Autumn is here, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. What better way to prepare for the holiday than by hunting for that turkey dinner yourself? If you’re planning on getting out there and hunting for your own Thanksgiving dinner this year, read our guide and raise your chances of bringing that bird home. Unlike the spring turkey season, both jakes and hens are up for grabs at this time of year. So, grab your gear, avoid these common turkey hunting mistakes, and have a successful hunt.
1. Plan your turkey hunting set-up
When turkey hunting, why is set-up so important? How you set up for a turkey hunt can be more important than your calling skills. This is one of the most common turkey hunting mistakes. How often have you heard stories about gobblers stopping just out of gun range? Planning out your hunt in advance can help you avoid that problem. Scout out the turkey’s stomping ground before the season starts. Look for roosted birds. Pay attention to their normal travel patterns and look for areas where they already feel secure. Find several good hiding spots for your set-up.
When hunting wild game, place your decoys slightly beyond your hiding place; that way, even an educated or nervous turkey will come into range before recognizing the decoys.
2. Don’t underestimate a turkey’s eyesight
The main line of defense for a turkey is their sharp vision. Turkey’s eyes are the equivalent to a deer’s sensitive nose. A turkey’s eyesight is three times better than a human’s. To avoid getting busted by an educated bird, hide behind a tree that is wider than your shoulders. Fade into shadows and stay out of well-lit areas. Invest in camo clothing like a turkey vest that can help break up your human shape and help you blend into the forest or field. Plan your hunt so the turkey will pass by your spot to investigate the decoys.
3. Overcalling is an issue
Overcalling is probably the number one hunting mistake committed by turkey hunters. The easiest and quickest way to tell a turkey where you are is by being a jabber mouth with your calls. We all enjoy hearing a tom pound our ears with ground-shaking gobbles and it’s this addiction that often generates errors. These mistakes are usually related to volume and the intervals between calling sequences. It is easy for even experienced hunters to get caught up in the moment and overkill their calling. Give the turkey time to move between calls. Bring a variety of turkey calls with you into the woods and try using softer volumes to entice that jake the last few feet forward.
4. How far away is that turkey?
During both spring and fall hunting seasons, the woods are relatively open without much cover. The lack of foliage and greenery allows sound to carry greater distances. Under these circumstances, many hunters set up further away from gobblers than they initially think. The trick is to learn how to accurately gauge the distance and plan your set-up accordingly. Some gobblers will stop responding to calls about 100 yards out; it can take a dedicated hunter time to lure them in close enough for the shot. Have patience, scout ahead, and identify several great spots for your set-up so that when you start luring that turkey in, you’ll be prepared.
Learn from the mistakes of other hunters and avoid the above common slip-ups when it comes to hunting down that delicious Thanksgiving turkey dinner. If you’re looking for more tips and tricks on turkey hunting, or need some new decoys and other gear, be sure to visit our hunting goods store located at 340 Bishopsgate Road in Burford, close to Brantford, Simcoe, and Woodstock.