When late February arrives I really start getting the fever for spring Turkey action. I have been bowhunting for 30 years now, and I still get excited about opening day as I did when I began this adventure. Turkey bow hunting has always been one of my favorites, I guess when you have an animal with a brain the size of a pea outsmart you it becomes an obsession!
Over the last 30 years I have made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot on my setups and calling techniques. When I began I would call too often, too loud, and sometimes at the wrong times. The nice thing about Turkey hunting is that you can make mistakes , and still recover and have a successful hunt.
If you're just starting Turkey hunting don't be nervous about making a bad call or the tone of a Yelp. Some of the worst calls I have heard over the years beside my own have been made by real turkeys!
Turkeys make over 27 vocalizations if you can just learn to yelp, cluck, purr and cut you will become a success in the Turkey woods. Remember a hens lung capacity only allows her to make about 5-7 notes.
So keep that in mind when you make your yelps. You want to mimic hens that your heading or sound as much as a real hen as possible.
I use friction calls, double reed mouth calls and box calls on my hunts because they are easy to use. I yelp with the mouth calls, and cluck and purr with my slate. If it's windy I use my box call to yelp and cutt. I try to call every 15-20 minutes when I am hunting. If a Tom answers me and stays where he is after a few calling sequences, that usually tells me he has hens with him. I usually shut up then for about 30 minutes to see if that gets him curious. This system has worked really well for me over the years.
I also use my little triangle of love on my setups with my Strut-Lite Jake, Feeding Hen and an Standing Hen. This decoy set up has worked great for me to get a Tom's attention and fired up enough to lock on and come in.
There's one last piece of advice I would like to share if you're bowhunting turkeys - try to be patient! I film all my own Turkey hunts for the TV show and I do this with the aid of my ground blind. Blinds allow me to tape hunts and move without detection in spite of turkeys' amazing vision.
Blinds allow me to hunt longer times and in any type of weather. The longer you stay out the better your odds of success go up. I have taken 75% of my birds between 10am to 2pm. I call this the magic time. Toms are usually looking for new girls , after they breed hens that might have been with them on the roost at this time. All of these tips have helped me tag over 65 birds with my bow the last 14 years. I am living proof that anyone can learn to be a turkey hunter.
Bowhunting turkeys is a blast and addictive. I hope some of this blog helps you in the woods this spring!