Friday, January 21, 2011

Top Nine Turkey Hunting Tips!

© 2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

The Best Tips for Hunting Turkeys!

With Wild Turkey season quickly approaching, I scoured the Internet for the best tips for turkey hunting. This is the top ten tips for turkey hunting. I have set them up in the order I think you should consider them. If you have a favorite tip that’s not included, please let me know, and we will put all the new tips in the Turkey Hunting Tips II post!

Eastern Photo Credit: WL McCoy
Tip #1: Know your Shotgun
For those of you using a shotgun, pattern it. Know the pattern, know where it is, know where to aim on a relatively static target so that the majority of the pellets strike the head and neck area, with few if any hitting the bird's body. It’s no fun biting into a lead, iron, or tungsten pellet.

Tip #2: Turkey Eyesight and Camouflage
Hawks have sharp eyes. So do turkeys! A small movement at the wrong time, a misplaced item, (like an uncamouflaged gun barrel), even the broken end of a branch are enough for any turkey to key in on you and your setup. You have to learn to camouflage yourself well. Turkeys are very good at spotting hunters, therefore full camouflage including a face net will even up the odds, and a good setup, preferably in the shade, will improve them.

Osceola Image Credit: CL Evans
Tip #3: Find the Toms
Finding a good location is the single most important factor for a great turkey hunting experience. If you are also a deer hunter, you know the importance of scouting and preparation. Hunting turkey requires the same commitment. Scout and find where your Toms are feeding and strutting. Whenever possible, find where Gobblers are roosting in the evening. Like all fowl, they will be very fussy as they roost. Toms will “cackle” before they fly up to roost at dusk, and then fuss for a few moments before settling in.

Tip #4: Setting up for Gobblers
Once you know where they are, it’s time to set-up. Remember that where you locate yourself should not only conceal you, but allow you to see what they are up to. Done early enough, a blind will allow you to position yourself in a convenient and effective position. Remember that turkeys will shun an area that has been recently disturbed! Give them time to acclimate to the new object. A large tree or stump will do just as well in breaking up your outline and helping you avoid the dreaded silhouette. Set up with your back to the tree, and position yourself in such a way that your off shoulder is towards the anticipated direction that you expect the birds to come in from.

Rio Grande Image Credit: TwoTom
Tip #5: Get In! Quietly...
The morning of the hunt, stealthily approach and get settled into your hide. Setup as close to the roost tree as you can, without alerting the gobblers. If you can setup within a hundred yards, you will be in an excellent position to ambush a turkey. As dawn breaks, use the hen yelp to entice a Tom. Remember, they are all waking up! Nice and easy is the key. Once he answers, keep up the conversation at his pace. That brings us to…

Tip #6: Learn to Use Different Calls
Turkeys can be instigated to gobble out of shock! A Tom Turkey will “shock gobble” at anything from a dog barking, to train whistle, a hawks screech, or even a door slam! Use a “locator call” to figure out where ol’ Tom Turkey is roosting, or in the mid morning to see where he might be off too. Once you’re all set up, switch to your other calls. Learn to use a box call (Albert Rasch Reviews Quaker Boy Typhoon Turkey Call), a slate, and if you can, a mouth call. Practice, practice, practice! Versatility is the key, and sounding like several different birds might just be the assurances that gobbler need!

Merriam's Image Credit: Alice Outwater
Tip #7: Use a Decoy
A decoy is a great distraction that will work for you and lure a wily ol’ turkey into range. You can use a single decoy or multiple ones, depending on your setup. Scott Croner of Nebraska Hunting Outfitters uses decoys in his quest for Merriam’s Turkey. He says, “Use decoys near the edge of cover close to a clearing. Try to find a raised spot that is close by cover, but not in it. If you make it seem as though a turkey is going into cover, the Tom may be more motivated to get closer and see what’s going on!” Croner adds,”Remember to set your decoys up at least 15 yards away, but no further than 30. Judge by the terrain you’re in and set up accordingly.”

Tip #8: Change Your Tactics as the Season Progresses
As hens get bred and start to lay, they will sit on their nests. Use this knowledge to your advantage. Toms will be about looking for unattached hens; set up and call them in.

Gould's Image Credit: Ornitholoco
Tip #9: Safety
Do not wear anything red, white, or blue! That’s the colors of a gobbler’s noggin! Two things may happen. You will be mistaken for a gobble, or another gobbler may decide to flog you. Never carry decoys on your back, unless covered with a blaze orange safety vest! Same goes for the Wild Turkey you harvested; slip a safety vest over it too! Nothing worse than a load of bird shot in your back!

Well fellow hunters, those are Albert's Top Nine Turkey Hunting Tips!  What should the Tenth one be?

Have fun and enjoy your time in the woods!

Related Posts:
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles: Hunting Merriam's Turkeys: Hints and How-to's
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles: Hunting Trophy Turkey: Merriam's in Nebraska
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles: The Range Reviews: Quaker Boy Typhoon Turkey Call

Best Regards,
Albert “Afghanus” Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
In Afghanistan


Trey said...

#10- Make sure that you are comfortable when you set up. It could be a long wait that requires you to remain very still for longer than you anticipate!

Justin said...

Great tips!! I've messed around with turkey hunting for a year or two, but the coming spring I plan on taking it more serious. These tips just reassured me I was on the right path and manner of thinking. Thanks!!

Nebraska Hunting Company said...


Thanks for the hat tip! Those are great tips, but as Trey said #10 should be "Be ready to sit still for a long time!"

All the best!
Scott Croner, Merriam's Turkey Hunting

Albert A Rasch said...

Thanks for the input guys!

Best regards,
Albert “Afghanus” Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
How to Smoke Fish