Muscle memory can play a huge part in the success of your turkey season. Here are 6 turkey hunting preparations you can start training your muscles for today.
Muscle memory, or memorizing motor skills, can take an average hunter and turn them into an expert. The best thing about muscle memory is that anyone can do it. All it takes is practice and repetition to train your muscles to react instinctively in a given situation.
With turkey hunting, the easiest way to get busted by a turkey is movement. That means the less you move the better. Check out these six turkey hunting preparations below to see how muscle memory can actually help you move less and bag more birds.
1. Sitting Still
Sitting still seems like something that doesn't really need to be addressed but you will find it is actually a quite difficult task. Use the time before the season starts to figure out how it is easiest for you to sit completely still for long amounts of time. For some it will be sitting in a chair, others might like to lean up against a tree, and some hunters may prefer to stand rather than sit at all. As long as you can remain motionless it will probably work.
Another big aspect of this point is not just muscle memory but also mentally training yourself. If you hear something your first instinct is going to be to turn and look at it, but when turkey hunting that small movement can end your hunt. You have to train yourself to wait and turn and look slowly. This can be practiced in the woods or just at home in a chair, but you are basically training yourself to overcome your instincts and wait instead of instantly searching for the source of the sound.
2. Walking Slowly
Walking, and moving slowly can be just as challenging as sitting still. If you are going to be doing any movement, or stalking while in the turkey woods, you need to learn how to move very slowly and quietly.
When walking while turkey hunting the best way to move is excruciatingly slowly. This enables you to scan the area you are hunting while moving, and if you are moving slowly enough, you may just spot the gobblers before they spot you. Moving this slowly takes practice; one step at a time, making sure that you have solid footing and with minimal sound before picking up the other. The more you practice this the better you will be at moving slowly and sure-footedly while never looking down at the ground.
3. Practice Calls Without Looking
Learning to play your turkey calls by muscle memory alone is one of the best things you can do to help your chances in the turkey woods. By never taking your eyes off of the birds you are trying to call you can read their reactions much easier, and this allows you to better determine what type of calling to use. The best thing about this is that developing your muscle memory is as simple as practicing your calls over and over.
4. Learn Where Gear is Located
Taking muscle memory with your turkey calls to the next level is to learn exactly where your gear is located. Whether you use a turkey vest, a carrying case, or any other form to carry your turkey calls into the woods learn exactly where everything is located. Being able to get to items in your vest silently and without having to move your head to look at them can be the difference between turkey dinner and being busted.
I personally use a box to carry my calls; it offers me more protection for my calls and I know that they are in the exact same place every time I reach for them. The choice is yours, just practice it until you can, without taking your eyes off of a gobbler in the field, reach down and pick up a new call and play it.
5. Getting Your Weapon Ready
Getting your weapon ready is where most people get busted when turkey hunting. Whether you are using a shotgun or a bow, most of us don't sit with a gun to our shoulder or our bow at full draw for the entire hunt. Taking a break and setting your gun down is fine, as long as you know how to get the weapon ready to fire quickly and stealthily. This is something you should practice from many different positions, not just sitting in your favorite hunting chair. Practice raising your gun or bow to shoot with both sides of the body and from any angle. You would be surprised how much you will appreciate this when a tricky situation comes up in the field.
6. Shoot and Reload
The initial shot and then the follow-up should not be overlooked when it comes to turkey hunting. This is something I recommend you actually take to the range to practice. After you slowly get your weapon to the ready position, make sure you make the best possible shot. Then, as quickly as possible, reload your weapon and reacquire your target. If you somehow miss the first time you may get another shot if you are quick enough.
These are just a few of the things you can do to prepare yourself for turkey season, but whatever you do the biggest part of muscle memory is practicing the same movements over and over. Even if the movement seems minute and unimportant, it is vital that you practice every movement just like you want it to happen during the hunt.
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