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April 16, 2013
Turkey Hunting: 8 Lessons Learned the Hard Way - 3
Experience in the turkey woods will teach you plenty of things. Chief among them: turkeys don’t read rule books. After years of chasing longbeards, I’ve learned some lessons the hard way and overruled some ‘rules of thumb.’ But it doesn’t take a lifetime of turkey hunting to hunt like a veteran. Start here, by putting these 8 turkey hunting misconceptions to rest.
1. Spooked Turkeys Return
On a recent hunt in Missouri, a hunting buddy and I watched a strutter and his hen do their thing far across a wide field. We made plans to reposition and crash their party. Problem is we bumped the lovebirds.
“What now?” my partner hissed. “Let’s go sit tight exactly where they were,” I said. We called softly and waited.
“Strutter to our left,” I whispered, easing the shotgun toward the longbeard. Boom. Down. Nice bird.
2. Turkeys Cross Fences
Although some turkeys seem obstinate about crossing fences, usually when you are trying to call them to your side, others have no such qualms. Over the years I’ve seen many gobblers come to the calls, stop at a fence, fly up and sail over to my side.
That’s what veteran Pennsylvania turkey hunters at roadside diners told impressionable youngsters like me back in the 1970s when I first turkey hunted. Well yeah, that works, sometimes.
Now, all these years later, I initiate contact with turkeys on a bird-by-bird deal. Some need that old-school soft sell. Others require that you hammer them with everything in your vest—early and often. Hear them out and feel them out. They will typically tell you what they like and don’t like.
4. Weather Doesn’t Always Matter
5. Post-Miss Redemption
Turkeys deal with loud noises all the time, with predator attacks and suspicious stuff. Chill out and regroup. Let the woods settle down for a while and try using some soft calls once they do. You may even be able to call that bird back.
6. Camouflage Is Required
Sure, camouflage allows you to become a tree. It builds confidence. Wiggle like an NFL cheerleader while wearing it though and that gobbler still might run away.
It’s the one constant rule in the turkey woods: Sit still, period. Movement alerts turkeys, and even spells potential danger.
7. The Un-Callable Gobbler
All due respect, but my guess is that you’ve been chasing more than one turkey during that time in your preferred habitat. It may even have been a hard-to-sell jake. Older doesn’t always mean more difficult.
8. Mistakes Are Made