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Obsessed with bowhunting whitetails and running trail cams! Love fishing, 3D Archery, camping, and teaching hunter education. Been a member of the Mossy Oak ProStaff since 2008 and is excited to become a part of the team here at Victory Outdoors.

Turkey Hunting for Dummies


Photo Credit: National Wild Turkey Federation

I am probably the world’s worst turkey hunter.  Growing up, I didn’t have any family members or even friends who hunted turkeys, and I was in high school before I even saw a turkey in the wild. Because of this, my knowledge about turkey hunting is limited at best, and I have always considered myself a deer hunter who occasionally hunts turkeys.  Actually, the first turkey tag I ever purchased was a fall archery only tag in 2009. I bought this tag out of spite, since I would see large numbers of birds each year from my treestand. I thought maybe if I had a tag, the turkeys would steer clear of my location and I wouldn’t have to worry about thirty sets of neurotic eyes freaking out if I breathed too heavily and scaring away all the deer in the county.

Photo Credit: Brian Machanic/National Wild Turkey Federation

Photo Credit: National Wild Turkey Federation

My plan worked, as no turkeys came near me throughout the season, and that tag would have gone unfilled if I hadn’t decided to try to kill one on the last day of the season. I ended up stalking a nice tom through a standing corn field in about a foot of snow and shooting him at about 35 yards. From that point I decided I was going to be a turkey hunter. Over the next two spring turkey seasons I picked up a few calls and decoys, a ground blind, and a bunch of humility. Since my time is always very limited in the spring due to other family commitments, I always bought an archery only tag so I would be able to hunt the entire season. I had several close calls, but never was able to get close enough to release an arrow. Work and family commitments were especially heavy last year, and I didn’t even purchase a tag.


Photo Credit: National Wild Turkey Federation

This year I had high hopes of spending a lot of time in the woods, and even planned to take my seven year old daughter along for a few hunts. Things rarely go as planned, and this year was no exception. I did buy a fourth season gun/bow combo tag, but I wasn’t able to get out for my first hunt of the year until last Saturday, which was the second to last day of the season. I am fortunate enough to work for a company that owns a fair amount of land, and even more fortunate that they allow recreational use of said land, so I headed out to one of the properties with a coworker who regularly hunts this ground. We knew there were several good toms in the area, and he wanted one particular bully taken out. This gobbler would run the other turkeys out of the area but wouldn’t commit to his setup to give him a good shot with his bow. As we walked in there were a couple owls hooting, but no gobbles. I was worried the birds were roosted on the neighbor’s property. We found a good spot in a fencerow and set up the decoys.

20150516_060019About ten minutes after we were settled in, we got a response to a call. Then another. There were at least three birds roosted within 150 yards of our location. As the sun started to rise, the gobbles continued until we were certain at least two of the toms had flown down. It sounded like they had flown the wrong way to the other side of a small creek that bisects the property. I was starting to get the feeling this was going to end like so many other hunts that started out looking promising only to fizzle out. As I was feeling sorry for myself, a bird appeared across the field. As he started strutting I began to get excited, thinking this might just work out. Then a second bird appeared. It was a hen, and she was making her way across the open field very quickly. She was on a path that would take her past us at about 75 yards. The gobbler was following her, but he continued to look our way and make sure everyone saw him in all his majesty. Our decoy spread consisted of three hens and a Jake Snood from Hunters Specialties.  I believe once he saw that jake, he couldn’t resist himself. He just had to do something about it. He worked his way slowly over to us. He approached the decoys wanting to make sure that jake knew his place.  

DSC_0047Between the fear of something ruining my plans and the fear of being abducted by the horde of mosquitoes attacking, I didn’t waste any time, and as he cleared the decoy at fifteen yards, I squeezed the trigger. In hindsight, I should have waited at least until he lowered his fan, as the shot destroyed the left side, taking several feathers and scattering them around. I had finally connected with a spring gobbler. His beard was right at ten inches, and his spurs were just over one inch. I couldn’t be happier with the way it all worked out, and I’m sure from now on I’ll put a little more emphasis on chasing turkeys in the spring.

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