There are five species of wild turkey targeted throughout the United States, and many hunters will tell you that turkey hunting adventures are some of the most heart-pumping, breathtaking moments in their memory banks. Where I live in Wisconsin, turkey hunting is an opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts to get back to what they live for after being cooped up all winter. Beyond that, the unique sights and sounds of watching the world come alive are never more evident that in the spring - get out there!
Here are five tips to help ensure a successful turkey hunt:
- Pick your zone. Do you want to hunt big woods or open fields? Do you have the legs and lungs for long walks and big hills? Consider your answers to these questions. It is important to know your limitations. There may be times when you find yourself stalking an active bird and you may be out of your comfort zone when it comes time to carry that 20-pound bird out with you. I do a lot of chasing and have found myself in that position before. Now I use a Tenzing TP14 turkey pack that has a game carrier big enough to carry a turkey out on my back. It even has an orange drop sheet that comes down over the bird for safety while I walk out with my reward strapped to my back.
- Spend time scouting. Turkeys have patterns just like people and deer. Take time to learn them. They usually have their favorite roosting tree, strutting grounds, paths of travel, morning and afternoon spots. If you cannot be there to learn their travel patterns, put cameras out. I use my Wildgame Innovations cameras to scout turkey patterns. Find heavily traveled deer trails and you will find that they are also turkey trails.
- Use decoys. I personally use Avian-X because I find them realistic. They are also easy to carry so I can adjust if necessary.
- Find some calls that you trust. I use Flextone calls because I like the way they sound and the sexy purrs I can produce with the slate call. Spend some time trying calls to see what you like best. You need to be confident! If you don’t think you sound sexy, neither does that big ol’ beard-swingin’ tom you’re trying to seduce!
- Set your ground blind and be patient. I use Ameristep due to window configuration, but there are many different sizes and styles. I set a strutting tom decoy along with a hen and just wait it out. They will come. But if I am short on time and getting desperate, that’s when I grab my ghillie suit and Tenzing turkey pack for “running and gunning.” When time is of the essence, these are my weapons to find an active bird and go to him now!
This is an excerpt from an article that published in the March/April 2015 edition of Badger Sportsman Magazine. Spring Turkey Season: How to Get the Most Out of Your Gobbler Hunt by Pat Kalmerton. Download the complete article.