It’s spring turkey season and you’ve located a tom. Now what? The objective is to develop an approach that will allow you to get close enough to call in the tom without spooking it.
If you hear a tom gobble on the roost the night prior to a hunt, set up 30-minutes before legal shooting light the following morning. If hunting from a ground blind, setting it up the night before will allow you to silently slip into it the next morning, which is ideal on calm, cool mornings when sound easily carries. Turkeys don’t like flying at night, which is why moving in darkness is wise.
If you’ve located a tom before daylight by using locator calls, decide on the best place to set up, and quickly get there. If you accidentally make noise when approaching the calling location, get to your spot and sit in silence for 15 minutes, letting the woods settle down.
When approaching the calling site, avoid crossing openings and use cover to hide movement. You may need to take a longer route to reach your calling location, but it’s worth the effort, for once a turkey sees you, it may not come in.
Once at the calling location, situate the gear you’ll need. If using a slate call, arrange the strikers on the ground next to you with the tips elevated so they don’t get dirty or wet. If using multiple box calls, have them next to you, not buried in a hard-to-reach pack or vest. You want to be able to get to your calls with minimal movement and noise.
When setting up on turkeys in the daylight, be sure to utilize cover when moving. Turkeys have exceptional vision, and if they see you, there’s virtually no chance of calling them in.
If hunting with a shotgun, set up at the base of a tree, stump or log that’s wider than your shoulders in order to breakup your body’s outline. Arrange the calls beside you for easy access. Having a thick cushion to sit on will allow you to stay comfortable for extended periods.
Turkeys often travel paths of least resistance. Setting up near trails and openings with few impediments, even on the edges of fields or meadows, will increase the likelihood of a turkey approaching your calls. This is where a decoy is handy, too, for once a tom sees it, it’s more likely to come close.
By locating a tom, then moving to a calling site without being seen, turkey hunters greatly increase their chances of success. Wild turkeys have many predators in the wild, and they are highly aware of what’s going on around them, so be cautious. The more stealth a hunter applies when setting up, the greater the chance of filling a spring turkey tag, no matter what time of the season.