Some Quick Tips for Spring Turkey Hunting!

If fishing ‘rings your chime’ rather than turkey hunting, you might wonder when I plan to let the gobblers get some rest.  Spring hunting is winding down in some places, while starting up in others.

Turkey hunting is so much fun because you are matching wits and cunning with worthy adversaries!

 ~

Rest assured that fishing tips are coming soon.  BTW, one of the most important skills you can develop while hunting or fishing is …

Patience

Toms are usually bagged by the person who will wait —

  • for the tom to respond & come to the hunter’s call,
  • for the gobbler to move within range
  • for a clear shot 

Know Your Tom’s Habits

Left alone, turkeys have a routine.  If you can expect what the gobblers will do next, you can get into place to take advantage of their regular patterns of behavior.

Biologists tell us that most of the turkey mating takes place during the mid-morning hours.  Turkeys move into agricultural areas (fields) from their hiding places in the woods to:

  • eat,
  • strut,
  • mate, and
  • dust *

During the heat of the day, as the sun beats down on the dark feathers of the turkeys, they abandon the fields for the cool shade of the trees & woods.

By knowing this, you can situate yourself in a likely spot to surprise the hot and tired toms.

Know the Hunting Patterns in the Area 

Turkeys experience the heaviest hunting pressure from daylight until about 9 am.  They tend to breed during the mid-morning hours.

Experienced gobblers know that hunters leave hunting by noon.  Few hunters are going to sit in the heat without lunch.

Older toms are likely to lower their guard in the heat of the day.  Most hunters have left for lunch and the toms are often looking for a hen and a “quickie.”

Surprise the tom by hunting when he doesn’t expect to see you — and you can have turkey for supper!

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* Explanation of “dusting”:  …”turkeys routinely dust during the mid to late morning hours.  Look for an open area with loose soil where the birds have scratched out a “bowl” of loose dirt they can sit in and kick dust over themselves.

There are usually a lot of tracks, droppings and feathers nearby since they do spend quite a bit of time there during the middle of the day just loafing.

Turkeys are really very clean animals and dusting keeps them free of mites, ticks and lice.”   (Quoted from a fine article by Rob Ramsdale.  Click on the highlighted words to see the info.)

~

‘Thinkin’ Spring’ is used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on April 26, 2011 at 9:42 pm  Comments Off on Some Quick Tips for Spring Turkey Hunting!  
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Bagging the Hung-Up Turkey

It’s Happened to Most Hunters

Sometime during a hunt, you get a gobbler almost close enough for a shot.   But he will come so far and no further!

Your Choices

You think you might be within range of the tom.  If you take the chance, you may only wound the gobbler and your chances of recovering him are poor.

If you only scare the turkey, you will spook him and he won’t hang around for you to try to hunt him later.

Remember, a spooked turkey doesn’t forget  a close call.  He may not move to a new zip code, but he sure won’t hang around for you to try again!

Turkeys Use Their Wings to Protect Themselves from Your Pellets; Think of Those Wings As Kevlar-Covered Protection!

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Are There Any Other Possibilities?

Yes, there are.

But before I cover them, please remember one of my favorite sayings about turkey hunting:   Nothing is 100% True (100% of the Time) With Turkey Hunting!

If you can change the situation, you might bag the bird without forcing a bad shot or scaring him away.

Possibility # 1

If you let the gobbler walk away, you might be able to move closer to his new place and call him to you.

Possibility # 2

Another option is to circle the tom and get in front of him.  Then change your calls and try to get him to come to you.

Why Might These Work?

The difference between a hunter and a very successful hunter is understanding turkey behavior.

Some hunters use a variety of methods to call a hen.  However, a master hunter understands that hens make a variety of noises and movements.

Turkeys spend most of their day getting enough food.  While turkeys are calling for mating partners, they are not wasting time; they are also looking for food.

Turkeys expect to hear more than calls.  If he comes close and no further, he is waiting to hear other sounds that assure him that he is really heading towards a hen.

It is critical to add scratching to your calls.  But these scratches need to have a cadence (pattern):  scratch, scratch, pause, scratch.

What I’m asking you to do is think like a turkey.  Assure that hung-up gobbler that a hen is waiting for him, but she’s paused to get another bite of food!

~

‘Threesome’ Rear Window Graphic is used by permission of Restyler’s Graphics!

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 12:03 am  Comments (1)  
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More Important Turkey Hunter Behaviors

Did You Remember the Insect Repellent?

I have a personal belief that insects, flies and other small creatures are in cahoots with turkeys.  They jump into action: zeroing in on your nose, eyes or wandering up your leg at the critical moment.

Ask me how I know.

Go with the non-scented variety of bug spray.  The good news is that a turkey’s eyes are more sensitive than his nose.

Just don’t choose some scent that doesn’t occur in his world:  old spice, gardenia, vanilla.

Are You in a Good Shooting Position?

Sitting ‘straight on’ narrows your ability to get your turkey.  If you are right handed, it is better to sit a quarter to the right of the turkey you are calling.  This way,  you have a full 180 ° you can turn while getting off a shot.

If you are left-handed, sit a quarter to the left of the turkey you are calling – for the same reason.

Sitting straight-at a turkey narrows your range of firing.

Do You Concentrate on the Turkey & the Bead of Your Gun?

To shoot accurately, it is important to see both the turkey and the bead of your shotgun as you fire.   Turkeys are often missed when a hunter forgets this important step.

Remember:  The bead isn’t on the shotgun for decoration!

Are You Patient Enough?

Hunters often miss gobblers because he/she was in a hurry; rushing to take a shot from a poor position.  Take your time and let the tom move into place for a good shot — or don’t shoot.

Are You Wearing the Right Camouflage?

The ‘right camouflage’ means a pattern that fits the terrain where you are hunting.  Wear a pattern clear enough to disguise you; old and shiny camo is worthless.

Are you wearing jewelry?  Is everything not covered by camo fabric, covered by matte black?  Gobblers are looking for movement.  Jewelery, skin and shiny weapons reflect light.  Turkey eyes are about 5 times sharper than ours.

If you are fully covered in camo, then you will have the confidence to move when you must.  You will be assured enough to let the gobbler come in close;  you won’t feel the need to take just any shot because you are afraid the tom will see you!

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Darn, I’m going to miss turkeys when the season is over!

Come back for another thrilling episode!

~

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on April 19, 2011 at 12:04 am  Comments Off on More Important Turkey Hunter Behaviors  
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Important Hunter Behaviors While Going After Turkeys

Hunters may sit for hours, waiting for the right gobbler.  However, there are things that can go wrong — that will turn your sure thing into a miss.

Did you take care of these things?

Some Hunters are more Interested in the size of a Turkeys Beard (note the long tuft of hair coming out of this birds chest) and/or Spurs!

 ~

Did You Sight-In Your Shotgun?

If you don’t know what kind of pattern your shotgun shoots, you are at a real disadvantage.  You need to know the pattern at 10, 20, 30 and 40 yards.

Confidence is an important ingredient in hunting.  Only by testing the pattern with each type of shot you plan to use, will you know that you are prepared to shoot at a range of distances.

Need more info?  See:   Shotgun Shell Patterning

Have You Learned to Estimate Distances?

If you haven’t learned to “eyeball” distances when hunting,  you are at a severe disadvantage.  Successful hunting is the marriage of practice, training, luck and woodcraft.

Practice stepping off distances, so you know if that turkey is within range of your weapon!

If you have a hard time estimating distances like I do, go early and walk off a couple of important distances and set a landmark.

During the excitement of  hunting, you will have marked measurements to use for comparison.

Do You Know Where to Shoot a Turkey?

It may seem obvious, but a turkey has a small “killing zone.”  For more, specific info, go to:  Is Your Shotgun Ready?

Do You Know How to Position Yourself?

If you aren’t in a comfortable place, you will not be able to wait the long times sometimes necessary to bag a turkey.

Remember, turkeys are on the lookout for MOVEMENT.  If you start fidgeting because you are uncomfortable, some tom will see it and move on to a safer area.

Find a comfortable tree to lean against because you don’t want your muscles to tense, cramp or shake.

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Thanks for stopping by today!

Come again!

I’ll return soon with the other half of this article!

~

‘Turkey Dream 2’ used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on April 18, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments Off on Important Hunter Behaviors While Going After Turkeys  
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Turkey Hunting: The Most Dangerous Shooting Sport in America!

You may have heard that turkey hunting is very dangerous;  it’s true.   The goal of this posting is to remind you of the worst dangers.

Believe it or not, the gobbler has a daily routine. If you can figure it out, you can find a place to take advantage of his routine!

How Can Turkey Hunting be Dangerous?

Let me count the ways …. First, hunting on public lands, by its nature is more dangerous than hunting on private lands.

There are more people (probably unknown to each other) holding loaded weapons at the same time, in the same area.

Being dressed in full camo often restricts your line-of-sight.

While concentrating on our quarry, we often lose sight of what is around us.

Hunting Behaviors that Can Cause an Accident

  • Stalking turkeys, instead of calling them to you
  • Trying to ‘drive’ turkeys, as if they were deer
  • Shooting at any part of a turkey, other than the turkey’s neck or head
  • Wearing red, white or blue
  • Not knowing where other hunters are
  • Not knowing what is beyond your next shot
  • Not knowing what is between you and your next shot

An Explanation

Stalking a Turkey: The gobbler you are stalking may turn out to be another hunter with a gun aimed at you!  Or, another hunter could be watching the turkey you are stalking – and shoot you!

‘Driving’ a Turkey: Turkeys don’t respond well to this kind of pressure; few bag a turkey in this way.  However, the chances of becoming involved in a shooting are great.  Call the turkey to you.

Aim for the Gobbler’s Head or Neck: Gobblers are big and hard to kill. Know the killing zone of a turkey:  the head or neck!

Wearing Red, White or Blue: Dress like a turkey & you could be shot — instead of the turkey!

Biologists tell us that turkeys and deer are color-blind for the colors red & green. That is why you can wear blaze orange and not worry about detection.

If turkeys see you and you are in orange, they are aware of your movement, not the color!

Not Knowing Where Other Hunters Are: Things change — owners sell their property to new folks … hunters try new areas … people forget.

Not Knowing What is Beyond the Shot You’re About to Make: While hunting, you are your brother’s keeper! If we don’t watch for each other, we can create a tragic accident!

Not Knowing What is Between You and Your Next Shot: Same explanation as above!

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Tomorrow: Some Truths About Turkey Hunting

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‘1999 Minnesota Turkeys’ is used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on April 12, 2011 at 12:02 am  Comments Off on Turkey Hunting: The Most Dangerous Shooting Sport in America!  
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Outsmarting A Turkey Tom!

Turkeys move into open, agricultural areas to feed and return to the woods to roost!

~

Outsmarting a Gobbler

 

Many hunters enjoy the competition between themselves and the wily turkey.  By the time a tom reaches the age of 4 or 5, he’s had many encounters with hunters; and you can tell who won!

A seasoned gobbler has a variety of tricks to try on the poor hunter who thinks hunting turkey  is a quick process.  The truth is:  Shooting a young jake or 2-year-old tom is pretty easy — in comparison to out-foxing a mature tom.

After awhile, some hunters bypass the youngsters and concentrate on the challenge of the older gobbler.  What does it take?

Humility and a Turkey Education

Believe it or not, the tom has a daily routine.  If you can figure it out, the odds start to tilt your way.  (However, nothing is foolproof  — or 100% –with a turkey.)

Returning to a theme of an earlier posting, * a hunter needs to know:

where the turkey roosts,
where he travels,
why he is going there,
what he does when he gets there.


If a tom is not pressured or disturbed, he tends to his tasks on a fairly regular time-table.

A Typical Day for a Gobbler

Morning: He awakens, gobbles a bit and flies down to meet a hen. After mating, he wanders around a bit.  Then he heads toward his eating area and tries to get hens to go with him.

Noon-ish: He eats with his hens in a feeding area.  Then he starts to strut, drum, dust and breed until it gets too hot.  (Biologists say most of the mating takes place mid-morning.)

During the heat of the day, toms enter the woods and rest.  By 2 pm, the boys start heading back to the field for food; and they spend more time mating.

Afternoon/Evening: As dark skies take over, the tom flies or walks back to his roost.

How Will This Help?

When the hunter knows the turkey’s movement patterns, he/she can situate him/herself in a good place along the turkey’s path.

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‘Spring Turkey’ used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on April 11, 2011 at 11:35 am  Comments Off on Outsmarting A Turkey Tom!  
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When You Are Hunting a Wily Turkey Tom

A Story With a Moral

Robert, an experienced turkey hunter, shared a story that happened a few years ago.  He lived in a hilly area and could do a little hunting before going to work.

Keep Telling Yourself that a Turkey's Brain is the Size of a Walnut; After a While, Maybe You Will Even Believe it!

~

Disappearing Gobbler

Around daylight, Robert would often hear the insistent gobbling of a tom; making noise from one side of a nearby hill to the other.  By the time Robert joined the hunt, the gobbler had quieted and would not stir.

After a few mornings of calling a little and calling a lot with no response, Robert questioned if there was any turkey at all!  He tried circling, setting up near the roost, everything he could think of — but no turkey appeared.

This is War!

Robert started learning everything he could about his quarry.  Eventually, he realized what the turkey was doing.

After the turkey called his hen harem, he flew down into a glade, where he had a clear view of the hillside.  If Robert appeared, the turkey saw him and left.

If Robert wasn’t on hand, the gobbler would strut in the clearing and gather his hens for breeding.

A few days later, Robert was in the glade before daylight.  He positioned himself  about 200 yards from the turkey’s roost and waited.

As the area lightened, Robert gave 3 soft tree yelps. *  The wily turkey flew down from his roost into the clearing, looking for the hen that had called him.

And that morning, Robert bagged his turkey!

What’s Important About this Story

This story shows just how important it is to learn everything you can about your adversary.

To be successful with this difficult bird, Robert needed to know:

  • where the turkey roosted,
  • where he traveled,
  • why he was going there,
  • what he did when he got there.

Some hunters think that superb calling skills and snazzy camo wear are all you need to snare a turkey.

Robert’s story explains why understanding gobblers is more important than just about anything else!   What you wear and how you call a turkey is only important after you understand your prey!

~

PS: Hunters also say that it is important to hunt an experienced turkey in a different way or place.  Robert met the turkey where the tom didn’t expect to find him.

* Site of National Wild Turkey Federation; audio of 11 turkey calls.

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‘Woodland Splendor’ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

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Published in: on April 7, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments Off on When You Are Hunting a Wily Turkey Tom  
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Mistake # 10 That Turkey Hunters Make

When Ya Gotta Itch or Swat at Flies

There’s nothing worse than needing to scratch or swat at flies.

Gobblers are Always on the Lookout for Movement!

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In earlier posts, I’ve mentioned that turkeys are looking for movement.  Biologists have proven that turkeys are not startled by bright colors — ONLY COLORS THAT MOVE!

They’ve placed bright objects in front of these big birds. In one test, they put bright orange hats on turkey decoys. Turkeys strolled among them with no concern — unless the orange hats moved!

Biologists theorize that bright colors abound in a turkey’s world. Turkeys are used to random brights and darks in their habitat. They are only troubled by movement — not the colors.

What do You do When You Need to Move?

There comes a time when we need to scratch or chase away flies.  Since we know that toms are watching for movement, what is the best way to handle this problem?

Using your whole hand is a dead give-away.  Thus, successful hunters tell me that they only use 2 fingers to swat or itch.  There is less movement to notice.

Immediately afterwards, brush your shirt sleeve against a tree – to imitate the sound of a turkey’s wings brushing against the side of a tree (as he walks past a tree).

Remember

When you make a  sound or movement that is unusual, be sure to cover it with a sound or movement that a turkey would use.

When a turkey sees or hears something that is not right — you must allay his fears by making a turkey sound or movement.  When he cannot calm his alarm immediately, he leaves!

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

 

Published in: on April 4, 2011 at 12:25 am  Comments Off on Mistake # 10 That Turkey Hunters Make  
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Mistake # 9 That Turkey Hunters Make

Calling Gobblers Too Much

We don’t really realize that we are over calling until  a tom comes within 55 or 60 yards and refuses to come closer.  How can you salvage the situation?

The two times turkeys “gobble-gobble” most are – during spring mating season and when the hens start their nesting. Most of the breeding is finished by the time the hens start nesting; but big gobblers become more aggressive and try to find the remaining receptive females. Gobbling starts as soon as daylight starts to appear, while turkeys are still in their roosts. Once the gobblers hit the ground, they start calling hens in earnest. This calling continues until the warmest hours of the day. Biologists believe that the midmorning hours are when most mating occurs. Weeks before this takes place, hens start looking for a nesting place (usually on the ground). They prepare the spot and start to roost nearby. It takes the hens 10 to 15 days to lay the clutch (group) of eggs. She feeds before and after laying. If, while she is feeding, the nest is attacked and destroyed, she will breed again while creating a nest in another place. It takes about 26 to 28 days for the poults to emerge.

Something to Try

If the tom can’t see you: Wait until he makes a move so you change your hiding spot and use a different caller.

His reluctance to come closer indicates that you have done something that has put him on alert.  If you were using a slate caller, change to a diaphragm or box caller.

If you can’t move: Wait until the tom walks away.  Now, make a very large circle and try to get in front of the gobbler again.  Try a different caller.

~

 

‘Turkey Dream’ used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

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You noticed too?

A word about my graphic images.  Stealing images has become such a problem online that graphics manufacturers are putting water marks all over their images.  These marks are only on images used online; purchased graphics are perfect!

~

There are two ways to get a FREE subscription: Subscription button for feeds (top of right column) or Subscription link to get my postings via email (The “Sign Me Up” box, on the upper, right column).

Although these postings/articles are PRICELESS, I’m making them available to YOU for nada (also known as: zip, zilch, zero). Can you really afford to miss out on this opportunity?

§

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Published in: on March 29, 2011 at 5:20 am  Comments Off on Mistake # 9 That Turkey Hunters Make  
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Mistake # 8 That Turkey Hunters Make

Spooking a Gobbler

Well you’ve done it now!  You have spooked the tom you were calling.

What do you do?

If you hear a responding call or leaf rustling behind you; this is no time to turn around! Turkeys are watching for movement. If you stay frozen in place until you have a chance at a shot, you have a small chance of getting the gobbler. Remember: You are part of the scenery – until you shoot.

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Remember

The sound of a spooked tom is the same as an excited one — beating his wings, fast clucking * and racing around in the leaves.

If you spook a gobbler, cackle at him and call excitedly.  Even if you flush your gobbler, cut and cackle to him.  Continue your excited sounds.

Well, How Does THAT Help?

Even if your intended gobbler abandons you by flying off, other gobblers in the area may misinterpret what is going on with you two.

With the excited calling, they may think the gobbler is flying towards the sounds, not away.

Your goal it to mask the scared sounds with excited sounds so the other gobblers in the area will come toward you and your hiding place!

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* “fast clucking” – This underlined phrase will take you to the National Wild Turkey Federation’s website where you can hear and practice various wild turkey calls.

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‘On the Move’ used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

~

You noticed too?

A word about my graphic images.  Stealing images has become such a problem online that graphics manufacturers are putting water marks all over their images.  These marks are only on images used online; purchased graphics are perfect!

~

There are two ways to get a FREE subscription: Subscription button for feeds (top of right column) or Subscription link to get my postings via email (The “Sign Me Up” box, on the upper, right column).

Although these postings/articles are PRICELESS, I’m making them available to YOU for nada (also known as: zip, zilch, zero). Can you really afford to miss out on this opportunity?

§

This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on March 28, 2011 at 8:22 am  Comments Off on Mistake # 8 That Turkey Hunters Make  
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