Your goal is to get flocked-up fall turkeys to run or fly in different directions. Why? This is when they're most vulnerable. You then set up and try to call separated birds back to your gun or bow.
You can scatter them in a number of ways.
Walk Under Roosts
If you’ve roosted birds, simply walk under them as the false dawn comes on, but before fly-down. Scatter them. Note the direction each bird flies. Make your setup close to the center of that break, or near where a particular bird flew if you want that one.
Rush the Flock
If you’ve patterned a flock, but can’t pull them into range, put your gun or bow down, use terrain to your tactical advantage, then rush the group, pushing them in all directions if possible. Some might ask: “Why scatter them if you get close enough for a shot?” It’s your call as a hunter and yes, a shot option may present itself. Make sure your gun safety is on as you run in though.
This hunting tactic is legal in nearly 30 of the 42 states open to fall turkey hunting. Check your regulations. If you have a turkey dog, your canine hunting buddy will find and flush fall groups for you. As with all forms of hunting with dogs, it pays to put that animal into a situation where it will find turkeys and be able to push them in all directions — either by foot or on the wing.
In all three scenarios, a roost, ground or dog scatter, it pays to follow up the first effort with a second scatter, as some birds may have alighted in treetops together. Break them up too. In fall turkey hunting, flocks can’t be scattered enough. Once they begin calling and moving toward your position, call like the bird you want to kill to pull the separated turkey to you.
Steve Hickoff is Realtree.com's editorial director and turkey hunting editor. He’s been beaten by more birds than he can remember. Still he kills enough to eat well, and fool with beards, spurs and fans until the next season. Pennsylvania born and raised, Maine is his home base now. A full-time outdoor communicator with a couple university writing degrees, he chases spring gobblers and fall flocks around the country.