Best Spring Turkey Hunting Tips of 2017

In this article, we will cover the following topics:

  1. How To Find Turkeys
  2. How to Call Turkeys Effectively
  3. How to Choose The Right Turkey Decoy

Let’s get to it!

How to: Locate Your Turkey

The most important element for locating a good target turkey is to do your due diligence in scouting. You can scout before the season, or during the season; continuing to scout during the season will ensure that you will discover new turkeys who turkey-roosthave entered the area. Lots of new turkeys will appear after migrating during the yearly spring shake-up.

Not only that, but gobblers’ movements can change dramatically. That means you need to find their roosting habitat. Look for food sources (or set up your own food plot..), brush cover, and breeding habitats.

There are plenty of resources on the internet explaining the telltale signs of turkeys in the area. Turkeys love to scratch and peck at the land, and commonly leave plenty of evidence they’ve been around in the form of tracks or feathers. Look for dusting areas and wingtip brushes in the dirt.

How to: Call Turkeys

You may be familiar with the various types of turkey calls out there on the market, including slate/pot calls, box calls, friction calls, diaphragm calls, and more. We previously reviewed the best calling methodologies for each of these calls and the different use cases for each.

Here’s a quick run-down of different turkey call types.

Mouth Calls

Mouth calls, also called diaphragm calls, are super inexpensive but take time to master. These calls are small and durable, not to mention hands-free. If you’re an expert, then you already have some in your arsenal. If you’re new to mouth calling, we recommend buying a few of the best cheap options. Leave it in your TV room and play with it during commercials. We were reading and saw someone suggest practicing while driving. Both are sure-fire ways to pick up mouth-calling quickly.

Pot/Slate Calls

These calls feature a striker and hollowed surface (a “pot”) and are slightly easier to learn than diaphragm calls. Whereas mouth calling is hands-free, pot calls require two hands to operate properly. While they are a bit less convenient and may not be fully weatherproof, pot calls are extremely versatile. These types of calls are increasingly made of glass, which allows for waterproof calling.

Box (“Friction”) Calls

Box calls’ sound occurs thanks to the friction created between a paddle and the lip of the inner box chamber. Like pot calls, box calls are highly versatile but not hands-free.

Locator Calls

One very important call that we’d like to discuss here is the Locator Call. Locator calls are used to surprise turkeys into giving a shock gobble for the purpose of finding the relative location of your tom or jake. These calls work by simulating the sound of a crow, owl, goose, hawk, and more. If you use a shrill locator call when there is a turkey in the area, 9 times out of 10 you will hear a startled gobble. There are some nuances to locator calls, however. An owl hoot will work better than a hawk call at different times.

How to: Choose the Right Turkey Decoy

As a child I didn’t know what turkey decoys were and definitely didn’t understand why you’d want to use one. But now there’s no shortage of information about how to use them, and dozens of dedicated manufacturers. So, which is the best turkey decoy for you? Every turkey hunter will have different priorities when it comes to turkey calls. You should evaluate the different value props and make a decision based on that.

Do you live in an area where you can drive to your hunting ground? Are you going to hunt walking up and down hills all day, or out of a blind? Are you hunting on relatively flat land, or on mountainous terrain? How heavy is the equipment you have to use – are you dressed relatively light or heavy? These are all important factors in choosing the perfect decoy.

With that introduction completed, I will now recommend some different decoys for specific scenarios. This should help you determine the best decoy that best fits your needs.

Turkey Hunting in the Mountains

I have friends in Idaho and parts of Ohio who hunt on rather steep terrain, and who say that they could not possibly carry along a heavy decoy. If you’re like them, and you expect to hunt in a hilly area, I highly recommend you grab yourself an inflatable, foldable decoy that you can stuff into your turkey hunting vest. You’ll also want to ensure that you can deploy your decoy rapidly for scenarios where you need to set up fast. The Flextone Funky Chicken is a great choice here as it’s a relatively resilient, light, and easy-to-set-up unit. Creasing can really hurt the realism of your turkey decoy, so make sure you have one that’s not too sensitive to bending. Also – depending on the type of soil in the area you hunt, you may need a sturdier stake. Sturdy stakes are especially important in rocky areas. Check out our full list of turkey decoy reviews here.


Choosing a Realistic Turkey Decoy

There are a lot of bad-looking turkey decoys out there, and some turkey decoys that look nice at first, but after being used a few times, begin to lose their luster. When you choose a decoy, always make sure you’re buying one that has resistant, non-flake paint. If your decoy loses its contrast and color, it won’t be worth carrying along with you for very long. There are some new types of decoys that provide full motorized motion, but I personally think this is overkill. These decoys are also pretty darn heavy and hard to carry. Making sure that your decoy has a good degree of realism can really make your hunt a breeze.

Choosing a Location For Your Decoy

Not sure where to set up your decoy? This is one of the most difficult facets of decoy use. One key principle is to not go too far off the beaten path. You want your turkey decoy to be where the turkeys are likely to be, and intercept them. If you took our advice earlier in this post and used a locator call to find a jake’s roost, set your decoy up ~150 yards away before daylight and see what happens. When they begin talking at daylight, you’ll be in prime position to lure the gobblers in.

You also want to consider the turkey’s eyesight – not only to see your decoy, but for the turkey to not see you! Turkeys have amazing vision, so you’ll need to place your decoy at a solid ambush point, and hide out with your camo turkey vest. Doing so will guarantee they’re not looking at you, but at your decoy!



The Best Turkey Calls 2018
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