We have all been there. You call one time, he gobbles and runs right to you like a one pound fish on a fifty pound line! Bang, the Tag is punched, and time for hero shots and Turkey nuggets! Ok, maybe we all haven’t been there. Chances are if you have spent much time in the Turkey woods, you know that things can go bad. They can go bad real fast.
Does this sound more typical? You call, he gobbles. You call again; he gobbles further away. Or how about this, You call he gobbles, you call again, and he doesn’t make a sound. Or this one, you call, he gobbles and continues to do so, never getting an inch closer. Those three scenarios seem to be the “norm” on public land with pressured call shy longbeards.
Turkey Hunting Strategy
So what is your strategy? I have consistently tagged out on public land birds, and have a few strategies up my sleeve that work for me on a consistent basis. Now it’s time to throw away the textbook.
Patience First Key to Successful Tom
The first strategy, PATIENCE. Hunt him like a Big Buck. Put the calls in the deepest pocket of your vest.
Believe it or not, even the toughest bird in the woods can be taken with patience. I have without a doubt experienced long hours, a sore behind, and starvation chasing these birds. After I “figure out” where a bird roosts it’s time to start playing the waiting game. Although not as patternable as early season whitetails, Turkeys do follow a general routine. So find his tree, note the direction he flies down in the morning. The next morning set up in that direction, away from the tree about fifty yards and wait. Get there well before daylight, and be ready. If it doesn’t work out, but you hear him gobble, pinpoint that location. I will literally set under his tree, and most of the time he will visit the roost site at least once during the day, be ready. As the day winds down, activity will increase. Be there waiting for him to come home to bed. After a day or two of this, you will most likely fill his head full of lead, or learn a lot more about the area and the bird. This is valuable knowledge that may come in useful for the second strategy.
Cut Off the Tom
CUT HIM OFF. Ambush is the key. Know where he is heading, if he gobbles where he did the morning before, and heads in that same direction, put on the running shoes. Use the terrain to your advantage. “Get around him.” Get in front of where he is going and be ready. Not a lot can be said about this method other than the obvious. A punched Tag and Breast in the freezer.
Last but not least, the hung up Bird. CRAWL TO HIM. There are two options here. First, is have a buddy hang back and call, You stay set, have your partner call as they walk away from the bird. If his hang up is 100 yards from the caller, It won’t be long, and he will be in your lap. And another option is close the distance. If a hung up bird gobbles enough, hit the deck and turn into a snake. Use the terrain. You will be surprised at a distance you can close. Move slow, stay low, and get to him. Use the terrain and the skills God gave you as a predator.
Create Your Own Success
Although it is great when a plan comes together, the reality is, it’s “not always like the movies.” Do you go outside of the box and take home the prize, or you will chalk it up as a loss. Get out there. You create your own success!