Monday, May 03, 2010

Late season turkey hunting tips

© By Othmar Vohringer

The spring turkey hunting season comes quickly to an end, in some areas as early as the middle of May and others at the end on May. If you still haven’t put a tag on a bird yet then the following tips may help you out.

The late season has some advantages over the early season. In the late season most hunters had their fill of turkey hunting and stay in camp, which means you have the woods to yourself. Another advantage of the late season is that the weather is warmer which turkeys like better. In the early season it is still possible to encounter cold weather, even snow in some areas.

The downside to late season hunting is that the turkeys have been exposed to hordes of hunters calling their heads off at turkeys. So in the late season you have to deal with call shy toms that rarely answer your calls. In the late season I usually don’t call much and sometimes I don’t call period, more about that a little later.

No matter where you hunt there are always places other hunters overlook, mostly because these places are off the beaten path or hard to get to. By finding these places you still will encounter vocal birds that respond well to calling. I like to find as many roosting trees as I can in these overlooked areas. Be prepared to put many miles on your truck and boots and you will find a few mouthy gobblers that do not know that the hunting season has been on for weeks. These toms can be hunted with normal turkey hunting tactics.

If, on the other hand you have to be content with hunting the heavily pressured toms don’t despair because even these gobblers are susceptible to smart, or off the wall, tactics. One tactic that I often employ is to set up as close to the roosting tree as possible, often within sight of the tree. Sneak into position as quietly as you would when stalking a buck. Be in position well before dawn and just wait until the tom flies down. As soon he hits the ground start with very soft yelps and purrs. Because you’re that close to the tree the tom often will come straight in to the call.

Another method I use on hard hunted birds is borrowed from my deer hunting tactics arsenal. I simply set up along the route the tom takes every day and wait him out, like stand hunting for deer. To make this work you have to scout and find out what routes the tom takes on his daily routine. Then find a suitable “stand location” and wait until the gobbler passes by you. Leave the turkey calls and decoys in the truck, with this somewhat off the wall tactic you do not need them.

I hope these tips will help you to get your late season gobbler and remember, no matter what keep at it. The season is not over until it is over. The only time you can’t tag a gobbler is when you stay in camp.

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