Jump to content
FRIENDLY REMINDER ABOUT HUNTING REPORTS/TOPICS... Read more... ×
Sign in to follow this  
oldbirddogman

Turkey Hunting Tips   Part 3

Recommended Posts

oldbirddogman

It will be difficult for me to describe to you the kinds of places you need to look for when setting up on a gobbling turkey, or just selecting a place to call from when you don't hear a gobbler. I will do the best I can.

1. Always pay attention to places where you see turkeys frequently. Obviously, turkeys are comfortable and feel safe there. Choose similar places to call from, if possible. Any place that you call up a turkey needs to be looked at from various angles. Look at these spots from where the turkey viewed them. Remember them. And, when a turkey shys away from you, look at that place from his point of view. He may have seen something he didn't like. (Of course, the place may have had nothing to do with him not coming in.) All this will take time, much time, to learn. And even after you learn how to chose the "best places" you will be wrong more often than you are right.

2. Good set up places include; flats on the sides of mountains, points of ridges, saddles in ridges, hollowheads, sandbars, pasture necks that run up into the woods, fields with green grass and/or insects, powerlines in the woods, corners of cut-overs, firelanes, old roads, anywhere you see a lot of turkey sign (scratching, tracks, droppings, strut marks, etc.), food plots, any opening in the woods, near holes in fenses, or any gap in any kind of obstruction. There are many more.

3. Sometimes, when you are hunting gobbling turkeys, you just have to take whatever seat you can get and do the best you can. If you get pinned in a place where you cannot see well enough to make any shot that may present itself, DON'T CALL FROM THERE. What's the use in calling one up if you can't kill him? Let the turkey walk off, relocate, call from there. Now you have a chance.

4.If you are selecting a set up position on a field's edge, and you have a chance to look over the field previously to your hunt, check for areas in the field with the most droppings, strut marks, sunny little knobs, spots where the grass is greener than in the rest of the field, or there is more desirable grass, clover, for example. Pick a seat within gun range of these type places.

5.If you have been observing a field and turkeys are coming out of the woods at one particular place, do not set up right there. There is too great a chance of them coming up behind you and seeing you before they get to the field. Set to the side, say, 40 or 50 yards away.

6. Books will tell you to always set up ABOVE a turkey. They say a turkey is easier to call uphill than downhill. I do not find that to be true. A turkey will come from any direction when he wants to. They walk up and down hills all the time, everyday. However, I do suggest sitting up above the turkey when possible, but for other reasons: You can see better looking downhill. You can sit more comfortably, hense more still, and you can more easily relocate by easing back over the ridgetop, if you need to. If the turkey is above you, he can see better, and he has you pinned down to that spot.

7.If you are on a steep ridge and a turkey gobbles within calling range off the side of the ridge, do not set up directly above him. If you do, and he comes straight to you, and the ridge is steep, you will not be able to see him until he is very close. Killing these turkeys is a little tricky. It is easier if, when in this situation, you off-set, say, 75-100 yards to either side of straight above the turkey. Now, if he comes straight to you, he will be coming at an angle, you can see him further, there are trees he will pass by so you can get your gun up if you haven't already, plus you now have a shot from the side.

8.Often a gobbler will roost right on the point of a ridge. Your set-up place will be 100 yards up the ridge. Often, these turkeys, when they fly down, either sail or walk off the point of the ridge. They will sound like they are a long ways off. They are not. Do not be fooled. If you understand what is happening here, these turkeys are easy to kill. As soon as he goes off the ridge and you KNOW there is no chance of him seeing you, get up and quietly slip to within gunrange of the tree he roosted in. Set up there.  This is a high percentage place. Call. The gobbler knows he just left from there. It, to him, is  a safe place. He thinks a hen heard him gobbling and came to him; he just left a little too soon. He will, very often, be right back.

9. Remember that the more a turkey is hunted, the more important chosing the proper set-up place becomes. If you hunt on public land, or places where there are other turkey hunters, the later it is in the season, the more hunting pressure there has been, etc., the more thought you have to give as to where you are going to call from. Most hunters listen for gobbling from a road. They approach the turkey from the direction of the road. Some 0f these folks scare the turkey. Some may shoot at him. Turkeys aren't stupid. After a few days of getting kicked around, they begin to feel the pressure and, anytime they hear anything, begin to move away from the road. TURKEYS NEARLY ALWAYS MOVE AWAY FROM THE SOURCE OF PRESSURE. You must consider this when setting up on hard-hunted turkeys. Now, when you hear one gobble, say, 200 yards from the road, instead of going straight at him, go back up the road, cut in and circle completely around the turkey, maintaining a safe distance, and set up on the other side of him. Now you have the turkey between you and the road. You are setting in the direction he has been moving, and your chances are greatly enhanced. I'm not telling you that you can always kill these turkeys in this manner, only that it is a much higher percentage place than trying to call him toward the road. GENERAL RULE OF THUMB: Always try to keep the turkey between yourself and the direction he doesn't normally go. In the previous example, it was between you and a source of pressure, the road. It may be between you and a river, heavily trafficked road, a house, anything that reduces his options as to directions he can go.

Learn where to set-up and everything else will take care of itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rex Hoppie

Doug,

A lot of "Why didn't I think of that" items here, thanks a lot.  Another question to further prove my ignorance, what are strut marks?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
oldbirddogman

Rex,

Strut marks are curved lines made on bare ground by gobbler's wingtips when they are strutting. The longest 3-5 primary feathers cut these marks. Sometimes they will be quite circular in nature, as the gobbler spins around strutting.

Once you learn to recognize these marks, they are very significant sign. I mean, if you locate many strut marks in a certain area, particularily if some look old and some fresh, which indicates the gobbler has been there several times, you have found what is called a strutting ground. This is a great place to set up and spend a day. This is a high percentage place, though you have to be patient. It may be mid-morning or later before the gobbler shows up. Or, he may not show up that day. It is still a good place to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michael Stenstrom
As the season progresses and the grass gets longer some field strut areas look like little crop circles.  The grass is laid down in a three or four foot diameter circle.  Sometimes there is an obvious path leading to and a way from it, sometimes not.  If you can get to one without disturbing a bird roosted a little ways away it can be a great place.  They sometimes fly down and walk right to the circle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
oldbirddogman

Michael,

Thanks for filling in here. Your comment illustrates how easy it is for me to omit something or, in this case, possibly misleading someone.

I can see how my answer as to a defination of strut marks could be taken to imply that they are made only in bare spots on the ground. That is certainly not the case as you pointed out. It is only that they are much more easily seen in bare ground. There is, I'm sure, as much , probably more, strutting that takes place in grass or in the woods where the marks are less visible, or cannot be seen at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×