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Thoughts From The Field

Blog posts by the
GrowingDeer.tv team

Full Foliage Turkey Tactics

Many states will see the arrival of spring during a portion of their turkey season. Throughout the season the conditions can change drastically. You may hunt early on when no leaves are present. Then, within two weeks the trees are in full foliage. This is certain to change the hunt, but how should your tactics change?

Turkeys in a timbered area

Visibility in timber will soon be limited! Don’t let that keep you from turkey hunting.

First things first, full foliage will drastically affect the way sounds carries. There are many more obstacles in the woods to deflect and absorb sound waves. When you call to a tom, the sound will not carry as far as it would have in the early season. In the same regards, his gobbles may make him sound further away than he actually is. This principle is important to keep in mind when working a bird. Be mindful of the actual distance the bird is from your location. Be natural and do not call too loudly or “sound blast” a gobbler. Calling too loudly when a bird is in close proximity can shut him down. Calling like this is a warning siren to him.

When trees are leafed out, gobblers are forced to search a little more while working through the timber. When underbrush has not leafed out and terrain allows, a longbeard can see further. This may result in birds hanging up out of range. When full foliage occurs, the gobbler is forced to investigate the scene more. His long distance views are now restricted. He is more willing to spend time searching for the hen. This means closing the distance to your setup.

Do not be discouraged by the progression of spring. Gobblers may seem more distant, but calling at the appropriate volumes will increase your success. Even with a limited view, this can work to your advantage. A lonely tom will search for that hen. Take advantage of the hens sitting on nests during the late season. Find a lonely tom, hunt hard and smart.

Chasing longbeards together,

Matt

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Limited Vacation and Tags to Fill

It’s true work gets in the way of turkey season! Sometimes there is no way around it. It can be nearly impossible to take off every morning to enjoy a hunt. What should the approach be to turkey season when you have limited days to fill tags?

Opening day, you just can’t resist going out! There is something magical about opening morning that gets you out of bed and in the woods. If you are like me and cannot resist, then hunt. But when you do scout very intently. What you learn then will be used later. Take notice of the exact locations where birds are roosting. After fly down, remember which ways they travel and what they are traveling to. Opening morning birds can be tough to kill. Longbeards usually have hens with them. The gobbler may simply follow the flock, gobbling every so often. After you have the first day jitters worked out and the scouting report, stay out of the woods.

Here in Missouri our season is only three weeks long. With a few vacation days remaining I’d wait for late into week two or even week three to take off again. Gobblers will most likely be breeding hens for some time. When time is limited don’t waste it calling to henned up gobblers. Let them breed their hens. Then they will begin searching for hens. This is the time when gobblers become more responsive to the call. By this time many hens are out searching to find a location to nest or sitting on their nest already. This makes for lonely, responsive gobblers.

Your opening day scouting report can help determine where the birds are roosting. You know the general area of where to start your hunt. Once that bird sounds off, you also have a good idea of where they are likely to travel to. Setup and let the show come to you! Plan your days in the turkey woods accordingly. Learn early, then get in and hunt when the odds are more in your favor. Don’t let minimal vacation days stop you from filling your tags!

Chasing longbeards,

Matt

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How To Setup On A Gobbler

You hear a bird on the roost and you start to close in on his location. Immediately you think where can I setup? How close can I get? You want to be close enough to peak the gobbler’s interest but not risk spooking him.

Strutting tom

A strutting tom works a narrow ridge on a small clover plot.

After hearing a bird on the roost there are some general rules that I follow as I setup. First off, I map out the gobblers route to me. I imagine how he would make his way to me. The gobbler will work in using the terrain to his advantage. From here I make my first move. This may mean circling completely around the gobbler.

After doing my best to predict the route he may take, I determine where I want to setup along that route. I look for visibility, but cover as well. I want to have a shot opportunity but I do not want to be sitting in the wide open. I also do not like to setup close to the edge of a ridge. These places are great ambush points for predators. A turkey coming into the call will likely circle you or hang up if he is forced into this situation. Each setup I ensure visibility, cover, and room for the bird to work in as he finishes.

I look for all of the factors above to be about 200 yards away from the roost tree. Getting in to tight to the roost tree limits the gobbler’s approach to you. If you crowd him on the roost he is more likely to circle you. Another reason to stay further back is that if you need to move your setup, you have the room to do so. Your setup should not handcuff yourself nor the turkey.

The 200 yard mark allows my soft tree yelps at first light to carry to the roost tree. I simply let the gobbler know where I am. From that point on my other calls will hopefully convince him to come. The bird has the terrain to his advantage and room to work in while I have visibility and cover. If I can coax him within range of a Long Beard XR round, this usually means I punch a tag.

Chasing longbeards together,

Matt

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Turkey Hunting: 5 Tips To Tag A Tom In The Late Morning

Hunting a bird right off the roost can be tough! Naturally, they wait for the hens to come to their roost tree. Hunters try to reverse this and entice a gobbler to come to them. If you’ve experienced this you may wonder, is the hunt over after a gobbler flies down and gets with hens? How do I remain successful when I don’t harvest a gobbler off the roost?

These lonely gobblers make prime candidates to chase during a late morning hunt!

These lonely gobblers make prime candidates to chase during a late morning hunt!

The hunt is not over, unless your honey-do list is long. If you can remain patient your chances of success increase. Once a gobbler has flown down and met his hens, do your best to keep him gobbling. This isn’t to call him in. It’s simply to keep tabs on his location. Turkeys can cover a lot of ground quickly. Using a crow call (watch a short video of calling here) during this time of the hunt works well. As the season progresses and hens are bred, they will begin to search for nesting locations. Hens may fly down and congregate with other turkeys but then soon leave. This means gobblers are left alone. A lonely gobbler is a good gobbler to have in your turkey woods.

Keeping the gobbler vocal allows you to make the appropriate setup once his hens have left. Toms may begin to gobble on their own once this occurs. They are lonely making this is your time to strike! Gobblers are already on their feet and searching for the hens to accompany them.

To put the odds further in your favor, your setup should be very approachable. Do not force that gobbler to walk down a hill or through a tight pinch point. If you do, he will most likely circle behind you or hang-up out of range. Instead make his approach a safe one. This may mean getting your boots moving to circle behind him. Get to where the terrain allows him to close the distance safely. Even though this bird wants to be with a hen, he wants to survive. You’ve been patient all morning; take the extra time to get setup correctly.

Hunting longbeards mid-morning can be extremely successful. Do not give up on the gobbler if you don’t bag him at first light. Stay persistent and keep him gobbling. Waiting a turkey out until he is lonely is often a recipe for success.

Chasing longbeards together,

Matt

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