For over 20 years, I've been truly thankful to experience one of the most impressive displays in North America, the wild turkey courtship. Although I'm a firm believer that nothing can replace realtime knowledge gained in the woods and making mistakes is the best teacher of all, I've alway welcomed second hand wisdom. Here are the top 5 things I've found most useful over the years.
1. Don't crowd the roost.
As tempting as it is to get in close on the roost, I've seen a lot more success getting out of the way and letting the morning and evening roost activity take place without interruption. Find out where they are heading after roost and set up between the roost and that spot.
2. Use line-of-sight to your advantage.
I try to avoid the traditional setup of putting a decoy directly in front of me and calling birds head on into my set. When you don't use a blind, you are allowing approaching birds to see through the set and catch any movement you make. Setting up off to a side keeps them focused on the decoys and allows you the ability to draw your bow and call a little easier.
3. Be patient.
Once a bird is coming to the decoys, let him get locked on them. These birds are very wary but once they are committed to the demolition of your decoy, their senses completely fail them. Don't rush….enjoy the show.
4. Shade = Birds.
This time of year, toms are pretty well covering ground or on display all day. When the temps start getting a little higher, I always look for cedar tress here in Kansas that show a lot of sign to hunt the mid-day. Any sort of conifer or blossomed hardwood provides the shade they want in the middle of the day. Once you are in shaded areas, look for a lot of droppings and scratching. Its typically pretty obvious when you find these spots and it's your best bet for late AM and afternoon action.
5. Use the best decoy you can get.
Turkey have incredible vision and rely on it heavily. If there is an unnatural glare or strange movement with your decoy, they tend to hold up and not commit. I use a DSD Jake with 1-3 hens a lot of the time.
Last…..all Tips/Tricks/Rules are meant to be broken!
Safe and Happy Hunting! - JS