5 Tips For Spring Turkey Hunting
Ready for winter to be over, and spring to take hold? Nothing says Virginia spring like planning for that first turkey hunt.
If you’re going out this spring to look for our Gobbling turkey friends, there are a few things to consider.
Take some time to survey the land you are planning to have your hunt. Keep an eye out for cover, and signs turkeys may be around. Keep your distance if you do notice activity, you do not want to interrupt the normal patterns of any turkey on the property. Trail cameras work very well for this purpose if you find yourself short on time, as they tend to be minimally invasive, and can give you a great idea of what may be happening on the property. Also try to remember not to use turkey or locator calls, as it may also disrupt the turkey’s normal patterns.
Give yourself every advantage you can. Try to set up in an elevated position, or at least on a level position where you expect turkeys to travel. When responding to a call, turkeys typically travel uphill, although there are always exceptions. Make sure you don’t silhouette yourself on the hill, make sure there is cover behind you so that you do not stick out as unusual to a turkey. Also try to stay in a clearing or opening, as you don’t want obstructions for the turkey such as rivers, creeks, and hedgerows of any kind. Make it easy for that turkey to come right where you want it.
Ideally, you have scouted the area and confirmed turkeys are in the area. Try not to be discouraged if your calls go unanswered. Turkeys don’t have anywhere they need to be, they take their time to get where they are going. Don’t immediately change calls if the bird is not moving towards you. If you hear them gobbling, they may be in the vicinity of hens, and you should wait them out. If your calls go unanswered for a while, then perhaps try a different call.
You’ve placed yourself in what was the best position you saw on earlier information gathering tips, but the turkeys are not moving in that area. There are other areas you may have noted or you see activity in other spots on the property. Make sure you move safely if you feel you need to change spots. Use ridges, hills and wooded areas to cover your movement. Move slowly, as you don’t want to make too much noise.
This may be the hardest one to get just perfect, as it can take practice and experience to know what and when to do it. A good start is to try different calls at both loud and quiet volumes. When the turkey is in sight and has clearly responded to your call, quit calling. He will go to where he heard the call, where you should be completely still, in position, and ready to shoot.
Additionally, if you find yourself asking which type of calls to use, aluminum, box, slate, glass, aluminum, and mouth calls are the most often used. Mouth calls seem to be the preferred method by some of the most successful hunters.
Other Items of note:
-Decoys can be extremely beneficial when field hunting.
-If you are imitating turkey scratching, the preferred method to follow is once with one hand, and twice with the other.
-Use your locator call early in the morning to get an idea where the turkeys are, and set up accordingly.
-10 or 12 gauge shotguns with a full or extra full choke are the best options to use for firearms, with #4, #5, or #6 shot size.
Quick safety tips:
- Never assume you re alone outdoors, even on private property, be very aware of your surrounding and never shoot what you cannot see.
- Do not wear red white or blue, as that is the color of turkeys, and you never want to make someone question if you are a bird, or human!
- It’s tick season, so take precautions and wash down your gear when you are finished.
The season this year starts April 13, so start your preparations now, and enjoy one of the most beautiful times of the year to be in the woods, as things start to come alive.
Also please visit https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/regulations/turkey/#spring for more questions regarding season, rules, and regulations.
As Always, Happy hunting!