Hunting turkeys in the fall is different than hunting them in the spring. Unless you’re a world class caller, toms won’t even respond to your calls, let alone come running. You need a different strategy to get a turkey for your Thanksgiving table.
Here’s how you can bag a bird in the fall. First, you need to find them. If you have done preseason scouting you know where the turkeys roost, their trails or where they hang out in the fields. If you haven’t done preseason scouting you can still find them by doing some scouting and spotting. You can do it on foot or by driving around. If on foot, look for evidence on the ground – tracks, scratchings, molted feathers, dusting spots, roosting areas and droppings. If you choose to drive, you can cover a large territory. Turkeys are mobile at this time of year, so driving around usually pays off and is best done with a buddy so one can look around while the other drives.
Early in the season you can find them, as they travel in same sex flocks, in open fields or edge cover areas. Once you find them, you have various options. The most common strategy for this time of year is a scatter and call back technique. I would take issue with this approach; it makes no sense to scare turkeys away after you finally find them. You have to wait another hour or so before they come back and sometimes the turkeys never return.
My recommendation is a hybrid strategy, which maximizes your chance of success. Once you spot the turkeys in a field, try to stalk them using a Hunting Shield. Contrary to popular perception, these birds are easier to approach in open fields as they tend to be more relaxed because they have a 360-degree view of their surroundings. Moreover, turkeys have monocular vision as their eyes are located on the sides of their head, so they have poor depth perception. If you use the right stalking techniques, you can get within shooting range. This is what you need to do: While hiding your profile behind the shield, maintain stealth and approach very slowly in straight lines–no up and down or lateral moves. Pause for a minute or so if the birds look spooked and then resume your approach until you’re within range.
If by any chance you’re busted by the turkeys, no worries– sit against a tree and take cover behind the shield near where you think the birds will be and try to call them in. Since you have not scattered them by running into the field screaming like a mad man, they will come back fairly soon.
Depending on whether you’re dealing with hens or toms, adjust your calling. For hens, make a long series of yelps to mimic a hen calling her young. For toms, try to pick a fight. Start with lost yelps. When you get a response, call aggressively. Cut off and mimic any answer you get. Turn up the intensity. If you succeed, they will come rushing in to your Thanksgiving table. (Parts of this post are inspired by ” The Basics: How To Start Hunting Turkeys in the Fall” BY PHIL BOURJAILY OCTOBER 4, 2012 – Field & Stream)
Stalking shields are available on Blind Magnet website
Watch the video: Closing in
Read more about open field stalking:
Field Stalking with Hybrid Shields
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