Spring is finally here and I wanted to share some tips that have really helped fill tags over the years! Now these are tips that I have used while bowhunting on the TV show and please take them as a helping tip and not that you have to do these to harvest a bird. Every Tom can react differently so do not be afraid to watch how they react and try different things.
I am often asked what has made the biggest difference for me bow hunting turkeys over the years. After careful reflection I would have to say I am grateful for the Good Lord's help as much as possible, I have said for years that I am living proof that anyone can take a turkey. Over the last 27 years of bowhunting the one thing that I have learned is to be patient. I know my first several years hunting I was not patient at all. I was calling way too much and way too loud when I had birds around me. After looking over my hunting journals and talking with other folks like Rick White and Eddie Salter, I started to understand how to take the temperature of a Tom and so some things to help my odds in getting a shot.
The first thing I learned in setting up my hunt is that I needed to to put myself between the roosting area and the turkey's food source. This would increase my chances, especially with bowhunting in a blind that limits my ability to move while filming. By doing this I have birds around me the entire morning while they are doing their thing and feeding in between.
Ten years ago I started slowing down the frequency of my calls and watching how my tone sounded. When I started to do that, and played a little more hard-to-get by not over-calling, I started getting Toms to come into bow range with a lot more frequency. My favorite go-to calls are just simple 4-5 yelps, followed by a couple cluck and purrs. This has worked so well for me the last 11 years on the TV show, that I am now at 58 birds with my Mathews.
My hunts usually start when I am hearing birds wake up on the roost in the morning. I will make a couple soft tree calls until I get a hen or a Tom to respond. When they do, I repeat the calls a couple times to make sure they know where I am.
After that, I do not usually call again till I hear them pitch out. When I do hear them on the ground, I start my calling sequence. If the hens start talking to me, I will call every 10 to 15 minutes to see if I can get them feeding my way. If they start going the other way, I will yelp a little more aggressive and try to pull either the hen or Tom my way. If this does not work and the Tom stays with the hens, then I just yelp every 15-25 minutes to see if I can pull another Tom in with the flock. This has really worked well for me over the years, especially if I hang out and stay in the blind until 2:00 pm. That is magic time for me, I have taken the majority of my Toms between 10 am and 2 pm over the last 11 years.
Hope this helps and please be safe this spring! Do not forget to send pics of your turkeys this spring!