Sometimes turkey hunting is like at the fair, and the turkeys go out in a file. These tactics for hunting turkey are for everyone else. The classic morning turkey outing is classic for a reason: it works, at least sometimes. The tools are gathered in their place, the tree where they perch, and they are usually singing, and you can call them. But every veteran turkey hunter knows that even under these conditions, the strategy can fail. Here are 3 ways to save the remainder of your day.
4 Turkey Hunting Tactics That Work When No Other Does
Tactic # 1. Hunt the canyon turkey
The most difficult turkeys to hunt maybe those that roam in vertical landscapes – the steep slopes of canyons. Sometimes the terrain is so vertical that you can attract a turkey at 10 meters and not see it. Only its red head appears when you finally do, and the rest of the bird remains hidden by the hill. Some cross the canyon. A turkey can be on one side, fly to the other, and climb the opposite edge to strut. You may have to wade through a stream and climb 200 meters to reach it in those cases. Follow these tactics to hunt turkey.
The best way to avoid problems when hunting turkey vertically is to look for terrain features that can help you get the best view of incoming turkeys.
1. Use binoculars to find the male
Males will strut in the woods and glades on the canyon slopes but will often climb to the canyon’s rim and strut there, especially if it borders a pasture or a farm field. You can observe from a high place. Use a good binocular. We sometimes see turkeys 2 to 3 kilometers away, usually on the opposite side of the canyon. Move around when you’ve identified a popular rim, either using the steep ridge to hide your approach from below or finding small folds and streams that can hide you if you need to go from above.
2. Locate the hangers
Like turkeys everywhere, canyon turkeys have their favorite places to sleep, at least for a few nights in a row. Listen to the songs in the afternoon or before sunrise to locate these spots, then stand on the edge closest to the bird, uphill from the perch, and try to call out to you. This is one of the tactics to hunt turkey that never fails.
3. Search the flat
Turkeys walk and strut on steep terrain but are easier to see and shoot when on flat terrain. Most of the canyon walls will have some meadows on the slopes. Some are cut with old logging roads, which offer flat but narrow paving areas. Set up a lure on a sunny bench and call in the turkeys.
Tactic # 2. Treat them like white-tailed deer
Sooner or later, it happens everywhere, every season: turkeys run amok, completely ignoring or even running directly from your calls, even if you are a teacher. Hunting pressure, the mating season stage, and an abundance of chickens can all contribute to the problem.
So stop calling. Point. Then be strong and stand firm. That is the first part of the solution. Consulting your deer hunting manual is the following. Keep reading the tactics for hunting turkey; they get better.
1. Explore with purpose
You wouldn’t hunt deer without trying to figure out their movement patterns. Use the same exploration skills and tools to discover turkey habits in the area you hunt. Google Maps, terrain reconnaissance, and discreet binoculars from a vantage point will help tell you what the turkeys are up to. I recommend this article about the recognition before hunting turkey.
2. Hunting in passes
Stalking a random location does not work when hunting deer. Success comes from observing routes, walkways, and funnels. It is the same when you hunt turkeys. Now that you know where the turkeys go there. The deadly location: the path the birds take between their tree and food.
3. Go for the food
Deer eat a lot, and deer follow them. Chickens eat a lot, and males follow them just as you hunt in the mountains and deer hunt where the turkeys are.
4. Go to the exhibition area
Deer hunt where there are rose beds and mating areas. Silent males reproduce. Please wait for the males to hang out and show off to the hens, their display area. Look for the drag marks on the wings, in the gaps, and on the edges of the field or meadow to find active locations. Use experience hunting deer as tactics to hunt turkey.
5. Play with the weather
Use bad weather to your advantage. Wind? Head to the slopes, ravines, valleys, and secluded nooks where wind-hating turkeys congregate. Rain? Get out of the woods and look at a field or meadow where the birds will be preening in the hours after the rain. Cold? Go to a sunny field where the hens, with the males that follow them, go to bask in the sun and warm themselves.
Tactic # 3. Hunting in the sunset
Take advantage of the sunset and the setting sun. But be warned, morning turkeys and afternoon turkeys require two very different approaches. And the wrong strategy can drive turkeys away from your favorite roosting spots and out of your hunting territory. Take this into account and hunt your turkey as the sun goes down. Keep reading these tactics to hunt turkey. You can even use turkey hunting decoy to attract turkey.
1. Start early
You wouldn’t be late for your spy house in the morning. Make the same effort in the afternoon and make sure you are at your post well before the turkeys appear. Spring days are long. The hungry birds come out to feed early. The turkeys are hungry and feed in the afternoon, and when the sun is setting. Spy three or four hours before sunset.
2. Give them space
Do not hunt directly under the trees where they perch. Instead, get along travel routes or feeding areas, where the birds will be while there is light. Turkeys that return to their perch often reverse the same route they traveled in the morning. Position yourself on the travel routes where you have good visibility and a wide range of fire.
3. Build your spy house
Prepare for a long wait. Whether it’s from natural materials, camouflage fabric, or a drop-down tent, build your hideout. The turkeys at sunset are restless, nervous, and very alert. A good hiding place provides some forgiveness in case you stretch or make an errant move.
4. Lower him
Some tactics for hunting turkey may seem crazy to you, but they work. Both females and males are often not very interested in mating or talking about it at the end of the day. Stopping calling may be for the best. If you call, use only soft sounds. The sound goes further at the end of the day.
If you are hunting in grasslands or open areas, take advantage of your binoculars to check the area and once you have seen a flock on the move, sneak away to intercept them.
Tactic # 4. Chase away the flock
Remember that scene from Top Gun when Maverick tells Goose that he will let the enemy fighter jet approach? To Goose, the tactic seemed contradictory, if not crazy. This is how I felt when my guide, Jimmy Warner, told me that he would scare off the young males in front of us.
“Are you going to do what?” I said through my mask. It had taken us an hour to slip away undetected. Generally speaking, a group of turkeys has a calming effect on other turkeys, so I couldn’t believe that Warner was about to ruin it by scaring them away. But that’s exactly what he did when he jumped up, waved his hat, and sent the flock flying. Thirty minutes later, an adult male crept in, now uninhibited by the flock of youngsters, and I hunted him down. It turned out that Maverick and Jimmy knew what they were doing.
These turkey hunting tactics may sound crazy, but they work. Here are some other times when it makes sense, as misguided as it may sound, to scare away rather than blend into the bush.
1. Scare the flock
He is in one of the craziest turkey hunting tactics. In areas that produce large numbers of chicks, the young can band together like a high school gang and harass lone adult males into leaving room instead of fighting it. Youngsters can be especially aggressive with lures. If you are being harassed by a group of youngsters and don’t see mature males, Warner used the same tactic. Get up and chase the teens away, then sit back and knock gently. Cautious males will often sneak in quietly.
2. Walk with the cattle
Because we had explored, Warner and I knew that turkeys liked to eat in a large corral on a ranch. But the terrain was almost completely open, with no way to approach the turkeys undetected. So Warner did what any ranch guide would do: he opened a door and quietly herded the cattle into the corral, then we slipped behind the herd until we found a hiding place in the corner of the field. The cows scattered, and we called out to the turkeys.
3. Try a high-speed fan load
Using a turkey tail fan to get close to males is nothing new, especially in open areas with little coverage. Most hunters use this fanning tactic to awaken the male’s dominance instinct and attract them from a distance or hide a hunter’s movements to gain a better position. But in the right circumstances, a last-minute effort to kill a turkey in the open field, you can modify the technique and load the turkey. Hold your tail fan to hide as much as possible, then run towards the turkey until it is within shooting distance. This high-risk tactic only works occasionally, maybe once every five or six times, and when it doesn’t, it will scare the bird into the next state and make it impossible to follow.
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