Turkey Tips for the Spring Woods

With turkey season already full swing in some states, here are some tips to make your spring successful.

GOG Team
March 8, 2024

As we get closer to the end of winter and the sun stays up a little longer each day, turkeys are top of mind for many anticipating hunters. For the fortunate ones able to attend, it has been top of mind since the NTWF show in mid-February. Turkey season brings with it more than just time in the woods, it brings with it spring and new growth throughout nature. For me, it is my favorite time of the year and my favorite time to be in the woods. If turkeys haven't already been on your mind, it's due time to break out your calls and knock the rust off to get ready for opening day. As you eagerly anticipate the opportunity to chase gobblers through the woods, it's essential to ensure you're well-prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. From scouting locations to fine-tuning your gear, thorough preparation can make all the difference between a memorable hunt and a frustrating outing. Here are some helpful tips to help you gear up for a successful turkey season:

  1. Scout Your Hunting Area: Before the season opens, spend time scouting your hunting spots. Look for signs of turkey activity such as tracks, droppings, and scratching. Pay attention to roosting sites, feeding areas, and travel routes to ensure you have the best setup possible when opening day rolls around. The more you understand their habits and patterns, the better your chances of leaving with a tom over your shoulder.
  2. Brush Up on Turkey Behavior: Familiarize yourself with the behavior and vocalizations of wild turkeys. Learn to mimic their calls using a variety of turkey calls, including box calls, slate calls, and mouth calls. Practice different calls to master a range of sounds, specifically soft purrs, clucks, and yelps. Don't forget to practice your locator calls. These are critical for locating that gobbler without sounding like a hen.
  3. Check Your Gear: Inspect your hunting gear carefully to make sure everything is in working order. Make sure your calls are in good working condition and your turkey vest is set up to your liking. Check your shotgun and make sure it is clean and well-lubed with a couple of choke tubes to pattern with your shells of choice.
  4. Practice Shooting Skills: Take the time to practice with your shotgun before heading into the field. Practice shooting from various positions and distances to improve your accuracy and confidence. Familiarize yourself with your gun's capabilities and limitations, and set limits for shots that you feel comfortable with. Don't stretch a shot further than your gun and ammunition's capabilities as well as your own personal shooting limitations. Just a couple of days on the range imitation common hunting setups even using birdshot can allow you to get more comfortable with your gun, not to mention boost your confidence.
  5. Plan Your Strategy: Develop a hunting strategy based on your scouting observations and knowledge of the turkey's behavior. Try to put a bird to roost the night before, listening to them gobble as they sit in their roost tree. This can be a major advantage in knowing where to set up on opening morning. Be flexible and prepared to adapt your strategy based on changing circumstances in the field.
  6. Prepare for the Elements: Spring weather can be unpredictable, so dress accordingly and be prepared for a wide range of conditions. Layer your clothing to regulate your body temperature and protect yourself from wind, rain, and cold temperatures. Invest in quality rain gear and waterproof footwear to stay comfortable and dry during long hours in the field. An extra pair of socks tucked in the bottom of your vest will be worth their weight in gold if your feet get wet.
  7. Hunt Safely: Prioritize safety at all times during your turkey hunt. Always treat your shotgun with respect and follow basic gun safety rules. Listen for other hunters who might be hunting the same turkey you are. Always err on the side of caution when you encounter other hunters and communicate with them if at all possible.
  8. Stay Patient and Persistent: Turkey hunting can be challenging, requiring patience, perseverance, and a willingness to learn from both successes and failures. Stay focused, stay positive, and don't get discouraged if you don't fill your tag right away. Remember that every hunt is a learning experience and an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the spring woods. Pay close attention to live birds and study the hens for calling techniques. Studying wild turkeys in the field and their habits and patterns can be some of the best hunting education out there.

As you gear up for turkey season, remember that preparation is key to a successful hunt. By scouting your hunting area, fine-tuning your gear, and planning your strategy carefully, you can maximize your chances of bringing home a trophy tom. So grab your gear, hit the woods, and enjoy time spent in the great outdoors this spring!

*Image Courtesy of Beretta*