Turkey Hunting Tips

by Bill Jordan — Advantage Camo

Setting Your Sights On a Gobbler

Perhaps you think it's hard to miss a gobbler's head with a wide shotgun pattern. Believe me, while filming the "All Stars of Spring" turkey hunting video series, I've seen plenty of misses.

Modern specialized "turkey" chokes don't throw a very wide pattern at short range. Under 20 yards, I've seen patterns as narrow as eight inches. That's more like a big bullet than a pattern. Unless your turkey gun shoots precisely dead on, an up-close gobbler can easily be missed.

In the old days, correcting a shotgun's point of impact was fairly difficult, involving bending the barrel and either bending or altering stocks. Today adjustable rear sights, both open and optical, and good mounting systems are available for shotguns. With these, it is as simple to correct a turkey gun that's shooting "off" as to sight in a rifle.

With a well-sighted gobbler gun, you are ready to take on turkeys at all reasonable ranges rather than be put at a disadvantage by tight patterns at close range.

Early Season Tactics

I favor the early season, particularly on public land or where a large number of turkey hunters hunt. While it is true that some, or even most, gobblers may not be totally turned on, they are all still out there and are not yet terribly wary or call-shy. After a few days of hard hunting, some gobblers will be gone and what's left will be much wiser.

I incorporate a lot of deer hunting strategy into my turkey hunting. I scout in the pre-season and continually read the sign and pattern the gobblers as I am hunting them. Knowing where they are likely to be and, even better, where they are likely to go is a tremendous advantage early on.

It's up close and personal turkey hunting that calls for a high degree of caution and woodcraft. However, I am convinced that a gobbler that is not yet completely fired up is more easily turned on and called into range when he hears seductive hen talk close by.

Spring Turkey Safety

Patrick Beaham submitted the following safety tips so all, of course, could have a safe turkey season.

• Sit with your back against a tree, rock, stump or anything that is as wide as you are...
• Do not wear RED,WHITE or BLUE! (Some hunter may get excited and think that you are a gobbler!
• Do not try to stalk a gobbler...it's nearly impossible to get within range!
Instead, scout and roost a turkey the night before, set-up early the next day, and call that tom in to you!
• If another hunter walks into your area, especially if you have decoys, speak clearly...."I am here; THOSE are DECOYS!" DO NOT USE YOUR TURKEY CALL since the other hunter may get excited and think that you are a turkey!
• Make sure that turkey is dead before trying to pick up a gobbler with those sharp spurs and beak!
• Drape your bird with International Orange or put it in a camo bag before walking out of the woods...

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