Bag the Perfect Tom with these 9 Turkey Hunting Tips
Over two million Americans hunt wild turkeys each year. However, only about 25 to 30% of turkey hunters in most states have successful hunts. If you are one of the hunters who have trouble bagging a bird, you have found a solution.
We have put together proven turkey hunting tips and tricks provided by some of the best hunters in the field. After reading our tips, you would have learned how to turkey hunt the right way and improve your odds of bagging a fat gobbler. Let’s get started.
9 Turkey Hunting Tips
Before going turkey hunting, ensure that you have all the right gear. For example, dress for the occasion by wearing full-body camouflage. Otherwise, your prey might spot you and flee.
Also, bring multiple turkey calls and a weapon that can kill turkeys without rendering the meat inedible. Lastly, don’t forget to get the permits required to hunt in your preferred location. After getting your gear and permits, follow these tips when stalking your hunting grounds:
1. Get an Earlier Start to Your Roost Tree
Among the many turkey hunting strategies, one of the most effective is finding prey at a roost tree. Turkeys sleep high on roost trees at night to stay out of the reach of predators. By morning, turkeys will take off from their roost trees to feed and engage in other activities on the ground. You can expect gobblers to return to the same roost tree every night.
Most turkey roost trees are old pine and cedar trees close to bodies of water. You can also find turkeys roosting in evergreen trees in open areas with minimal dense undergrowth.
If your state permits shooting turkeys in a roost tree, you can get roosting turkeys early in the morning before they fly off to feed. In states that do not permit shooting roosting turkeys, you should still get an early start to your roost tree. Arriving before dawn will allow you to see the direction the turkeys fly to feed. You can then follow that path to track and shoot a gobbler.
2. Use Aggressive Calls for Roosted Toms
Another reason to get to a roost tree early is to call turkeys down from the tree. Instead of waiting for turkeys to fly off the tree, you can lure them down with turkey calls. However, this takes considerable skill and patience.
When aiming for a tom (male turkey), your call should convince the gobbler that you are an attention-seeking hen. Should the tom believe your call, you will be his first stop when he flies down the tree, and you can bag him.
Some turkey hunting strategies suggest calling down roosted toms with soft yelps and clucks. If that doesn’t work, switch to more aggressive call types until the turkey gobbles back. Some of the best calls for attracting gobblers include:
Turkey mouth calls are among the most popular and inexpensive devices for calling turkeys. You can replicate various turkey vocalizations with this device, and it’s small enough to carry around in your pocket. You can even hold it in your mouth and keep your hands free to aim your gun at a gobbler.
However, mastering using a mouth call can take some practice. Also, since various mouth-call styles are available, you may have to try several until you find one that can make your desired sound.
Sweet Slate Calling
Sweet slate calls or pot calls are another versatile calling tool. It consists of a striker and a slate or pot that you can use to make various turkey sounds, including yelps and clucks. Depending on how you use the striker, the produced sound can be loud enough to reach distant gobblers or low enough to attract close-by toms.
Box calls are ideal for replicating turkey hen yelps and attracting toms. The device is easy to master, but it’s a bit bulky, meaning you will need ample pocket space to carry it around.
Turkey Call Apps
If you want to take the high-tech route, you can download a turkey calling app on your device. The best apps can generate loud and realistic turkey calls to attract toms. Plus, you can modify your calls to get the best results with just the click of a button.
3. Bring Back-Up Calls
Turkey hunting basics dictate that you can lure turkeys by making turkey sounds. However, relying on only one turkey call type is an ineffective tactic. Turkeys make different sounds to communicate, and they will only respond to your call if it means something to them. That’s why you need to bring back-up calls.
If your target is not responding to your go-to call, you should switch to a different call. For instance, if your regular call sounds like a gobble and the turkey is not responding, switch to a yelp or cluck. However, before using a different call, delay for a few minutes, or it won’t seem real, and the turkey won’t respond.
4. Use an Owl Hooter Instead of a Coyote Howler
If you have trouble finding foraging or roosting turkeys in the wild, you can get them to call out and reveal their location. Some turkey hunting tips recommend getting turkeys to shock gobble with a coyote howler.
However, while using a coyote howler may get turkeys to gobble, it may not be your best choice for locating gobblers. Why? Since turkeys know that coyotes are predators, they may gobble in response to the howl and flee. Using an air horn will have the same effect.
Instead of a coyote howler, use an owl hooter or crow call. Owl hooters and crow calls make less threatening sounds that can get turkeys to gobble without spooking them.
5. Seek Out the Lone Tom
The lone tom is usually an older, dominant male turkey. You won’t see this big gobbler hanging around other turkeys, which can be to your advantage. How? Since it’s alone, other turkeys cannot warn the isolated gobbler about your presence.
Also, old lone toms are usually predictable. They have favorite routines and spots that you can trail until you get the perfect shot. While tracking lone toms requires patience, it’s worthwhile because you could end up bagging a big bird.
6. Set Out a Lone Jake or a Jake with a Hen as Decoys
Another effective strategy from the book of turkey hunting basics is using decoys. When targeting a big tough male, get his attention by setting up a Jake prop. The lone prop should trigger your target’s instinct to defend his territory and hens, bringing him close enough for you to shoot.
Alternatively, lure a big dominant tom with a prop of a gobbler in a breeding position with a hen. However, such a setup will only work if it looks real and you place it where a gobbler will see it. The best locations are usually close to roosting trees, feeding grounds, or frequently used turkey routes. You could also lure a tom to your decoy setup with turkey calls.
7. Use a Wing from a Turkey for Roost Pitching
Make your calls more realistic by combining them with the flapping or rustling of turkey wings. How can you imitate flapping turkey wings? Buy a turkey wing or keep the wing from one of your previous kills. Note that the wing will only be effective if it still has feathers.
Turkey sound combinations that could attract toms include flapping the wing against your leg or the ground and making fighting purrs. The ruckus can trick a dominant tom into thinking a turkey fight is happening in its territory and draw its attention. Alternatively, rustle the wing gently to make your clucking, gobbling, or yelping sound more believable.
8. Practice Patience
Searching for a roost tree, hunting for foraging turkeys, calling turkeys, setting up decoys, and other turkey hunting strategies require loads of patience. Rushing things may spook your prey, and you will have to start all over.
For example, after calling a gobbler, tone down your calling once you notice the turkey coming your way. Use only soft feeding yelps and clucks to lure the bird in further. If you get overexcited or impatient and increase the volume or intensity of your calling, the turkey may get suspicious and walk away.
9. Get as Close as Possible
If you fire at a turkey and miss, the bird will get spooked and flee. Should you panic and start firing wildly at the fleeing gobbler, you could damage the bird with your shots and render it inedible. Even worse, you could hurt yourself or someone else.
Get the perfect shot by being patient and waiting for your prey to get as close to you as possible. If the turkey stops approaching your call or decoy, try to get as close as you need to get the best possible shot.
Benefits of Using a Silencer for Turkey Hunting
Adding a silencer to your hunting gun can improve your hunting experience in several ways. For example, it can help with:
If you plan on bagging more than one turkey, loud gunshots can spook nearby birds and frustrate your hunt. With a silencer, you can take down a turkey, and other members of its flock won’t notice. That means you can shoot several birds within the same vicinity and avoid the hassle of tracking a new bird after each shot.
Also, putting a silencer on your gun can benefit nearby hunters by not scaring away turkeys they’ve spent hours calling and tracking.
Your weapon’s recoil can throw off your aim and cause you to miss your target. Attaching a silencer or suppressor to your firearm will minimize the gun’s recoil and increase your chances of hitting your target.
Add a Silencer to Your Trophy Tom Hunt this Season
We have shown you the best turkey hunting tips and tricks for increasing your chances of bagging a trophy gobbler. All you need to do now is prepare for your next hunting trip and experiment with our tips.
However, our tips won’t be of much help if your aim is bad. Try improving your accuracy by heading to a gun range and practicing with your preferred hunting weapon. You can also improve your aim by adding a scope and silencer to your hunting gun. Get the best silencer for your firearm by shopping at Silencer Central today.Shop Suppressors