you don’t have a good blind, with good camouflage, you will be seen and busted long before you get the chance to take the shot.
Rebounds are one of the biggest aspects of a basketball game, they determine who has the advantage after a missed shot. The same holds true for turkey hunting; it can be after a missed shot or after you are spotted by a turkey. You can give up and head home for the day, or you can change your strategy and get the upper hand while the turkey is under stress.
Everyone loves a buzzer beater shot in basketball; the last second lob thrown up in hopes of hitting a shot to give your team the win. Sometimes we need to go for the buzzer beater a little more when turkey hunting.
All too often I see or hear of people sitting in their blind, trying to call turkeys across a field as the sun sets on them and the hunt ends just like that. Don’t take the loss sitting down; if you are running out of time you have to do something about it. Get up and stalk, or whatever else you think might have a possibility to work in order to come home with a gobbler, and a story.
Cutting Down the Net
Cutting down the net is the ultimate goal of every team involved the NCAA tournament. When it comes to turkey hunting, cutting up the bird is as good as it gets. When you do all of the things above to perfection and come home the victor, nothing tastes as good as biting into that wild turkey that you were able to outsmart and harvest.
The sport of hunting has more in common with all other sports than you may think. Use your sport obsession in the field!
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