Get ready to bag some birds with these quick spring turkey hunting tips.
Wild turkeys can make for some of the most fun and challenging hunting there is. There are many trusted tactics and techniques to help you bring in a tom, but these quick and easy-to-remember tips will put the odds in your favor for spring turkey season.
If you take any tip away from this list, it should be this one. Get out in the woods and listen. Don’t call, but get up early and find where they roost.
2. Roost a bird
Once you consistently find early-morning gobblers, start putting them to bed. As your season gets closer, it’s even more important to have idea of patterns the turkeys around you are following. When you can roost a bird, you know where to hunt the next morning.
3. Find the hens
Find the hens and you’ll find the toms. If you can find where hens are feeding, you’re right where the toms are going to be strutting.
4. Shock and awe
Use shock gobbles to help you find toms. There are a few good ways to shock a tom into gobbling, but my favorite is to slam my truck door. If that doesn’t work, see my next tip.
5. Use an Owl hooter
If you hunt pressured birds or the truck-door trick doesn’t work, an owl hooter just might. Buy one and learn how to use it.
6. Less is more
It’s really easy for turkey hunters to get caught up in the calling. This is never more true than when you have a responsive tom that gobbles with your every cluck. I’ve even found myself getting caught up and over-calling. Don’t make the same mistake. It’s easier said than done, but nothing will drive a tom mad like a hen playing hard to get. Let him think his gobbles fell on deaf ears.
7. The purr and cluck
Just don’t. This particular sound and call is made only when a hen is mad. If you want to confuse a tom and have them hang up, use this call. Now that I have that out of the way, there is one scenario to use this call. If you have a hen you’d like to keep around, this call will make her mad and likely keep her around a little longer.
8. Hens make the best decoys
Similar to the last few tips, you want to know where the hens are located, and you want to keep them around. Pure and simple, toms are looking for hens, so find the hens and a tom will eventually show up.
9. Use a diaphragm call
It’s no secret that turkeys rely on their impeccable sight. Nothing will blow a hunt faster than reaching for a call, or using a call that requires movement. Learn to operate a diaphragm call and keep it in your mouth.
10. Use more than one call
People buy turkey vests for a reason, and they come with a lot of pockets for a reason. You wouldn’t hit the lake with only one lure, so why would you limit yourself to one turkey call? You never know what a tom will respond to.
11. Use the weather
Weather patterns change bird behavior. Snow will slow down breeding behavior, but they still need to eat. Rain will work against a bird’s sight, and in my experience, they then seek open fields. Wind will do the opposite, sending them to low, wooded areas. Calm, sunny days will make for the best hunting.
12. Check your pattern
Shoot your gun to make sure it’s on target. In fact, shoot it several times with different loads. Not all loads will pattern the same with your gun, so test them all.
13. Decoy or Decoys
Based on your hunting location, make sure you’re using the right decoy setup. Where turkeys can see a good distance, use more decoys. Don’t be afraid to throw out a tom around your hens in strut zones. In thicker cover, stick to the less-is-more mentality.
14. Get aggressive
Don’t be too afraid to run and gun. If you’re within earshot range of a tom, move, get closer and use cover to your advantage.
15. Hunt in the afternoon
Some of the most productive times to hunt can be first thing in the morning or late in the evening. Definitely hunt these times, but don’t miss a chance to get out in the afternoon. Later in the season, hens will be on the nest and toms will be cruising for receptive hens.