This month, we will continue our three part series on spring turkey hunting. We will provide some suggestions as to what to carry in your turkey vest, discuss the importance of decoys and proper set up, and we will give you some field tactics to help you become more successful.
Vest Contents –
Get a vest that has plenty of pockets and attached seat cushion. The outside pockets should contain items used frequently during your hunt; turkey & locator calls, facemask, gloves, topo map & GPS.
Ø Calls – turkey and locator
Ø Decoys – store in back pouch
Ø Facemask & gloves
Ø Folding saw & ratchet cutters – use to trim branches on set up tree
Ø Trail markers – mark path to pre-chosen set up area when dark
Ø Orange flagging
Ø Compass, Topo maps, GPS
Ø Water, T.P. and Cough drops
Ø Rain gear
Ø Hand held radio and headlamp flashlight
Ø License, pen & twist tie – for tagging your bird
Decoys & Set-up
I like to use a three decoy spread; Jake, alert hen and feeding hen. I set my jake decoy 12 yards out and to my left. (Left hand shooters set to right). I place the hen decoys no further than 20 yards in front of my chosen set up tree. I use my folding saw and ratchet cutters to cut branches to create a ground blind. Just enough to break up my outline. Also, cut away low branches from set up tree for clear shooting lane. I sit facing slightly to the right of my decoy set up. This gives you a full 180 degree swing lane coverage of the shooting zone.
Note: Mature gobblers do not like jakes hanging around hens and will come in and charge the jake decoy. This gives you a nice close shot at a gobbler.
Ø Use owl & coyote locator calls in early am or dusk. Use crow call mid-day.
Ø Turkeys have tremendous hearing. Use that to your advantage. They, as we, are two legged creatures. In the woods, walk like a turkey. Take small steps.
Scratch in the leaves with your feet. Use you hat and beat slightly against
your leg to sound like a turkey flexing its wings. Use you mouth call to
make the soft PUTT call as you walk. These are things turkeys do as they
travel through the woods.
Ø Stop and call (yelp) every 25 – 30 yards. Also, use your binoculars to spot
birds that may be way ahead of you. Before you make your call, look for a
set up tree. You just may trigger a nearby Tom and you will have to sit
down and be ready quickly.
Ø Look for possible roost sites; significant droppings and feathers. This would be a great area to set up for evening or early morning hunt. Your set up should be a minimum of 100 yards from the roosting area as to not to spook birds.
Ø Do not "over call" if you get a response gobble. This is the biggest error turkey hunters make. Remember, the natural process is for the tom to call the hen(s) to him. We are reversing the process by trying to get the tom to come to the hen (us). When you get a responding to gobble, call once more facing away from where you heard the gobble. Then shut up. He may continue to gobble or he just may come in silently. Be sure to have your gun mounted and ready to shoot. Last thing. DO NOT MOVE. Turkeys will spot that and your busted!
Ø If you see turkeys at a distance in an open area, watch to see where they move as they feed and where they enter and leave the area. Note the time of day. You can use that to your advantage in setting up an ambush point.
Well, we hope these tips give you some ammunition for your turkey hunt this spring. Next time we will discuss late season tactics, field safety and preparation for the table and taxidermist. If you would like complete detailed information on spring turkey hunting, you can go to my web site, www.huntsmartpro.com. Click on the turkey hunting video "What You Need To Bag That Springtime Gobbler". Click on the buy tab and purchase with credit card. See you next month!