Soggy Bottom Birds

Swamp gobblers can defy a lot of the conventional wisdom associated with turkey behavior, but patience and perseverance can result in memorable hunts.  

  • Scout before the season. Know good roost spots, common travel corridors and where it is and isn’t safe to tread.
  • Many swamp birds like to roost near or over water.
  • After roosting is over, they fly down to drier ground.
  • Start your hunt on dry ground, and call the birds to you.
  • Be patient. Stop calling after a bird has responded.
  • Be prepared for rain in many Southeastern states. Lightweight raingear or a camouflaged umbrella can help you stay comfortable. A low “strutter” seat can help you avoid soggy-bottom syndrome.
  • Set up at a low spot along the bank where turkeys usually fly across.
  • Hunting from a blind helps and greatly decreases the likelihood of bumping birds.
  • Use a Thermacell in your blind or wherever you set up. Mosquitoes and gnats can be relentless in a swamp. Bugs in your face tend to make you move, and swamp turkeys are keen to the slightest movements in thick cover.
  • Learn to hear their calls through thick vegetation that can distort distances.
  • Similar to showing restraint with hen calls, don’t overdo it with locator calls. Swamp birds sometimes won’t to gobble until they fly down.
  • Find their favorite roost trees.
  • Set up a couple of decoys on the closest dry ground to where the birds usually exit the swamp. Visibility from a distance is the key.
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