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Who Needs a Turkey Dog? Kill Fall Turkeys On Your Own

Two experts share their secrets

Subtlety Be Damned

Early in the morning or after the birds have gone to roost is the best time to employ the flock-bust technique. It’s important that the flock scatter in different directions rather than as a group [A].

Try to set up in between a single and a bigger group and wait for the lone bird to seek out the others [B].

When Peter Costenbader’s turkey dog passed away 10 years ago, the retired real estate broker decided to try fall turkey hunting on his own. He didn’t kill many birds the first couple of years, he admits, but the more he tried, the better he got.

Look and Listen
“The first thing I learned is that you have to do a lot of walking,” he says.

Costenbader doesn’t hustle through the woods. Instead, he spends as much time listening and looking as he does moving. Turkeys are vocal in the fall, especially in the morning, so it pays to be in the woods at first light straining to hear a faint cluck or yelp. If he doesn’t hear anything, Costenbader will ease through the woods, calling occasionally and scanning the ground for scratchings, droppings and high-quality food such as acorns and beechnuts. When he locates an area with lots of fresh sign, he’ll slow down even more, calling and listening for a response.

Just Like Spring

If he gets a reply, Costenbader will sit down and start calling just as he would in the spring, even if he’s calling to an entire flock. To up his chances, he’ll put out a hen and jake decoy within shotgun range and another jake decoy behind him.

“Usually a single or maybe a pair will come in, but I’ve called in whole flocks,” he says. “Decoys can mean the difference between getting a shot and not.”

If he’s working a flock and nothing comes in after 45 minutes, Costenbader will try to circle around the birds and set up on them again. If that doesn’t work, he’ll sneak out of the woods  and return the next morning and get in the exact spot where he last heard the turkeys, taking care not to spook them as he walks through the woods.

Bust ’Em

Spooking them is exactly what Olathe, Kansas, excavating contractor Rod Pettit wants to do. He follows the basic tenet of fall turkey hunting: Bust up the flock and then call them back in. His favorite time to scatter birds is after they’ve gone to roost in the evening or early in the morning. He’ll walk under the roosted birds, shouting and waving his arms so they scatter. If they are already on the ground, Pettit will rush the flock shouting in order to get the birds to fly in 
different directions. The closer he can get before he makes his jump, the better the chances of scattering the birds.

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from charlie elk wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Fall turkey is fun no matter if you use a dog or not. Not all dogs make it easier sometimes they add to the challenge.
later,
charlie

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from charlie elk wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

Fall turkey is fun no matter if you use a dog or not. Not all dogs make it easier sometimes they add to the challenge.
later,
charlie

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