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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Real Obvious" Turkey Hunting Tips

Turkey hunting?  OK ..here we go! The key word is "obvious." Most turkey articles
Chuck Matasic of Kodabow with a nice
9" beard, 22 lb. Spring gobbler taken at 35 yards
on 14 May 2013 after calling the bird into
range with a slate call. He stayed quiet as the
bird made the final approach.
focus on calling the birds. Plenty of You Tube "professionals" out there that produce "turkey" sounds that might bring in everything from a field mouse to the farmer down the road.

Tip #1 - Minimal Calling. Until you are accomplished, keep the calling to a minimum. A few light tree yelps early in the morning.....a few yelps and cutts to a responding bird and then put the calls away. A turkey will take his sweet time making his entrance. They have no schedule. Keep the diaphragm mouth calls in your pocket. Master a slate call or box call first to fill out your first tag. Work real birds and experiment. 
Tip #2 - You May Fail. The spring turkey success rate runs at 19% in the Mid-Atlantic states where Kodabow is located. Using a shotgun is more certain than using a crossbow or vertical bow because there is simply more room for error and turkeys move through the woodlands bobbing and weaving. So be prepared to be 100% dedicated to the task to succeed. Follow Tips #3, #4 and #5.
Tip #3  - Don't Move. You can't move around after getting into position even the slightest little bit ---- we are not talking "deer hunting still"... this is being "turkey hunting still" which is a whole level of non-movement well beyond what is typical in deer hunting. The answer is to bring a good turkey chair or blind to increase comfort which will help keep you under the turkey radar as the birds approach. When working a call, the movement must be hidden from turkey view so using a quick set-up "two stick" simple camo blind just to keep any movement out of view can be the difference between failure and success.
Tip #4 - Hunt with someone who can call birds. The only way to learn the interactive techniques of turkey calling is to either spend hours, days and seasons making mistakes or alternatively, spend some time with a friend who is very proficient. What does that mean?  We have seen good callers work birds into range that started so far away, we could barely hear the responsive gobble. Far distances well beyond several hundred yards.  
Birds that crossed blacktop roads and open fields to get to the beautiful but simulated love sick sounds of a hen in the woodlot. Observe how small subtle changes in calling are executed by good callers. Every bird is different and adjustments are made. Birds have different personalities and good callers drop what doesn't work and accentuate the positive. You haven't really turkey hunted till everything appears perfect and then a yahoo hunter starts cranking loudly on a box call every 30 seconds at first light. The birds shut down and the early morning is busted. 
Tip #5 - The REAL SECRETS. Spend some time before the season to obtain permission from landowners to turkey areas that appear promising. Some call it "getting keys to the gate" and often, disclosing that hunting will be done with archery equipment can provide entry to spots where landowners are adverse to firearms because of children at play or other reasons. Strike that pot call late in the morning when all the other hunters have long departed the woods wondering where the birds were. Pull out the striker and slate late in the spring season when others have given up and turned to fishing. Step 40 yards off the road and hit the box call because those wise old birds have heard calls from the trails and roads since opening day. Leave the decoys behind. More gear is never a good idea and we have seen decoys put the birds on edge more frequently than they have ever provided attraction. The statistics say that 81% will fail so extraordinary measures are required for success. Most of all - stay "turkey still."

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