Wild Turkey Hunting

Wild turkey hunting is one of the most challenging forms of hunting and is also one of the most rewarding. Luring a wild turkey gobbler within range with a turkey call is both fun and exciting. Learning a few wild turkey hunting tips before trying the sport greatly increases your chance of having a successful wild turkey hunt.

Wild Turkey Hunting Season

Unlike deer and moose hunting, which are fall and winter events, wild turkey hunting takes place in the spring.

As with most types of hunting, wild turkey hunting requires a hunting license.

Hunting Wild Turkey

Hunting wild turkey is an exercise in patience and cunning. Forget what you may have heard about turkeys being slow or stupid. The wild turkey has excellent hearing and vision and can disappear quickly. More than one wild turkey hunter has commented that if turkeys could smell as well as they see and hear, no hunter would ever bag one.

The most important of all wild turkey hunting tips is this: You cannot sneak up on a wild turkey. If you try, the turkey will win every time. (It”s also not very safe if there are other hunters in the area.) Instead, wild turkey hunting requires camouflage, and lots of it. Many turkey hunters even camouflage their guns.

Choose camouflage that reflects when and where you hunt. In the very early spring, camouflage should be mainly brown and gray. As new plant growth develops, choose camouflage that includes some green.

It”s also advisable to make sure your camouflage doesn”t include any black, blue, red or white colors. These are the colors seen on wild turkey and should be avoided for safety reasons. You don”t want another hunter to think you”re a turkey.

Because hunting wild turkey requires camouflage, it”s important to know what to do if another hunter is in the area. If you think another hunter is present, call out in a loud, clear voice. Stop using your turkey call and don?t move. You don”t want to be mistaken for a gobbler.

Scouting Wild Turkey Territory
It”s recommended to scout out the area where you”ll be hunting turkey ahead of time. If you can locate where the birds eat and roost, you”ll have a much better chance of coming home from your hunting trip with a bird. Look for signs of claw scratches, droppings and feathers.

Wild Turkey Hunting Tips

Wild turkey hunting requires a shotgun and a number four shot: This size shot has proven to be the most effective way to make a clean kill.

Make sure you positively identify a wild turkey before shooting. Don”t shoot unless the head and neck are extended, and aim for the base of the head. Due to a shotgun”s limited range, don”t fire until the gobbler is within 40 yards.

When hunting turkeys, position yourself against a tree or rock that is wider than your back and taller than your head. This has two advantages: First, it helps obscure your outline from the gobbler. Second, the object you sit against provides protection if a turkey hunter makes a mistake.

Using a Wild Turkey Call

A turkey call is a vital part of your wild turkey hunting equipment. Any list of wild turkey hunting tips would be incomplete without offering some suggestions for using a turkey call.

During wild turkey hunting you”re trying to attract a male, or tom, so turkey calls are designed to sound like female mating noises. Hens make a variety of noises, including purrs, whines, clucks and yelps.

A number of different wild turkey call models exist. Most hunters carry several calls, as different turkey gobblers respond to different calls. Call models include:

  • box calls
  • diaphragm calls
  • push-pin calls
  • slate-type friction calls
  • tube calls
  • wingbone and trumpet calls.

Newcomers to wild turkey hunting should start with the simplest turkey calls: the box calls, push-pin calls and slate-type friction calls.

Practice with the call before you go wild turkey hunting. You can listen to recordings of turkey calls or have an experienced hunter show you how to use the call.

It may be tempting to call frequently, but using a turkey call too often can scare off a gobbler. Use a turkey call sparingly, just enough to keep the gobbler interested.

Resources

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (n.d.). Spring Turkey Hunting: Tips for Beginners. Retrieved December 5, 2007, from the Outdoor Alabama Web site: www.outdooralabama.com/hunting/game/turkey/turkey-tips.cfm.

Herald, T. (n.d.). Wild Turkey Hunting Tips. Retrieved December 5, 2007, from the Tim Herald Outdoors Web site: www.grandslamhunts.com/turkey_tips.htm.

National Wild Turkey Federation (n.d). Turkey Hunting: Success and Safety. Retrieved December 5, 2007, from the National Wild Turkey Federation Web site: www.nwtf.org/images/Success-Safety.pdf.