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Plan your Turkey Hunt

February 28, 2022

Plan your Turkey Hunt

Tom turkeys strutting in a field.

You hunt turkeys, you talk turkey, and you love eating turkey. Your only problem with turkey hunting is you don’t get enough of it. You’re not alone. Even if you live in a state with generous seasons and opportunities to take multiple birds, a few good hunts can leave you fired up as a hot gobbler with nary a tag in your pocket. Luckily, there are a few things hunters can do to extend their season. We may never fully satiate our appetite for pursuing the king of spring and the meals that come with him, but you can maximize your time afield, knowing you gave it your all.

Change your mindset on hunting late season birds: Most hunters call it quits after the first few weeks of turkey season. That’s good for you because you’re not most hunters. When temps rise, the woods are thicker than dog hair, ticks are aplenty and clouds of mosquitoes want to carry you away, it’s time to hunt. To be honest, late season hunts can be quite pleasant, so don’t be deterred. I know several expert turkey hunters who prefer the later part of the season. True, thick foliage can make it difficult to see turkeys. Those same woods can hide your approach, allowing you to get in tight to a gobbler, increasing your chance of eliciting a response and getting that bird to commit. Hunting late season birds will likely broaden your turkey tactics as well. If on private land you’ve scouted, know other hunters are not present, and are comfortable with the tactic, reaping or fanning gobblers in open fields can be an exciting way bring a gobbler running in for a close shot.

Go out of state: Alaska the exception, 49 of our great United States hold a spring turkey season. Will an out-of-state tag and the logistics of additional travel cost more? Yes. Do you want to go turkey hunting? Yes. State dependent, turkey season may start well before, or end well after that of your traditional stomping grounds. By analyzing out of state options, you may be able to bookend your season with some great hunts or simply add one to your turkey docket. Out-of-states hunts let you pursue new species, learn their habits, place you in breathtaking landscapes, and inevitably make you develop new turkey tactics. You’ll be a better turkey hunter for it and have a hell of a time along the way.

A tom turkey strutting in a grassy field.

Pick up a bow: Some states offer early archery seasons that get you in the field before the scatter guns start blazing. Taking advantage of these seasons can be as easy as brushing off your current deer setup. You can also add a few turkey-specific pieces of kit like large cutting-diameter broadheads, arrow systems designed specifically for head shots and blinds for concealment. These early season birds can be flocked up in big groups, but if you get in them, you’ll be in them.

Go international: Love turkey hunting and wish the birds acted like they do in the spring in the fall too – book a flight to New Zealand. Along with a stellar turkey hunt full of high adventure in one of the most beautiful landscapes imaginable, you can couple your trip with some of the coolest big game hunting on earth. And let’s not forget the gin-clear streams and world class trout fishing. Of course, for the absolute turkey hunting fanatic, chasing gobbles will be the primary focus. Turkeys aren’t classified as game by the Kiwi’s, so the opportunity is a rear-round option to scratch your turkey itch.

Disguise your turkey hunt as a tropical Vacation: Did you get married in the spring and need to celebrate a milestone anniversary? Do your kids have spring break, and the family wants to spend a week amongst palm trees, white sand beaches and pool-side paradise? Does your sig other have cabin fever and simply want to escape the unrelenting grip of a winter? Do all these scenarios have you biting your nails at the thought burning a week of vacation to not turkey hunt? Hawaii may be your ticket to turkey compromise. Hawaii has a huntable population of turkeys. And with a March opener, it’s the perfect opportunity to spring into some unique turkey action. Public land and bringing a firearm to the island have nuances you will need to research and navigate. Outfitters are available and may be your fast track to turkey success.

When it comes to extending your turkey hunting, think outside the box call, keep an open mind, and consider all your options. It may lead to good times, high adventure, and a few extra gobblers on the ground.

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