Thinking of getting into turkey hunting? If so, turkey hunting is one of the most rewarding kinds of hunting but it does require some skills as turkey hunting can get really tricky. Turkeys see in full color and their eyes won’t miss the slightest movement.
Let’s take a look at some great turkey hunting tips and tricks for beginners…
1) Do your homework before hunting.
This is the most important tip when it comes to turkey hunting: you need to scout out the hunting area beforehand and before the season actually starts.
Research into your turkey hunting area should include looking for turkey roosts in trees. Normally, a group of turkeys will have two or more different roosting spots and they will move from one spot to the other, but they usually have a favorite roosting spot. The key is to find where this favorite roosting spot is as this is where you will strike gold.
Scouting your hunting area can be done at any time of the year, but it is always better to do it just before your local wild turkey hunting season begins. The closer to the start of the hunting season, the better because you will be more likely to find an active roost where the turkeys will still be when you start to hunt.
So, how exactly do you look for a roosting site? Well, there are a number of things you need to look out for.
Firstly, turkeys like roosting places that offer them plenty of protection from the cold wind. They really do not like being exposed to wind and the cold, and a sheltered area is therefore the logical place to start looking.
Secondly, turkeys like big and sturdy trees that have many branches. Turkeys usually have a good instinct as to what is a good tree and what is not, so bear this in mind.
Thirdly, turkeys love the sunlight and enjoy lying out in the sun. Trees that aren’t to much shaded by other trees or a hill would be a good place to look.
Finally, turkeys like to roost close to water and food sources, so you should try to look for trees nearby these sources. By their very nature, turkeys are quite lazy and don’t enjoy roaming too far to find food and water.
When it comes to determining whether or not the roost is active, you need to look for telltale signs, such as turkey droppings, fresh tracks, feather molts, and sometimes scratches in the sand and dirt.
When you have pinpointed a few possible trees that could have turkey roosts in them, try to play a crow or an owl call from your phone. It is best to do this just after the sun has set as this is when these birds are most active. If there is a nearby roost, the turkeys will soon appear and you have hit the jackpot.
We recommend not returning to an active roost until you are ready to start hunting there as if you visit the site regularly, the turkeys will notice and they will be tempted to move to another roost.
2) Go turkey hunting just before sunset.
There is a very good reason to go turkey hunting just before sunset: turkeys are nervous and skittish birds and are known to run away at the drop of a hat. This can make it difficult to hunt one down.
However, just before sunset and during the night, they return to their roosting places where they feel safe and secure. This makes them drop their guards and have a false sense of security, making it the perfect time to hunt.
3) Use turkey calls.
Even if you have managed to locate a turkey roost, it can still be tricky trying to hunt one down.
You will notice that the most experienced turkey hunters use additional tools for this kind of hunting, and one of them is a digital turkey call that you can easily download from the internet (e.g. YouTube, etc). Make sure that your State laws allow the use of electronic callers.
These experienced turkey hunters know that turkeys do not have only one single call: they have a call for absolutely everything. They have a different call for feeding, happiness, locating, roosting, challenging other turkeys, mating and much more. If you take the time to listen to each of these calls, you will know that they are all distinctly different and can even vary according to where you are situated in the country, the sex of the turkey and the species of the wild turkey.
This can seem overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. As long as you make it your mission to learn one or two turkey calls, you have made a good start. Try to research a call to download that you know will motivate the turkey to move away and out into the open. For example, a warning call could prompt the turkey to move from the roosting spot and into a safer place. This is when you will be able to take your shot.
Very often, it is trial and error, but once you find something that works for you, you will be good to go.
4) Use decoys.
If you have hunted turkeys before, you will know that you don’t necessarily need to use decoys to be successful. However, they do help and they greatly increase your chances of success.
We can therefore recommend using either a male turkey decoy or a hen decoy if it is quite early on in the season. This will create jealousy in a male turkey and will encourage him to move towards the decoy.
As the hunting season progresses, you can opt for just a couple of hens as the males will be no longer looking for mates.
At the end of the hunting season, wild turkeys are normally tired and they don’t usually fight off other males. In this case, you may want to buy a feather system to add to your decoy. These are available at your local hunting store and are incredibly effective as they make the turkey believe that it is an actual bird.
In the end
You have to go out and enjoy the outing, if you are not out and about you won’t get your turkey. When you go home empty hand there will always be another day or season but a lasting memory when done with friends. Happy huntings.