Be a Better Turkey Hunter
Russ Chastain 04.20.15
All hunters want to be better at what they do, and turkey hunting is one of the toughest forms of hunting there is. With the help of the NWTF, here are some tips and resources to help you become a better tom-taker.
- Shoot your shotgun at a range. Scatterguns have unique traits and you want to know right where to aim in order to hit a gobbler’s head and neck. Besides checking point of aim, be sure to determine the maximum effective range of your gun, choke, and load–and don’t exceed it.
- Practice calling – the right way. You really want to sound like a bird, and to do that you need to know what a bird sounds like.
- Don’t set up too close. When the time comes for action, you need to be able to move. The closer you are to a bird, the better his chances of busting you when you move your gun to shoot. When he starts coming, get ready and let him close the distance.
- Know when to walk away. If a bird gobbles but doesn’t come to your calls, you might need to leave the area and try to find another gobbler. Later in the day, when he and the hens may have grown weary of one another, go back and give him another try.
- And know when to run. After fast-walking the better part of a mile to get near a vocal roosted tom, he started heading away from me just as I got set up. I knew which way he was going, so I took off at a trot to get ahead of him. I managed to get in place just in time to tick him off with a gobble and take him home.
- Hunt in the open. Turkeys will stick to thickets at times, but they love open areas for feeding, strutting, and socializing. Expect them to favor open areas more than thick ones–for the most part.
- Be safe with decoys. Keep them covered while transporting them and take measures to ensure that nobody’s stalking them when you decide to pick them up.
- Stay safe after you bag a bird. If you’re on public land or have any reason to believe there may be other hunters in your area, don’t just toss the bird over your shoulder and go. Wrap it up, tie orange flagging to it, or obscure it somehow. You don’t want some trigger-happy goober re-shooting your bird while you’re holding it.