Turkey hunting is a great way to hone your hunting skills, and a great way for the rookie hunter to get started in his or her hunting career. In Part 1, we learned about turkey calls and where to find a mentor. In Part 2, we will take a look at several other key aspects needed to become a successful turkey hunter. So read on, learn more and then get outdoors.
Scout it Out
The first thing you need is to locate a healthy population of birds. Talk to local landowners and farmers, also do not overlook public hunting lands, they often can yield good results. Contact your local or state department of natural resources turkey biologist for advice on where to hunt birds in your area.
Birds do need not be visible to make the area a hot spot for turkeys. Look for signs of a flock such as scratches in the fields or near water. Small, circular, bare spots on the ground could indicate a dusting bowl for turkeys. Usually these can be found near the edge of fields or on high dry ground. In heavily wooded regions, look for areas where the leaf debris has been scratched and disturbed. If there is heavy scratching this could indicate a possible roosting area. Once you have staked out a few places you hope to hunt, be sure to get permission before hunting it.
Grab Your Gun
Now that you have secured a place to hunt and have started making audible turkey sounds with your calls, the next step is getting the right turkey gun. There is a large selection of quality turkey guns on the market. Find one that fits you perfectly, is comfortable to carry and preferably one that is camouflaged. Turkey’s eyesight can pick off even the smallest hint of shining metal. If you are a new hunter, especially a novice shooter, it is important to make sure the gun you will be shooting fits your frame properly. A visit to the gunsmith will fix most issues of fit. If you hope to get your child interested in turkey hunting, do not give him or her an old 12 gauge which kicks like a mule, instead opt for a youth 20 gauge. Regardless of the gun you choose, you need to make sure it is patterned properly before you go hunting.
Hit Your Mark
Patterning a turkey gun is not difficult but it is important. The trick is to get optimal performance out of your gun, regardless of the gauge you are shooting. Experiment with different turkey loads and different choke tubes. Shoot from different distances and with different loads to see what combination will put the most pellets in the target zone.
Time to Vanish
Turkeys see in full color plus they have incredible eyesight. Since most hunting is done on the ground, at eye level, total concealment is vital. The choice of camo pattern is not as important as ensuring that everything is covered, camouflaged or disguised in some fashion. Add a face mask or face paint and pair of gloves to increase your odds of success.
Ready, Aim, Shoot
Position your gun at your shoulder in a position to shoot as soon as you hear a bird responding to your call. Do not wait until the gobbler is 50 yards standing directly in front of you to get your gun up into shooting position. Their keen eyesight will detect the slightest of movement and because you are usually sitting at ground level, eyeball to eyeball they often will bust you before you have a chance to get ready. Sit still, be ready, and vanish into your surroundings for your best odds at killing a bird.
Now that you have found the perfect turkey gun, patterned your gun to perfection, and read every how-to article and turkey hunting book, it is time to hit the woods. Thanks to remarkable conservation efforts, turkey hunting has become very popular over the last decade. Regardless of age or gender or level of experience with other species, turkey hunting is fun, plus it can be the perfect game for novice hunters to pursue.
Are you a seasoned turkey hunter with tips for the rookie? Share them with us in the comment section.