And you thought your morning would be a slam dunk. Think again.
As far as you know, you’re the only hunter with permission on the property. The landowner told you so. Nothing is sweeter, right? But when two guys appear at the field edge, you know better. Slowly but surely, they start belly-crawling in on the strutter coming toward your position.
Choose your words carefully.
That delicious but spicy deuce of chili dogs from the corner stand. The all-you-can-eat seafood platter at the questionable diner. Both can spell trouble. Pigging out on the stuff can spoil your next morning – and afternoon into roosting time.
As for the aging luncheon meat in the camp fridge: toss it. No questions asked.
3. Farm Work
They’ve got to get their work done, too. Maybe you came close to killing a bird this morning. And you aren’t ready to give up on the boss tom. A gobble comes, answering your mid-morning calls. He’s getting closer. And so is the tractor on the access road. Stand up. Dust yourself off.
Tomorrow, as grandma has always said, is another day.
They’re notorious for rushing turkey fakes and hanging around. A bunch of them can even intimidate a boss tom. These teenagers don’t know any better. They’re goofy and persistent. These shortbeards are a threat to your pleasant little longbeard hunt.
Run them off – unless of course you want to shoot one for the grill.
Seems these days we spend more time hunched over, index finger and thumb typing on our “smart” phones. At the risk of being called a jerk, shut that thing off; at least while turkey hunting. Stash it deep in your vest and forget about it. “Didn’t you get my texts?” your buddy asks as you pull into camp.
“Nope,” you reply. “Wanna see my bird?”
Ever try to turkey hunt in a pasture full of cows? Half the time they act like you’re there to kill every one of them, rushing around like a swarming herd of fearful confusion and potential trampling; especially as you walk in during the pre-dawn listening hour.
Which brings us to the next part: the rest of the time they seem interested in you as if you’re food. Or there to bring them some. Or as if your pop-up blind is edible.
7. Unprepared for Weather
No seat cushion. No base layers. No rain apparel. No warmer jackets against the slanting spring snow. You’re pretty much finished. Sure, you can tough it out. Or go back to camp, change your wet stuff and return.
For some reason deer, especially young ones, love to check out turkey decoys. They sneeze. Snort. Stomp. They walk closer, then run away, then walk closer.
Turkeys watch this stuff. They know it isn’t quite right.
9. Need to Be Somewhere Else
Sure, you thought you could make that 10 o’clock meeting. Think again. The gobbler you’ve been after finally answered a little after nine. Better kill him fast or make up a pretty good excuse for your boss when you do an hour later.
Unless they're a turkey hunter too.
Like deer, only with turkey dinners on their mind, coyotes love to come to yelping. Let them pass – or carry loads to do the job if legal. It’s your call. Will the shot ruin your hunt? Not in my experience.
What other things have ruined your turkey hunts? Comment below.
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.