It’s long been said that preparation is the key to success in anything one hopes to achieve. These words were never more true than for the sport of hunting—especially turkey hunting.
Die-hard turkey hunters are a unique breed of people. They truly live for spring mornings in the turkey woods. It is not that they hope to go spring turkey hunting—it is that they must go spring turkey hunting. True turkey hunters live for the few weeks of turkey season and then literally spend the rest of the year thinking and preparing for the next opening day.
Prepared turkey hunters are successful turkey hunters, but how do you know if you are prepared for turkey season, you ask?
Here are 5 key elements to help better prepare you for this upcoming spring.
1) Location is Everything
It has often been said that you cannot kill what’s not there. A statement of the obvious, right? Stop and think about it though. The more turkeys on your hunting property, the better the chances of success. Continually strive to find the best hunting properties you can find.
2) Scout Year Round
The more time you spend learning the property you hunt and the habits of the turkeys you are hunting, the better.
- Pay attention to the smallest of details and even consider keeping a journal of your findings.
- Look for all roosting sites and determine if weather plays a role in where your turkeys roost.
- Learn where they like to feed and water.
- Look for strut zones in the spring by walking old logging roads to look for tracks and drag marks of an old gobbler’s wings as he struts for his hens.
- Pay attention to where the turkeys on your hunting property like to spend time on both windy and rainy days.
You will be surprised at what you can learn from studying your journal from over the years after hunting a particular piece of property. Scouting is crucial to a turkey hunter’s success!
3) Learn the Wild Turkeys’ Vocabulary
I think this is quite possibly one of the most overlooked aspects of successful turkey hunting. Many turkey hunters may hunt their entire life and not truly know what they’re hearing or saying when either listening or calling to wild turkeys.
While they may not know what a yelp or a cluck is, they know what a turkey is saying based on the context of the conversations they have. There is no better teacher for this than experience with keen attention placed on the details of what you witness when watching and listening to wild turkeys.
Once you learn to carry on a conversation with your quarry, you will see your success rate greatly increase!
4) Perfect Your Calling Skill
Practice, practice, and more practice! This is one of the main keys to becoming a skilled turkey caller.
One of the most overused statements made by turkey hunters is ”You don’t have to be a champion caller to kill a turkey”. While this statement is very true, it sure doesn’t hurt anything.
Master more than one turkey calling device. Don’t just practice on your diaphragm mouth call and neglect your other calls. Today, work on your box call, tomorrow, your glass or slate calls, the next day, your locator calls, etc.
My point is that being versatile in your turkey calling abilities is important because you never know when switching from one call to another that has a slightly different tone and pitch is what will make the difference.
A great turkey caller can literally change a turkey’s mind. Being skilled as a caller and knowing what to say and how to say it to an ol’ long spurred gobbler is the key to greater success for any turkey hunter.
5) Pattern your gun regularly
Knowing that your shotgun is performing flawlessly is critical to your success. Make sure that your shotgun is clean and patterning correctly every spring.
So many turkey hunters over the years miss a turkey and make the comment that their gun has always patterned great with these shells, only to find out that their gun now is not patterning those shells as well this year.
Unfortunately, ammunition can change slightly in performance over the years from one box to the next. That’s why it’s important to always pattern your gun with each new box of ammunition.
For a die-hard turkey hunter, preparing for the upcoming spring turkey season is almost as much fun as the season itself. Turkey hunting is a way of life for many. Be prepared and strive for perfection in your skills, and watch how these two things go hand in hand in improving your hunting success in the spring turkey woods.