For first time run-and-gunners, the concept of selecting a turkey tree seems simple enough, just pick and sit. However, after hunting with the host of the Turkey Hunting Podcast, Andy Gagliano, on a trip to Alabama, I realized there’s a lot more to it than plopping down against any ole tree.
With the decoy set up out in a green field atop a rolling Alabama hill, Gagliano directed me to find a tree for the mid-day sit. I looked around and found a tree at the edge of the field. I thought it was a sufficient choice and began to sit down.
My mentor watched carefully and kindly suggested I move into the tree line 10 yards. He explained the farther into the woods I get, the more cover I have to hide my movements.
I smiled and walked farther into the woods. Now with an adequate amount of cover, I backed up to another tree. And before sitting down, looked to Gagliano for approval.
Instead of receiving the nod I was hoping for, he walked over to me and whispered, "You may want to find a different tree." I winced, apologized and asked why.
“Do you see this tree in front of you?” he said.
“Yes,” I replied
“It’s too close to you,” he said. “If you needed to swing your gun barrel, you’d have to pick it up and over the tree. That might hinder your shot opportunity.”
His guidance made me realize I didn’t know anything about picking a turkey tree and would likely strike out if I tried again.
It must be known that up until that hunt, I grew up turkey hunting from the comforting walls of a blind, and although his intentions were good, the thought of selecting another unqualified turkey tree made me feel insecure.
That’s when it dawned on me, I could continue to learn the hard way or instead, ask for help and learn how to go about picking a turkey tree from an experienced run-and-gun turkey hunter. So, that’s what I did.
To save you the embarrassment I endured, I’ll share his expertise. Here are six rules to follow when picking a tree to set up against during a turkey hunt.
Once you get situated against the dream tree, free the area of crunchy leaves or sticks that may make noise should you need to stretch or move. After the area is clear, practice shooting in all directions and visualize the longbeard you’re about to kill.
The art of picking a successful turkey tree is just as important as the use of calls and decoys. Finding the right one will be worth the search, and the more you do it, the easier it will get.