These 5 Animals Can Ruin Your Spring Turkey Hunt

By author of Turkey Blog with Steve Hickoff

When Wildlife Messes with Your Hunting Success

We've all had unexpected things happen while turkey hunting. Sometimes other wildlife messes with your plans.

Here are five animals that can ruin your spring turkey hunt.

1. Bobcat Attacks

An uptick of bobcat attacks – on both wild turkeys and turkey hunters – has been on the social media radar the last few years.

Bobcats can ruin a good turkey hunt. ©Don Mammoser-Shutterstock

Here's a YouTube video post I did awhile back where a bobcat stalks and attacks a turkey hunter.

And sometimes we even experience something close to this.

Alabama. A hard-gobbling turkey answered our calls in the nearby woods. My buddy and I hit the deck, made our setup and fired up the yelping. The bird ripped back and started coming hard.

Then silence. You know, the kind of quiet you hate as a turkey hunter. 

Not long after, two bobcats began sneaking across the field toward us. I won't lie, the hair on my forearms stood up a bit, but that was tempered by the frustration of this duo running our bird off.

And then the cats hit a wall of scent they didn't like, and bolted out of there as if racing to see which one could be the first to make it to the woods.

I think it was a tie.

2. Cow Troubles

Yeah, I love a good steak on the grill. But cows have messed up a turkey hunt or two over the years.

Even turkey hunting pros have to deal with them.

But sometimes it all works out . . .

The Vermont farmer gave me permission to hunt his big property. “Just don’t shoot one of the cows,” he said in his dry, Yankee way.

By the end of it I thought I might have to in self-defense. I parked my rig, scaled the fence, and started my way through his pasture. Seeing me, over a hundred cows first drifted off, then started my way.

At one point somebody in the group panicked – and they started going in about a dozen directions. Cattle wheeled and wheezed around me, the ground thudding with raw power. When my flashlight found an opening I ran toward it – fast.

The drama was worth it.

Not long after daybreak I called several gobblers with a few hens in – killed the strutting tom, and then a subdominant spring gobbler that just stood there wondering what just happened (filling your two spring tags in one day is legal in Vermont).

I felt like Santa coming out of there: one turkey on my shoulder and one in my vest.

This time the cows moved off as I approached, not wanting to fool with my big profile, I guess.

3. Deer Disturbances

Yearling deer often seem overly curious when it comes to turkey hunting decoys. I've even called them in with my yelping. You too?

Hunter numbers show whitetails are the top-hunted species in the country and an easy favorite for many.

Turkey hunting places a consistent second. You may love whitetails, sure . . . but a lot of you deer hunters also chase spring turkeys.

I bet you don’t care for deer then.

Sometimes it makes you wonder, where legal, if using turkey decoys to hunt deer in the fall might work.

4. Coyotes Closing In

Turkey calling and coyote shooting sometimes go hand-in-hand where legal.

I’ve called up coyotes – or walked them up – all around the country while turkey hunting.

How about you?

Bonus Read: Hunting Coyotes in the Snow

5. Hogs

In fact, coyote, hog and turkey hunting are often intermingled. I've seen hog stampedes on turkey hunts. I've had those rascals take over a field while working a gobbler, and felt they ran the bird off . . .

But sometimes, with the right attitude, you can go with a Plan B. On hogs.

Turkey hunting can be tough. You can push hard for birds, encounter henned-up spring flocks and situations where killing a turkey seems downright impossible. It can also be easy, and you'll find yourself suddenly tagged out.

Both situations seem to promote hog hunting.

Florida. Texas. California. Spot-and-stalk. Hogs with dogs. Rifle hunts. These states and others offer opportunities.

And there's plenty of good eating to follow.

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