Just ask any hardcore fall turkey hunter: finding and killing one of these birds takes time. Sure, but not always. If you're hunting human-habituated flocks on private land, well, it can be pretty easy. Take to the bigwoods of the Northeast or expansive properties out West, and success might come a little harder. Trying to just kill adult gobblers? Yep, that's the ultimate deal in the autumn woods. Add a bow and arrow to the mix, well, it's even tougher . . .
Either way you go, here's what you shouldn't do whilefall turkey hunting.
1) Leaving When You Miss
Okay, there the turkey stood and you took aim and whiffed. Welcome to the club.
What you shouldn't do is mope, then get up to leave. If the flock scattered in all directions, sit tight. Be patient. If it was a family group, you should hear some kee-keeing and assembly yelping soon. Run the brood hen off if she's close, but sit tight. That's right. Call and mimic what they say. They'll be coming back to the break site, looking for flockmates. Or, they'll skirt the location and move off together. Either way, it's action. Enjoy it.
Fall turkeys can call a lot – especially after a flock is scattered. Or not much at all, depending.
There's another time they're highly vocal, too. It's when they're still in the trees, waking up, trying to make contact. Yep, the window of time on the roost and before fly-down, especially right after as they assemble, is when fall turkeys sound like barnyard birds.
You in the habit of sleeping in? Chances are you're not hearing them at their most talkative. Get up, get out. Or roll over and catch some more shut-eye.
Sure, I've brought plenty of squirrels home in my field vest after a day of fall turkey hunting. That's a bonus.
What I mean is this: If you're in a treestand sitting on game-trail whitetails or on the water decoying ducks, chances are your fall turkey tag won't get filled any time soon. Oh sure, a flock might wander down the deer trail; yep, it happens. And you might hear turkeys calling on a hillside from your goose field layout blind.
You might happen into fall turkeys. But the best way to kill one is to put in your time hunting them. Day in, day out, study those birds and how they move. Be there when they arrive. Now fill that turkey tag.
Realtree turkey hunting editor Steve Hickoff has chased gobblers all over the United States and Mexico. He was born and raised in northcentral Pennsylvania, and now makes his home in Maine. Hickoff was named the NWTF Tom Kelly Communicator of the Year for 2019, a prestigious award reflecting his longtime work promoting hunting and conservation as a turkey hunting writer, editor and book author.