Hunting for turkey can be an exciting and exhilarating experience. The thrill of the hunt, the chase, followed by the actual bagging of your trophy can all contribute to a totally awesome experience. However, if you don’t plan your hunt carefully, you could end up being frustrated, with little or no success in your turkey hunt. Here are a few super spring turkey hunting tips for bow hunters to make your turkey hunt a memorable experience.
#1 Know The Duration Of The Turkey Season
The season in most states starts from the 1st of March and can go on even until the end of May, although the southern states usually end their turkey season by the end of April. However, there are exceptions, like in Maine, where the season does not begin until the beginning of June. This gives you a wide enough window for getting a gobbler or two at least. Since there is a bit of variation in the season dates between different states (and regulations), you should get specific information about it from the official websites of each particular state. Alternatively, there are other sources of information available online as well.
#2 Understanding The Effect Of Weather
Although the best time really comes when you are free to go on a turkey hunt, weather does have quite an influence. For example, early morning fog is likely to keep the birds in their roosts, so you need to be patient and wait for the fog to clear. The same goes for a rainy day, but a light shower may induce them to venture out into open fields. Extreme heat will encourage the birds to move towards water bodies. On a windy day, just call a bit louder, and assume the gobbler has heard you. Listen carefully between gusts of wind. Follow these tips and you will do just fine.
#3 Setting Up A Turkey Blind
Ground blinds are a fantastic invention that counter the amazingly accurate eyesight of wild turkeys. You can get different types which can be installed at short notice. Being a bow hunter, you would need to make allowances for your bow dimensions while setting up your blind. A lot of the success of your hunt depends on how you create your setup, so you need to give that a lot of attention. Once you have set up a ground blind, make sure that you have everything you need, so that you don’t have to venture out for something that you have missed at a critical moment.
#4 Scouting Tips
The key to good hunting is good scouting. Scouting really begins even before the season begins. If are able to locate a good amount of gobblers before opening day, you will be all set to have a fantastic start to the season even from opening day. Turkeys usually make quite a mess, so what you are looking for is scratch marks in the mud and snow. New scratch marks will have moist leaves and dirt with them. You can also look for fresh droppings in the same way. You can also look for drag marks where the turkeys have dragged their wings or rolled. Hearing gobbling sounds and actually being able to see the birds strutting around is the cherry on the top.
#5 Calling In A Turkey
There are various ways to call in a turkey. It’s a good idea to be where you can sense that he wants to go anyhow. Your main target will always be the male as the females usually follow. There are two main calls that are popularly used, the plain cluck and the hen yelp. But having said that, there are numerous variations to these two calls, like roost clucks, tree yelps, fly-down cackles, cutting, lost yelps, purrs, gobbles and so on. Several aids are also available like box calls, slate calls, diaphragm calls, and locator calls, just to name a few.
#6 Turkey Hunting Apparel
Total camouflage is a must. Turkeys have an extremely sharp vision, three times stronger than that of humans, so care must be taken with the camouflage outfit. Depending on the time of the season, you need to vary the shades of your clothes between brown to green to match the background foliage. Wearing a turkey vest is also a good idea because you can store all your knick knacks in them. You can get a surprisingly vast range of turkey hunt camouflage clothing online. While dressing up for the hunt, as you need to be totally covered, make sure that you have appropriate caps, masks, and boots as well.
#7 Using Decoys
Use decoys, and you are delving into the minds of these wily birds. The male turkey is extremely egoistic, and an adult will not tolerate a jake strutting around with hens, which is why a jake and hen decoy works well to lure out adult male turkeys. However, decoys are not always a good idea – avoid using them when they have been used heavily by others previously. Decoys are also not effective in densely covered areas, as turkeys cannot see too well over a long distance through the undergrowth. There are three broad categories of decoy setup, pre-breeding, peak-breeding and post-breeding setup.
#8 Bow Hunting Accessories
Compared to shotgun hunting for turkeys, bow hunting accessories required are fewer and there is less technology involved. In fact, I would go as far as to say that you should aim to keep your bow hunting accessories down to a minimum – 5 to 6 items would fit the bill. Out of these, a couple of commonly-used essentials that come to mind are ground blinds and callmakers. You need to keep a rangefinder handy, which is a critical piece of equipment for judging yardage, useful even if you are a seasoned archer. Choose broadheads which are especially effective for a headshot.
#9 Finding The Roost
Finding the roost is a smashing idea for a successful turkey hunt, but there is a method in the madness. The roosting habits depend a lot on the weather. When the weather is right, the turkeys roost well. It is useful to have a camera at hand, to record the movements of the turkeys for later reference.
An important factor is whether the male has hens with him or not. You will need to depend on this to start a conversation with the turkey. Imitating the female can instigate her to come out of her roost. You then gauge her mood and head her off.
#10 Don’t Limit Your Territory
There is no harm in hunting in more than one state. That way, you will get more area to hunt and more variety in terms of terrain and territorial habits of the birds, as they tend to behave differently from one region to another. It is a good idea to get permits in at least two states. The difference in limits on permits also helps you to get more options in terms of the number of birds and species that you can bag in one season. Five of the best states for turkey hunting are New York, Wisconsin, Alabama, Missouri and Pennsylvania.
#11 Safety First
A word needs to be said about safety during turkey hunts. It is an important consideration while hunting, as a hunting accident can happen in the blink of an eye. Be sure of your target, before you shoot, or you might just end up shooting one of your fellow hunters. There are some common ground rules for bow hunting. If you follow these, you will ensure your own safety as well as those around you.
Red, white, blue or black clothing should be avoided, as those are the colors other hunters are looking for while tracking turkeys. Carry a piece of blaze-orange colored clothing or object of that color with you as this is a standard hunting identification color.
You Are Now Good To Go!
These useful spring turkey hunting tips are enough to give you a superlative hunting experience. With a bit of prior knowledge and careful planning, you can make your turkey hunt this season into a really memorable one. If you have enjoyed reading this article, please do share your comments and you can even share our article with others, to spread the good word!