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Turkey Hunting Mistakes

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This page consists of articles that deal with turkey hunting mistakes.

If you want a long beard…
Don’t make These Mistakes

Have you ever been on a hunt and all of a sudden you blow the opportunity to score at the last minute? Well, I have and the feeling is numbing as a long beard bolts from the scene. Let me share some of these embarrassing hunts with hope that you can learn from them…

Watch the Vine: Two years ago I was hunting a hard woods and heard a gobble fire off in the distance. I hurried to a nearby tree and yelped sparingly. A half-hour later, the fantail appeared across the field. The Tom steadily approached and made his way to me. My gun was up and the bird was now at 30 yards. At one point, I could have shot but waited for a more clear shot. The bird was about pass behind a large tree and when he re-appeared, he was going to be mine. He moved as planned and I slowly shifted the gun to make the shot. Just then gobbler putted and ran away! What went wrong? The tree I selected had a vine attached to it and when I shifted right, my elbow shook the vine. It was enough motion to scare that bird into my hall of shame.

Striker Blues: I have been hunting a certain local gobbler for two years. Due to property permission restrictions, nothing I did got me close enough to the bird to close the hunt. Last season, I finally came close enough, sort of. I heard him gobble on the roost and moved in close to catch him on the fly down. On other days, he would fly down and move off to posted lands. On this day, my soft yelps with my mouth call enticed the bird to come my way. My gun was nearly poised as the bird appeared through the brush at 25 yards. As I made a final minor adjustment to put the bird in the scope, an awful “click” sound emitted from my gun stock. The bird turned on a dime and was not seen again! What went wrong? The click sound was my friction call striker contacting the plastic gun stock. I never place my striker in a breast pocket and now I know why! That unnatural sound tipped off the gobbler that something was wrong.

Too close for comfort: Here is a mistake that I have made on a few occasions. Last season, the Toms always seemed to be in the company of hens. After flydown, the toms were led away. In attempt to set up between the Tom and his hens, I set up as close to the gobbler as possible. On two hunts, I simply set up too close. When the skies turned light, I looked up and the birds were almost directly over my head! Needless to say, the turkeys would have none of this and flew off the roost nervously to lands unknown. This season, it will be one of my personal goals to approach and set up no closer than 75-80 yards.

These three scenarios illustrate the precision needed to score on long beards. In each case, paying attention to details would have made a happy ending to each hunt more probable. Good advice for any turkey hunter would be to remeber these situations and not let them happen to you. My goal for the upcoming season is to learn from these mistakes and score that long beard that has eluded me for the past two seasons.

Don’t Get Busted

By Bob White

Let’s analyze the facts... You’ve spent more money on new turkey gear than was really necessary, you door knocked ten farms searching for new hunting grounds, your calling practice sessions are more than your wife and dog can take. It’s time to get your bird! Yet, after two weeks of 4:00 AM wake up alarms, you still haven’t harvested. It just seems like something goes wrong each morning and the toms are outwitting you. Fear not, you are not alone. Every hunter makes or has made costly mistakes that result in turkeys getting wise to us before we can finish the hunt. Let’s recognize some factors that affect success as we pursue monster gobblers...

Movement: The hunter’s ability to sit still or to move very, very slowly may be his greatest asset. I view the topic of movement in two forms. First, Hunters should avoid the temptation to move to a new location just because the action has slowed down. There are situations that call for re-locating, however, if proper scouting has occurred, be confident and patient and hold your ground. Second, be careful of making drastic body movements while hunting. Set up for a shot well before a bird is in shooting range. If he surprises you and you are not set up properly, be sure to move your gun in a slow manner, avoid quick, jerky movements to avoid being busted.

Shadows vs. Sun: When hunters select a set up location, they should always pick a spot that will keep them out of direct sun shine when the sun comes up. This factor is less critical on overcast days, obviously. Remember that we need maximum concealment against the terrific eyesight of a turkey. If you are sitting in direct bright sunlight, you will look unnatural - No matter how good your camo is. On the other hand, if you are in the shade, your camo will better conceal you even if it not a perfect match to the existing environment.

Sneak Approach: Have you ever noticed many of the hunting trends mandate that hunters move in as close as possible to roosted toms? Well, I say too close is NO GOOD! Why bother going through all of the necessary steps mentioned in the introduction of this article, only to move in too close and scare the birds off the roost. Talk about a busting a hunt before it even starts! I try to get no closer than 75-100 yards. I figure that if I see a bird on the roost, he can see me and that is trouble for sure. Play it safe and set up a 100 yards away. Even if hens interfere you can always wait the tom out or try another day. Remember, 5:30 AM is a terrible time to get really frustrated!

Surely, there are more factors that can bust your hunt. These are some that are common and controllable. Keep them in mind this spring and perhaps the scales of success can tip in your favor!