In states like Arkansas, Idaho and Minnesota, turkey hunts are a much-anticipated herald of spring. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy a safe and successful hunt.
- Be an early bird. Arriving at your chosen hunting spot in the wee hours of the morning ensures you’ll be there to hear the first call of the hens. Plus, if the area isn’t as flush with game as you hoped, you’ll still have time to pick a different spot.
- Patience is rewarded. Give the area at least 30 minutes before moving on. And, don’t make sudden movements like raising your gun too quickly, which can startle the birds and give them a chance to flee.
- Carry plenty of calls. It’s good to have different types of calls at your disposal including a gobble call, but for safety reasons be very careful when using a gobbler on public lands.
- Don’t call too much. Plenty of calls are a great thing, but using them too frequently is not. Birds can be turned off by excessive calling, especially at the roost tree.
- Play hard to get. Make the gobbler want to come to you. If you get a bird gobbling, let them gobble once or twice before calling again.
- Camo up. Wear camo from your nose to your toes. Try to match the pattern with the foliage and forest type, and always wear a head net or face paint. Be aware of that shiny watch or gun barrel or a stock that glints in the sun!
- Position your turkey decoys properly. Place decoys at a 45-degree angle from the hunter on the opposite side of where you think the gobbler will come in from. Decoys can be great assets when used correctly.
- Ready, aim, fire.To the inexperienced, missing a big target like a turkey at 30 yards seems almost impossible, but it happens and often to veteran hunters as well as beginners. Pattern your shotgun before you go, and be aware that most guns will shoot somewhat high. For that reason, aim just where the neck meets the breast, and never shoot when the bird is moving.
- Prospect for birds. When the birds are already on the ground, it’s good to “prospect” for birds by walking ridges and doing some light calling. When you do hear a gobble, move as close to his position as you can. When you’re within 100 yards, set up and try to call again.
- Mark the evening roost.If you’re lucky enough to roost a bird in the evening, mark the spot well so you can find it in the pre-dawn light. When you return, don’t use a flashlight if you can help it, and don’t approach the tree so closely that the bird can see you.
Be sure to check with your state’s wildlife or game commission for the season’s schedule and proper licensing requirements. Want a quick reference to all states? Check out the National Wild Turkey Foundation’s 2015 Spring Hunt Guide.
And, if you’re interested in more information about hunting near or on Potlatch properties, contact a member of our team in your neck of the woods. They’ll be glad to help you find the right roost for your hunt! Gobble, gobble!