Turkey Tips

Any turkey that has been alarmed will go silent. You spook a bird and it will likely "putt" very loudly and then just shut up. Other than the alarm call (or putt), any sound a turkey makes is an assurance to birds who hear it that everything is normal. 

Yelps, purrs, cackles, cutting, clucks and gobbles are made by birds that are comfortable. When a tom hears one of these sounds, he is assured that all is well in his woods. Since turkeys make all kinds of sounds, other than the aforementioned putt, almost any sound from a friction call will entice an aroused tom. 

Being an "expert " caller, in my opinion is not as important as some would make it out to be. Patience, knowing your hunting area and good camouflage will be every bit as important to a successful hunt.

An aroused tom turkey will not care that you haven't won a calling contest.


Turkey Blinds

There are many kinds of blinds used in turkey hunting. They range from a small piece of camouflage burlap to set behind, to a pop-up type camouflage "tent" that will accommodate two or three hunters. Truth is, either end of this spectrum and everything in between will work for you. 

Turkeys don't seem to be concerned about blinds unless the wind is rippling the fabric. Movement will spook turkeys. My first blind was a homemade burlap blind, 6' across, 6' high, painted camouflage. I still use it because I can see through it 360 degrees around. If I'm careful about back lighting or direct over head light, turkeys don't seem to see me. The commercially-made canvas blinds are nice, too, but it seems to me I'm always doing a lot of peeking out to see incoming birds.

I have called turkeys to my blinds whether I set them up in the wide open or tucked them in a wooded or brush area with overhanging natural camouflage. Either situation will work. Just remember, movement will bother incoming birds.
 
You bowhunters want to be sure that your blind and your bow are compatible. Sometimes the longer bows will make it more difficult to shoot from a blind. Do some practicing out of your blind to be sure. 

 

Decoys

In a blind you will not be able to shoot in any direction you want. Because of this, decoys work well in that to some degree you can direct the movement of incoming birds. Place your decoy in such a manner that decoyed birds will be drawn into a shooting lane or window. 

I have called toms to a blind set up with three decoys and actually had a strutting bird rub up against the blind. I could have reached under the burlap and grabbed him by the legs. 
 
I have hunted with as many as nine decoys and am convinced that one will do as much. Sometimes combinations of hens and toms work on incoming toms because they are in the mood to challenge another mate. Other times I have seen toms run from this type of spread. You may want to experiment with this aspect of turkey hunting and draw your own conclusions.

Movement by your decoys is good. Birds seem to be attracted to motion, but too much action tends to scare off decoying birds. Many times the movement will create sounds and sound will spook birds, too.


Decoy Safety

Take care in setting up decoys as not to make yourself vulnerable to hunters who may sneak your decoys. Don't put yourself in harm's way. This applies to blind set ups as well as sitting against a tree with a decoy or two out in front of you. In either of these scenarios you are camouflaged and hidden from the birds. They can't see you and neither does the incoming hunter. 

If you should ever find yourself being the hunted, don't move. Waving or standing up will draw fire because motion is what the careless hunter is looking for.

Your best defense is to yell as loud as you can. Shouting your name or "Don't shoot" are good examples.