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Spring Guide to Turkey Hunting
Tucker Leibfried
Monday, March 01, 2021

Preparation

Before you begin turkey hunting, make sure you have your turkey license and tag, a weapon of choice, like a bow or 12 gauge shotgun, and, of course, camouflage. 

To prepare for turkey hunting season in the spring, you need to locate the nearest tom turkey in your area the evening before going out on the morning hunt. Going into the hunt not knowing if there are any turkeys nearby would drastically decrease your chances of closing the deal on a tasty bird. You can find turkeys by using locator calls such as an owl hoot, a crow caw, a coyote howl, or a loud noise.  A gobble resulting from a loud noise is called a shock gobble.

In the morning, after you have located your target gobbler, find a spot to set up about one hundred yards away from where you last heard turkeys. Pick a spot with lots of cover to better blend in with your surroundings. Turkeys have spectacular eyesight and good hearing so make sure you stay very still and quiet throughout the whole hunt.  

The Hunt

When the sun starts to come up, turkeys will start to awaken from their sleep. When turkeys feel up to it, they will start communicating with each other using gobbles, clucks, purrs, yelps, and more. Gobbling is done by a male turkey, usually a tom or jake. Yelps, purrs, and clucks are done typically by a female turkey called a hen. 

When trying to attract a tom, something as simple as a hen yelp does the job. To call in a tom in the morning, try doing a couple of light purrs and yelps from a slate call to start off. Once you get the tom to fly down out of his roosting tree, he will slowly start making his way to you. There are a lot of factors in a turkey's behavior. In the mindset of a turkey, the female is supposed to go to the male instead of the male going to the female like humans are familiar with. Playing with a tom's mind is the name of the game. Also, turkeys do not like to cross roads, creeks, or fences. If you convince a Tom to cross any of those, then congratulations, your calling must be pretty decent. 

Once you get the tom on his way to you, he will expect you to do some of the work too and close the distance. Stay where you are, put down your slate call, and put your mouth call, otherwise known as a diaphragm, in. Do four to six yelps with the mouth call. When the tom answers back with a gobble, you answer back with another sequence of four to six yelps. If he gobbles back once more, hit him with an excited yelp sequence. An excited yelp just means that something is getting the hen worked up. This makes the tom curious because he does not know whether it is he getting the hen worked up or another gobbler that he cannot see. That is why the excited sequence will really get the tom fired up. After you get him fired up, he will continue to gobble and move towards your position trying to find you. This is the most important part; do not perform any more yelps and remain quiet. The reason is that when the tom hears you call, he may stop in his tracks and wait for you to make the distance to him. When he shows up, do not make any fast movements; the turkey will notice you. Try to wait for him to look away, then make slow movements to get ready for the shot. 

Post Hunt

After making a successful shot, you will have a deceased turkey on your hands. When cleaning your trophy bird, to make the memories last, take a picture, then cut off the turkey’s beard, fan, and spurs. Then finish cleaning the rest of the bird. Take the scraps of what's left of your turkey and dispose of them properly. In my opinion, the turkey’s best part to eat is its breast meat. After you have cut them out and cleaned them off, place the breasts in a Ziploc bag and head home. 

When you get home, as soon as possible, gather up a big bowl, cold water, ice, salt, and a knife. Fill the bowl with cold water, ice, and salt. Then take your turkey breasts out of the Ziploc bag and use the knife to further clean the breast meat so that there is no fat on it. Put the breasts in the bowl and put the bowl in the fridge. In the end, be sure to thank God for blessing you with a successful hunt.