Turkey Hunting: How to Set Up on a Spring Gobbler

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How to Sit to a Turkey

Roosted Turkey

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1 | Roosted Turkey

Anytime during the season, sneak as close to the roosted gobbler as possible, ideally within 100 yards. Make certain there are no obstacles such as a creek or fence between you and the turkey. Choose a setup that offers good visibility. Sit with your left shoulder quartering toward the roosted tom. Cut a few branches and place them between you and the turkey. Organize your calls, and relax with the forearm of your gun resting on your left knee. Make one set of soft calls and wait for the tom to fly down. Sitting close to the roosted tom gives you a better chance of calling him in before hens take him away.

© Tes Randle Jolly photo

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Field Turkey

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2 | Field Turkey

Use the terrain to find a location that offers some cover as close to the field edge as possible without the turkey seeing you. If your scouting has revealed a gobbler prefers a certain place in the field, do everything you can to sit within shooting distance of that spot. If possible, crawl into the field and place at least one decoy. If the turkey is in the field to your left, face directly into the field, facing the decoy. Cut a few branches and place them between you and the decoy. Arrange your calls and sit with the forearm of your gun resting on your left knee. Call aggressively at first, then go quiet. A field turkey with hens is a different animal. Once you commit to a set up you may have to stay there until the hens leave the tom. Patience is key here.

© Tes Randle Jolly photo

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Turkey Across Fence

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3 | Turkey Across Fence

Move far enough away from the tom to cross the gully or fence without being seen. Once across the obstruction, put 40 yards distance between you and the obstruction and move back toward the turkey. Get as close as possible without being seen. Sit in any available cover with your left shoulder angled toward the gobbler’s location. Call like you did before crossing the gully or fence. Have your gun shouldered and ready because a turkey hung up on an obstacle often comes quickly when you get in position on its side.

© Tes Randle Jolly photo

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Turkey on a Ridge Top

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4 | Turkey on Ridge Top

Maneuver to a position on the ridge to set up and call from above – or at least on the same level as the turkey. Use the terrain to get as close to the turkey as possible. Place at least one decoy between you and the gobbler. Choose a place with good visibility and sit with your left shoulder quartering toward the gobbler. Rest the forearm of your gun on your left knee. Arrange your calls and gather leaves into a pile by your left leg. Combine yelps with scratching in the leaves. Be alert. Gobblers commonly use ridge tops for strut zones. You are where the gobbler will not mind coming.

© Tes Randle Jolly photo

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Turkey Over a Ridge

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5 | Turkey Over a Ridge

Approach opposite the turkey’s position using the ridge as cover. Crawl as close to the top of the ridge as you dare or within shooting range without spooking the tom. Sit facing the turkey’s position. Use a mouth call to entice the gobbler your way. Be on your gun and ready for a shot. Often the tom will only come close enough to see over the ridge exposing just his head and neck.

© Tes Randle Jolly photo

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Turkey with Hens

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6 | Turkey with Hens

Listen and try to determine the direction the flock is moving. Circle around and get in front of the flock. Make certain there are no obstructions between you and the flock. Find any available cover, build a nest (blind) that won’t be exposed to sunlight and get as comfortable as possible. This could be a long sit. You are now on turkey time. Alternate between aggressive and passive calling. Mimic any sounds made by hens in the flock. Try to evoke a conversation with a hen in the flock. This often brings the hen your way with the gobbler in tow.

© Tes Randle Jolly photo

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Turkey Across Water

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7 | Turkey Across Water

If a gobbler answers you and he is across water, back away and put enough distance between you and the tom to cross the water unseen. Once across, move toward the tom and away from the water’s edge. Try to sit within shooting range of the water’s edge. This will double your effective shooting range if the bird follows the bank line or swings wide. Sit facing slightly to the right of the tom. Use any available cover or cut some branches to stick up between you and the bird. Make the same call the tom answered when you were across the water from him. Be on your gun and ready after your first calls. Turkeys hung up across a waterway often rush in when the caller makes the move to the turkey’s side.

© Tes Randle Jolly photo

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There are many intricacies involved in a successful turkey hunt. Calling, camouflage, the right gun and ammunition all contribute to putting a gobbler on your shoulder for the walk back to the truck. One thing that is often overlooked is how you sit to a turkey. By sit to a turkey, I mean how and where your butt hits the ground.

The following are common circumstances turkey hunters encounter regularly. The direction or angle you face to the anticipated approach of the gobbler is vital to success. These tips are for right-handed shooters. These are opposite for left-handed shooters. These will help you cover more angles of approach and eliminate obstacles that stand between you and a successful hunt.

Editor's note: Please click through our photo gallery.