Although we still have snow on the ground up here in Northern Michigan, turkey season is just around the corner. Even though our passion is following a pack of dogs through the woods, a guy has to have something to do in order to pass the time until fall. Turkey season is a great time to get back in the woods after a long winter. Typically, not yet this year though, you can enjoy the warmer temps while chasing these elusive birds through the woods. If it’s something you have never done before I highly suggest trying it. You will have a lot of fun and whether or not you get a bird at least you will be out in the woods. Here are a few things that I’ve learned as someone that’s still relatively new to turkey hunting.
As with any game animal scouting is a very important key to success. Wandering aimlessly around in the woods looking for a turkey will make for a long uneventful day. At least a few days prior to the start of your season put some time in driving around in the early mornings checking fields for birds. Keep track of where you see them and if they are in the same spot the following day. Once you begin to establish a pattern start checking on this spot at night shortly before dark. The key thing you are looking for here is trying to find where the birds are roosting at night. Once you can establish this location you have a very good start to a successful hunt.
The next step is to determine a good set up location. You want to make sure your set up near where the birds are roosting so they will move in your direction once they are down. You don’t want to get to close to where they roost though or you could scare them out before it’s even daylight. Find somewhere with good cover that can keep you concealed. Turkeys have very good eye sight and can spot even small movements. Once you establish a good place to set up then you are ready to start your hunt.
The key to having a successful turkey hunt is to start early and have a lot of patience. If your scouting and prep work was done correctly, there is a good chance you won’t even need to use a call. Slip into your spot well before daylight and then simply wait. If you have done your homework the birds should work their way by you once daylight comes. If you do decide to use a call use it very sparingly. In this case more is less. If you have a decoy out the call is good to bring them in to shooting range but without a decoy the call will likely raise their alert level. If your initial set up doesn’t work don’t get discouraged and don’t try and do a stalk on the birds. Slip out of the woods and come back the next morning. If they don’t know you were there they won’t change their routine the following day.
Hopefully you all have a chance to get out into the woods this spring and chase some turkeys around. Please feel free to share your turkey hunting stories with us as well as any tips or tricks you may have. Good luck and enjoy the hunt.