Turkey Season is Here, Are You Ready?

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THEINSIDESPREAD STAFF

FEB 21, 2022

Turkey & Hen - The Inside Spread

Category: Turkey

With spring just around the corner, it brings optimism to the air. That is certainly true when it comes to turkey hunting. Brisk mornings hunts and gobbles get hunters all over this nation excited about the season. However, we all know that it is still winter throughout most of the country, so it is an excellent time to start scouting for those spring turkeys if you are itching to get to the woods. If you are new to turkey hunting, don’t worry. You are covered. We will help navigate how to get started with your turkey hunt.

Where to Hunt Turkeys?

According to the NWTF, Turkey hunting in the United States is available in 49 states. Additionally, many of the states have over-the-counter options. You won’t have to travel far to start your hunt this upcoming season. If you are looking for a state to hunt this season, check out the NWTF Spring Hunting Guide. This guide gives you basic information about the upcoming seasons and provides harvest numbers and turkey populations for the previous season.

Before the Turkey Hunt

Scouting for Turkeys can be as important as scouting for deer or elk. You have to figure out where their habitat is in your neck of the woods. This time of the year is the perfect time to be outdoors looking for a sign for turkey. You need to understand the turkeys’ essential needs like most animals, figuring out where they are. For turkey, it is water, cover, food, and grit.

All living animals need water, so there is an exception for Turkey. Turkey prefers reliable and open water sources. Turkeys have been known to survive off the dew on the grass in moist areas to watering holes. You will have to decide where they get their water based on habitat and that you won’t be sure of until you get boots on the ground.

Turkey hunting can be simplified if you find a roosting site. Now that doesn’t mean it is going to be easy. Turkeys are a creature of habit, but if you find yourself too close to their zone, they may choose another roost for the night. You might be thinking, well, if I get near the roost right before sunlight, then I will be ready, and that may work but be warned that they may leave unexpectedly.

Turkeys are omnivores, so they will eat many types of food, including acorns, seeds, grains, berries, small lizards, snakes, roots, foliage, snails, and more. Turkeys are typically forager, and they can eat whatever they are currently walking through. However, they enjoy open grasslands to spend most of their daily eating time. The turkey’s diet can also be linked to season, so in spring, it would be a good idea to look in areas that will have green grasses, small plants, and bugs to eat.

Girt is a commonly overlooked part of turkey hunting. No, this is not about the determination to outlast a turkey. Turkeys have no teeth, so they need something to break down their food; they us organ called the gizzard. Inside of the gizzard, there is grit. The grit is made up of small pebbles and sand. You find turkeys getting their grit from dry creek beds or even a gravel road.

When you are scouting for turkey season and find these areas in conjunction with Turkey sign, you can bet that you may find turkey in just a few months.

During the scouting process, anytime that you find sign in the field, you should mark it on are mapping device or app; onX has a great platform, but don’t be afraid to experiment with HuntStand, BaseMap, or others; make sure to map any suitable habitat or sign that you see on your scouting trip.

Preparing for the Turkey Hunt

After you have spent some good time scouting in the field, you may have a great idea where they will be. The challenge will be to make sure that the Turkey gets close enough so that you can take a lethal shot. This is where camo, calling, and decoys come in. You will also need to spend time at the range, making sure your gun is ready, and your confidence in shooting is on point.

Getting the right camo for the turkey hunt will be based on the surrounding habitat that you are hunting. Turkeys have impeccable eyesight, so it is crucial that you are covered from head to toe with a pattern that will help blend you into the area. Check out our hunting marketplace to see if anything could help you on your next hunt.

Calling is also an essential skill as it will help bring that Gobbler in close. Calling takes many years to master, so start as soon as possible. There are four basic callers that you will need a locator call like a crow call, a slate call, a box call, and a mouth call.

Getting quality decoys will also help achieve your goal of downing a bird or two; the more realistic, the more likely the turkey will recognize that decoy as another turkey.

During the Turkey Hunt

The hunt itself requires you to be there early, dress appropriately, and be ready to call. Getting to the area where you think the turkeys might be can be a task as well since you don’t want to spook them before they get out of the roost, so being quiet and slow should be the mode of movement.

Many seasoned Turkey hunters will use a locator call around first light to give the hunter a good idea of where the turkeys are headed. Hunter typically chooses between an owl hoot and crow call in the morning but will stick with the crow call as needed throughout the day because owls will be non-vocal during the daylight hours.

Once you know where the turkeys are and where they are heading, you can begin to set up an area that will be close by where they may pass through with your decoys. Then it is time to try to call the turkeys in using slate call and box call. If you are successful in drawing the turkeys in, you will want to switch to your mouth call as you will need to be hands-free to hold your shotgun.

Now is the moment of truth, the turkey is in range, you pull up your shotgun, but your bead on the Gobbler, flip off the safety, then shoot. Shoot in a location that will preserve the most meat. This means aiming for the head and neck area. Be ready to jump up and shoot more than once, as turkeys don’t always stay down on that first hit.

You got yourself a turkey. Tag that Gobbler, take a few pictures, and take it home. Honor that turkey by using as much of it as you can for food for your family. Like many hunts, you, the hunter, will spend a lot of time getting prepared versus hunting. In doing so, you will ensure that you will allow yourself the opportunity to succeed.

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