Most turkey hunting failures result from three main issues. If you can fix these, you will start taking turkeys. Some take experience to overcome but there are some shortcuts you can take. On this episode I give a very focused strategy to help new hunters overcome their biggest weakness and get their first gobblers.
The three main issues that ruin turkey hunts are:
No Turkeys. No matter how good your gear is or how impressive your calls may be, if there are not turkeys in the area you are hunting then it is all for nothing. There must be turkeys around to have a chance at turkeys. And if you want to take home gobblers, you cannot leave this up for chance. You must scout and figure out where the turkeys spend their time. Look for tracks, droppings, scratches, strut zones, feathers, trail camera footage, or listen for early morning gobbles. Employ any and all means possible to find out if there are turkeys around. This makes all the difference in the world.
Not Stealthy Enough. Turkey hunters are too often careless. Talking while they walk in, breaking branches, pushing through heavy brush, taking phone calls, loudly charging their shotgun in the woods, etc. Stealth is absolutely critical for keeping turkeys unaware and off guard. And then, even once finally situated, many hunters cannot sit still, they move and stretch and open loud candy wrappers. Turkey hunting is a game of stealth, you need to disappear. One movement or sound at the wrong moment will cost you a hunt. Never assume a turkey will gobble far away to alert you to be on guard. So many times, a bird came in, noticed you, and disappeared without you even knowing they were near.
Poor Calling AKA Overcalling. I think that you can get 80% of the benefit of calling with 20% of the skill. The basics are all you need to get turkeys to come in. Do not play with fancy or exotic calls that you are not comfortable with. Stick with the basics, call sparingly and stop calling when a tom is on his way to you and is closing distance. People often mess up a hunt by overcalling. They get so excited that they just call back every time the bird gobbles. Every now and then this will work but you need experience to judge that effectively. Toms want hens to come to them, they are gobbling to let the hens know where they are so the hens can come over. If you are close by and constantly calling, then a gobbler knows where you are and will likely just keep working to entice you to come over for a visit. He will get hung up too often. This is another reason I caution against decoys and did the article: How To Hunt Turkeys Without Decoys.
Each of these issues can ruin a hunt but each can be addressed. You can scout in advance and find good places to hunt. And there are ways to amplify your steal capabilities if you have identified a good hunting location. Ground blinds for example can mask your movement and minimize your sound. They can help you overcome core weaknesses that most new hunters take years to improve.
Listen to the full podcast episode to hear it all!