By Brandon Wikman
With a brain the size of a walnut, the wild turkey seems to continue baffling even the most seasoned bird hunters across the country. No matter who you are or how good you are, the feathered chickens of the forest are a different breed, literally. Below you will find a few tips, tricks and tactics to try on your next hunt to hopefully tilt the odds of success in your favor.
The Sneaky Roost
As the daybreak of morning illuminates the new born sky, hunters make their best efforts in closing the distance to the roost tree. Many hunters enjoy snuggling right next to the tree and awaiting the fly down before having a crack at a gobbler. However, this is how many hunts turn foul.
Turkeys have a very keen sense of both eyes and ears. To successfully walk within 50-75 yards of a roost tree is extremely difficult. Birds are typically roosting near others and all it takes is for one sneaky eyeball to catch your movement before the game is over. Remember, turkeys have a much better field of view from the tree limbs than you. They are able to see a lot more ground and hear a heck of a lot more noise than you. Get close… but don’t get too close.
Most turkey hunters have experienced the dreadful “hang ups.” This is when the boisterous bird gobbling his head off makes a distinct halt and waits for you (hen) to come the rest of the way. However, in our terms, it doesn’t work that way. We need the tom to walk into a mere 30-yards to splash a face wash of bb’s.
The best bet when working in a bird that has hung-up is to wait him out. Patience is the name of the game when it comes to turkey hunting. They have their own mental clock that tick-tocks very, very slowly. I’ve had birds 80-yards away in a field strutting for hours before curiosity overwhelmed them; which brought them into a delightful 20-yards.
Many times you can always try changing the calling patterns slightly. Utilizing the comfort calls, such as clucks and purrs seems to always work well. Or you may want to even try raking your hand in the leaves to mimic scratching. These little tools make a large and significant difference in the world of turkey.