As spring turkey seasons cross the midway point and start to head towards the finish line, many hunters are searching for gobbler recipes.
But not all hunters are doing that since many longbeard enthusiasts are still carrying around a pocketful of unused spring turkey tags.
If that describes your plight and you’d like to avoid eating an unpalatable late season helping of Turkey Tag Soup, then keep the following five late-season tips in mind as the gobbler getting campaign winds down in your neck of the woods:
1. Be Mobile: Listen to a springtime bass fisherman with Major League Fishing, the Bassmaster Elite Series or the FLW Tour and you’ll often hear them say “Don’t fish where the fish were, fish where the fish are going.” The same concept applies in spring turkey hunting too. “They come off the roost and move a lot during the course of a day (especially in places like Texas),” said Will Primos, noted call maker from Mississippi and a longtime presence on Outdoor Sportsman Group network television programs. “They will seldom stay close to the roost (as the day progresses), so look for nesting areas, strut zones and feeding areas. Then hunt in and around such spots (as the day goes along).”
2. Mix Up Calling Styles: Turkeys are a bit like my three kiddos that range from 18 to 22 years of age, meaning they have different musical preferences when it comes to what they like to hear on their iPhone playlist. Wild turkeys aren’t any different, especially as the season matures, preferring clear and crisp calling sounds on one day while raspy squawking noises will be required on another. That’s why it pays to carry a mixture of calls with you – I usually have a Lamar Williams box call, a Cody slate friction call, a Cody glass friction call, an aluminum faced friction call and a series of different Primos and Zink diaphragm mouth calls tucked away in my vest on any given hunt. That way if one style of calling doesn’t get a gobbler fired up, then perhaps another one will.
3. Stay Hidden: Years ago, I worked a hillside where a mid-day longbeard was lighting up the countryside with his thunderous gobbles. When that henned-up bird lost interest and quit moving my way, I rolled out of my hiding position, walked across the exposed hilltop and promptly spooked a good satellite gobbler that was working his way in from another direction. All of which went to enforce this particular late-season tip: Stay hidden as you move around your hunting property! “This is especially true in places like Texas where there is little cover and you can see movement near the ground for a long way,” agreed Primos. “You may be causing turkeys that you can’t see to take off running in the other direction … because they can see you!”
4. Find the Water: While this truth might not be as applicable in portions of the Southern and Eastern U.S., it’s certainly true in Texas, Oklahoma, the Great Plains and the Western U.S. where water sources are at a premium. And even back East and down South, as the springtime season heats up, turkeys will often find their way to water, be it a pond, a stream, a river or even a lakeside shoreline. The scarcer water is on the property that you are hunting – especially during periods of drought – the more likely it is that a longbeard will come in to slake his thirst at some point. If you’re hanging around the area, he might sound off with a gobble, putting you suddenly in business.
5. Don’t Hunt Near the Roost: As tempting as it can be when things aren’t going your way during spring turkey season, don’t make a bad situation even worse by hunting near the roost in the late-afternoon hours. First of all, the practice isn’t legal in some areas and it isn’t smart in most others. Why? Because if you spook the birds in the late afternoon as they are going to a consistent roost site, then who knows where they might end up as the season winds down? It could be on a neighboring property, leaving you and your last second gobbler getting chances high and dry.
If you’re trying to fill a last-second turkey tag, keep these five hunting tips tucked away as you seek a close encounter with Mr. Longbeard.
Keeping in mind as long as the season is open, you still have a chance to tag a bird.
So get out there and keep on hunting because you just never know how things will turn out.
And maybe, just maybe, with a little bit of luck and hunting skill, you’ll end up needing a good turkey hunting recipe before the day is done.