turkey hunting for beginners

skimerhorn

Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2012
Messages
697
Location
Ashland Va
Thought it would be cool to start a thread for beginning turkey hunters since the season is almost in, for calling and decoy setup.

I'll start by saying don't call to much if he's gone quiet. There's a good chance he's still coming, just not gobbling his head off
 

MinnesotaHunter

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
3,706
Location
Gem Lake, Minnesota
Turkey generally will hold up 75-100 yds out until they can see what is making the calls which makes a decoy a big advantage.

Last year I tried the combo of a jake decoy mounting a hen, and it worked extremely well.
 

LCH

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2013
Messages
3,894
Location
Southern Indiana
I hunt mostly thick timber. They like to hang up around 100 yards out, and usually don't see the decoy.

I'm thinking this year about setting my hunting partner around 100 yards in front or behind me, depending on who's shooting and who's calling. Anybody use this tactic or have other advice for big woods turkeys?
 

firefranco

New member
Joined
Aug 1, 2010
Messages
48
Location
Central California
Safety is first. Never wear any turkey-like colors. Red, white or blue. Full camo is best. For your safety, always set up with your back to a large tree or rock. Never try to sneak in close enough to shoot a gobbler who is gobbling or hen who is calling. It could be another hunter. Be sure of your target. This incident occurred in 2010. PAYNES CREEK — A Fremont man accidentally shot and killed one of his hunting partners after mistaking him for a turkey, according to the Tehama County Sheriff's Department.

Killed was Larry Gene Pendley of Vacaville . Pendley was hunting Saturday, the opening day of turkey season, in the Paynes Creek area near Little Giant Mill Road off Highway 36, when he was accidentally shot by fellow hunter 50-year-old Stephen Henderson of Fremont , according to the Tehama County Sheriff's Department.

Of the group, four of them had hunted together for 30 years, with Pendley being the relative newcomer. He had been hunting with the men for 10 years, said Tehama County Sheriff Clay Parker.

Everyone was in camouflage as the group started out together before breaking up to stalk the birds, Parker said.

"The victim got down on his hands and knees and was crawling through brush," Parker said. "His friend was about 30 yards away and saw movement. He thought it was a tom and hit the victim." Parker said Pendley, who was shot in the head, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The official cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy, which should be completed within a few days, he said. The case is still under investigation, but apparently the victim had a long beard and that might have led to the confusion.

While turkey hunting accidents in Tehama County are uncommon, turkey hunts are more dangerous because hunters usually wear camouflage rather than bright orange, as deer and upland game hunters do, Parker said. He said the incident is a lesson to hunters.

"The biggest one is never shoot until you're sure of your target," Parker said.
 

skimerhorn

Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2012
Messages
697
Location
Ashland Va
I hunt mostly thick timber. They like to hang up around 100 yards out, and usually don't see the decoy.

I'm thinking this year about setting my hunting partner around 100 yards in front or behind me, depending on who's shooting and who's calling. Anybody use this tactic or have other advice for big woods turkeys?

If the bird hangs up try leaving the shooter put and the caller back up and call to simulate the hen leaving. Has worked before
 

skimerhorn

Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2012
Messages
697
Location
Ashland Va
Another tip is to keep your decoys at a 45 degree angle from you so when the gobbler comes in your not directly in his line of sight.
 

LCH

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2013
Messages
3,894
Location
Southern Indiana
If the bird hangs up try leaving the shooter put and the caller back up and call to simulate the hen leaving. Has worked before

We'll give that a try this year if the occasion arises. Still trying to figure this whole turkey hunting thing out :)
 

MinnesotaHunter

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
3,706
Location
Gem Lake, Minnesota
Another key that I have found is whenever possible put some turkeys to bed the night before. If you know where they are roosting it is easier to get setup in a spot where you have the advantage. Use a crow call to get them to give away their position, and then leave them be.
 

Gellar

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 31, 2014
Messages
1,952
Location
The Driftless Area
Another key that I have found is whenever possible put some turkeys to bed the night before. If you know where they are roosting it is easier to get setup in a spot where you have the advantage. Use a crow call to get them to give away their position, and then leave them be.

Scouting is #1 for me as well. I stop at several public parking lots starting two or three weeks before the season and listen for gobbles every morning. I also look for fields or open areas where they are strutting. I am not the best caller so this strategy works best for me.
 

1_pointer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Messages
18,123
Location
Indiana
I hunt mostly thick timber. They like to hang up around 100 yards out, and usually don't see the decoy.

I'm thinking this year about setting my hunting partner around 100 yards in front or behind me, depending on who's shooting and who's calling. Anybody use this tactic or have other advice for big woods turkeys?
We don't generally set up 100yds away as we prefer to be able to see eachother to be able to communicate. That said, a good 20-40yds has worked for us. At least twice that I remember, the birds circled and the guy doing the calling got the shot! For me, I really like turkey hunting in pairs, especially if the toms are henned up some. Makes it easier to sound like more than one.

Putting them to roost is a BIG help. If there's water nearby, try to setup between them and the water. Seems like they want to get a drink right after they fly down. Last year I hunted an area by BIL and his son had finished hunting the previous day. The toms were roosted right where they had set up. I actually saw them on the roost before I heard them and was able to get this one, who had 3 others with him, right after he flew down. I called just enough to get them to gobble and they flew down in my direction.

 

JohnCushman

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 27, 2009
Messages
12,033
Location
South East Colorado
I like to put out more than one hen decoy in different positions. Then I use multiple calls to sound like different birds, to keep things more interesting. I use a diaphragm and slate pot call and a box call intermittently. This has done well for me when a tom thinks there's more than one hen in the area. Sometimes the Tom won't like one call, but will respond to another, so keep the variety going.
 

firefranco

New member
Joined
Aug 1, 2010
Messages
48
Location
Central California
I like to walk and call (troll) in open forest units. I hear a gobble and set up. Merriams will come a long way very fast. There are normally a lot of windy days in the spring, make sure you walk and call into the wind to avoid bumping birds.
 

Epfd217

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2014
Messages
373
Location
Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Turkeys survive using their eyes. A turkey's ability to use their hearing to pinpoint where a call comes from will amaze you, but they still use their eyes to verify what they are hearing.

I recommend everyone use a decoy. There are many theories on how to set them up. Using a 45 degree angle doesn't help unless you know what direction the turkey is coming from. Look up decoy tactics for bowhunters. I use a Jake with a lone hen. I shoot birds at less than 20yrs every year and less than 10yds when I bowhunt. Being in a ground blind and having a bird at arms reach is unbelievable.

The best advice is to get a high quality decoy that looks real. Lots of birds have been shot over fold-up foam dekes, but a good looking dekes will get you 10-20 yd shots instead of hangup at 60yds.

Soft calls will almost always work better. Practice making soft clucks, purrs and yelps. I've killed more birds by scratching in the leaves than any amount of yelping.
 
Last edited:

johnp

Active member
Joined
Oct 20, 2009
Messages
235
Location
sourthern wis.
When hens are nesting, listening for mid-day gobbling can bring fast action . Around here in areas where the birds are heavily hunted , I've seen them run from the site of a decoy or the sound of a call by late in the season. Maybe it's just a result of my skill level. Then ambushing or stalking can be the most effective.
 

Sapper.dawg

New member
Joined
Aug 4, 2014
Messages
119
Location
Huntsville, AL
Another key that I have found is whenever possible put some turkeys to bed the night before. If you know where they are roosting it is easier to get setup in a spot where you have the advantage. Use a crow call to get them to give away their position, and then leave them be.

100% agree on roosting them the evening before, but on public land in AL, you have to keep the shock calls in your pocket or you will never see a gobbler. Calling softly and less often here is generally what wins the day, and many times they will come in silent. Be patient and dont give up on the bird until you are sure he is gone.
 

jims

New member
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Messages
317
It's tempting to "over call"! I often keep calling to a minimum. Also, if something doesn't work be willing to try something new (switch decoys,calls,locations, etc).
 

DrH

Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2014
Messages
42
Location
Cheyenne/Wyoming/Laramie
Decoys, decoys, decoys! I've killed several dozen western turkeys, and have carried decoys for 10 years. I've never had a gobbler come to a decoy yet, although I have bored hell out of myself waiting. When the birds move a lot during the season, you may need to run and gun, looking for hot gobblers and using the terrain to get closer to the bird or birds. Too often in the west the gobbler is too close in the open terrain to get a decoy out before he sees you and spooks. A friend of mine from PA, used to the thicker cover there, has spooked six gobblers in two years of hunting in the west by screwing around too long with a decoy or taking to long to sit and get hid.
 
Sitka Banner

Forum statistics

Threads
94,600
Messages
1,411,298
Members
29,673
Latest member
GillyCrush
Top