If you are anything like me, just seeing a video like that of big ol’ Toms gets your blood to pumping and your heart to racing. Turkey season in Oklahoma is drawing near in a hurry! Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a new beginner, to turkey hunting, it’s always good to have a refresher on some basic elements of hunting that long beard. There are two types of hunters in the woods during Turkey season, those that do a strut of their own back to the truck with a BIG BOY hanging over their shoulder, and those that limp back defeated because they made a few simple mistakes that wounded their hunt. Here are a few simple tips that will help you bag that bird and bring home dinner!
The early bird kills the big bird! Did you know that the vast majority of birds are shot within the first hour of daylight? Your goal should be to get out of bed, grab a cup (or a pot) of coffee, and get out the door well before sun up. The best way to locate the birds your hunting is to have a general knowledge of where they roost and bust them when they drop from their perch. Most likely the Tom your hunting will give you an indication of where he is before sun up by letting lose a great gobble. Yes, Toms do gobble on the roost. And just in case you can’t catch that bird gobbling, you could always use a crow call or hoot owl call to get them to speak up. If you can locate the birds on the roost, you’ll have a better chance of busting ’em when they fly down. But in order to do so, you need to be there well before sun up…maybe 45 minutes to an hour.
#2: NOT TO CLOSE!
So you choose to wake up early, you found your bird from it’s gobble on the roost and you made your way within a close proximity of the bird; now what? Be careful how close you get to the birds roosting tree. A crucial mistake that many new and even some old hunters make is getting to close to the roosting birds. You want to be within range of that resting flock but no so close as to make them aware of where you are. Turkeys have great hearing, but even better sight. The goal is to be just out of range from where they are roosting and usually you’ll want to set up on a spot that is open enough for those fluttering birds to land in. A little known secret, a back pack makes a great tool to use to mimic the fluttering of those big bird’s wings. A good proximity to the roost is 100 – 150 feet.
#3: CONCEAL WELL!
When planning out your dress for turkey hunting remember turkeys have an acute sense of vision. You will need to do everything in your power to conceal every part of your body, including your face and hands. I prefer to wear a facemask that covers 3/4 of my face, mainly only leaving my eyes exposed, or you can paint up as if going to war. When choosing gloves I like something thin enough to know I will be able to grip my gun well, but thick enough for the cold early mornings to keep my hands warm. Whatever you decide to do, be certain that you are very well concealed and do it according to your surroundings. Another great option is the ghillie suit.
#4: SHOT PLACEMENT!
My first year of turkey hunting, I had a tremendous friend and fellow hunter who took me out for my first shot at killing a good looking Tom. I never will forget the shot I missed that morning. We had been stalking a couple of big boys all morning, talking back and forth through purrs and pecks. We came to an opening in the woods where we quickly realized the Toms curiosity had finally peaked and they were finally responding to our calling. We posted up against a little spruce tree and waited out the birds. It wasn’t 5 minutes when we finally saw the two birds we had been conversing with all morning. The first Tom led out, similar to the one in the picture above, and he was strutting. I had already raised the gun, and prepared my body for the shot stance, but all of a sudden as that big bird came marching toward us I forgot everything my dear friend had told me about putting a kill shot on the bird. My heart raced, my blood pressure sailed, and my steady aim became shaky at best. The bird reached a good shooting distance, around 25 yards, and my friend made the call…..I MISSED!!! My shot placement was all wrong, I sighted in on the birds chest instead of the head. I jerked the shot and my first possible Tom flew to safety across the creek bed over 200 yards away. I couldn’t believe it, I failed! I hung my head and received the well deserved ridicule from my friend over my pathetic shot. This whole story is for this point…AIM AT THE HEAD! Wait for your Tom to lift it’s head, even if it takes longer, and squeeze the trigger when it’s head is fully raised. This will save you from embarrassment and frustration.
These are just four simple steps that will help you make your turkey outing more successful. And as Turkey season approaches, Okie Boys Outdoors wants to offer you the best Oklahoma has to offer in hunting, visit us often as we will provide more tips and tricks for your future hunts. Happy Hunting and God Bless!
OTHER TURKEY HUNTING TIPS:Turkey Hunting in the Rain Choosing the Right Gun OK Gobblers Boots Point A to Point B