Getting Tight to Turkeys

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Published on: May. 19, 2010

Turkey Display

the last week or two of September a good time to scout. Get to the timber before first light. Listen for turkeys as they call from the roost before flying down to feed. If you hear turkeys calling from the roost, don’t call to them. See which way they pitch out and where they go to feed.

If you hear no turkeys, walk the woods and fields. Look for droppings and shed feathers. After feeding, turkeys often move to areas where field and woods meet. There they loaf and dust. Check for slight, circular depressions in the ground, 2 feet or so in diameter, which turkeys often make when they dust.

Set up Wisely

Once you determine the daily patterns of turkeys, the next step is deciding where, in relation to these patterns, to set up to call. The key is a set-up that will counter the number one defense of turkeys: their superb eyesight. It’s because of the peerless vision of turkeys that many hunters clothe themselves from head to toe in camouflage and hunt from manufactured ground blinds.

Such gear helps, but the best way to keep the turkey from spotting you is to call from positions just above or below a rise in a hill or around a bend in the terrain. Arrange it so that when a turkey first steps into view—or can see you—it is in range to shoot. A veteran turkey hunter shared this amazingly effective strategy with me more than 25 years ago.

Stay Concealed

Even though your set-up forces a turkey to come in blind, you still want to remain unnoticed. Portable blinds are great, but you can construct your own blind on the spot by clipping a few leafy branches and sticking them in the ground around you. Leave room for your shotgun to move, and leave some spaces to shoot through.

Though turkeys are unrivaled at picking up motion, they have limited depth perception. A big tree at your back and a screen of cut limbs in front make it tougher for turkeys to see you. It’s also a good idea to place yourself in the shadows. Setting up with full sun shining on you makes it easier for a turkey to spot you.

Call Sparingly

Loud, frequent calling will sometimes call toms into close shotgun range. However, most of the time such calling results in a gobbler holding up at a distance and waiting for the hen to

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