There are two reasons hunters fail to kill birds –
1. Preparation (pre-season scouting)
Killing turkeys consistently takes preparation. If you are hitting the woods without scouting, you are setting yourself up for failure. Do yourself a favor and start spending time in your turkey hunting area with as little impact as possible. Leave your calls at home, take some binoculars and enjoy getting to know your turkeys. If you are completely new to hunting check out Hunting 101.
Find The Roost
Finding roosting and fly-down areas are one of the best ways to guarantee early success in the spring. Finding where the birds roost and where they fly-down can be achieved at a distance, and without disturbing your hunting area. All you need to do is be in position well before daylight, and let the sun come up with binoculars in hand. There is no need for calls as you will only educate the birds on your coming tactics. Simply let the woods come alive, let them gobble from the roost and fly down showing you right where to be on opening day.
Identifying Strut Zones
Year after year turkeys like to strut in the same areas- logging roads, or in the the corner of a field. If you are having issues killing a weary gobbler, sitting tight in this zone and waiting for his arrival is another way to outsmart that old Tom.
You can identify these areas on logging roads by simply finding long stretches of raked leaves and frequent droppings. If you are hunting fields, sit back in an area where you can observe large portions of your property. When you see that Tom locking down in one area, strutting in circles for long periods of time, you have found gold.
Food & Water
Turkeys have to hydrate – Find a creek, pond or nearby watering hole and you will find turkeys roosted close because that area which will also hold cover and forage.
Speaking of forage, this is a pretty solid starting point for preferred turkey food.
- Seeds, grain and hay
- Acorns, hickory nuts or beech nuts
- Plant foliage
The best turkey hunters are not always the best callers. Successful hunters know how to move on birds. Here are some tips to help you fill your tag by using terrain-
- Avoid any type of barrier between you and that bird; fences and creeks are common culprits for your bird hanging up out of range
- Always stay above the bird, and don’t try calling him down a hill
- Utilize rolling hills and brush piles to your advantage when aggressively moving on a hung up Tom
2. Range Time
Shooting a 12 gauge is not all that fun.. It can be brutal, but it’s better than missing that bird you worked hard to kill.
I recommend practicing by dry firing your gun, and shooting target loads while adapting to your turkey gun. But, you have to finish with your loads you hunt with to making sure you are getting a good pattern. Here are some ways to make this a success:
Rule #1 in your range time, is making sure to pattern your gun, and know your effective killing range.
- Before you begin, make sure you are using a tight choke to keep your pattern tight
- Use multiple loads of #4, #5, #6, or even blended loads of Hevi Shot, at a printed target to ensure you are putting the proper amount of pellets in the kill zone (head and neck). Doing this will help you find the best load for your gun
- Shoot multiple ranges; I like to start at a mid-range (30 yards) and move closer and further back to find my range
Below is a quick video going over this information and a quick tutorial on adjusting the TruGlo site. Enjoy the show and big thanks to Dillon and our sidekick for the help!