Best Improvement to my Turkey Hunting

wildernessmaster

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 12, 2020
Messages
297
Location
Pittsboro NC
First let me say, I have only been turkey hunting for about 4 years. While about every other year I try to go out to my cousins in Oklahoma and get some "schooling", a lot of my turkey hunting has been in public lands in NC. That's a hard damn place to hunt a turkey (unless your at the coast - then it is only slightly better).

Like a lot of hunters, I sometimes get caught up in gimmicks. Buying this or that latest call, or decoy or... you name it, it has bitten my arse too!

That said, I wanna share probably the best improvement purchase I have made to my turkey hunting. I already have seen vast improvements in my scouting and turkey woodsmans skills - more so, it is truly a no-loose purchase!!

So what is it?

I bought chickens... Yes, recently I moved out to a small farm and my fiance loves chickens - so we bought some. As I have worked with them more and more, I have begun to see things I was totally missing turkey hunting. What is that - you ask?

1. Vocalizations and Sub Vocalizations - While chickens and turkeys are different, being around the chickens I have started hearing sounds that I remember hearing (similar) turkey hunting. I now realize I was probably on turkeys way more often, just didn't know the subtle vocalizations and sub-vocals I was hearing.

2. Signs - I thought I was good at signs. I have found turkey poop on the top of Montana mountains that everyone swears didn't have turkeys in them, and swamps of NC that no one believed (until I brought the pictures) held them. But boy was I missing signs. Poultry (chickens, turkeys, etc) have some unique sign behaviors I never realized. Scratch areas bigger than deer scrapes, overturned brush and small branches, bald spots... Each day I watch my chickens I learn some new ones.

3. Movement and concealment patterns - We partially let ours free range and I have fields, woods, yards... So as I sit out watching them I have started seeing patterns of movement that I have seen with Turkeys but I now can correlate those better and to conditions better. For instance, recently when an owl started flying through the area, all of the birds moved to much heavier cover and balled up more. Or like when they hear a noise, they run to specific types of locations.

4. Noise sensitivity - We all know with big game like deer and elk you have to use pristine noise mgmt. Well so do you with turkeys. Yep in fact, its weird how birds respond to noises - I learn more each day but here are some interesting tidbits that I think can apply to turkeys as well... 1) foreign (new, loud, odd, etc) noises will spook poultry insanely. If my voice changes loudness, or I try to make a turkey gobble sound or anything they aren't use to - they will haul boootie! 2) conversely trained/ingrained noises they will either move to or be curious about. Yep my lawn mower doesn't bother them one bit, in fact they all move toward it. My fake gobble I occasionally do they run like bats out of hell.

Hear are some of my hunting turkeys take aways (and I will update as I have more):
1. Bad calling probably is spooking the hell out of your birds. You are probably better off to call soft and what you do really, really well.
2. I will spend more time listening, any head sock off my head, when I am hunting turkeys - not for gobbles but for some common sub vocals. With time and as we add turkeys to our poultry I will try to capture some of these. But these sounds may be more important than gobbles, purrs, etc.
3. How I will scout and look at land to hunt is changing. More specific updates on that as I narrow those down.
4. My noise management in the field is going to become more important than my camo. Trust me birds can hear really really well.
5. Turkey poop is secondary to feeding signs now in my turkey hunting book. These are better to find and tell you a lot more.

So turkey hunters... If you want a non-gimmick you can add to your turkey hunting "improvements" buy some chickens. Oh and the eggs you will start eating are to die for!

More updates to come. Like I said, we hope to be adding game turkeys to our farm soon!!
 

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