The gobblers are strutting and the game is on. Make sure you’re ready with these proven strategies.
by Pete Muller, National Wild Turkey Federation, for HuntDaily
Spring is the time of year we turkey hunting fanatics look forward to most. We make sure we have our tags in hand long before opening day, we practice our calls so we can sound like the reigning Grand National Champion, and we might even do a bit of preseason scouting.
But in preparing for our favorite day of the year, there are some things we often forget to consider. Here are a few tips that will help make your turkey season more successful, or at least more enjoyable.
Pattern Your Combo
Knowing where the center mass of your shot will hit at varying distances can be the difference between a notched tag and tag soup. This has always been the case, but it is even more critical today thanks to improved cartridge performance, prevalent use of choke tubes, quality camo and concealment, and the fact that turkey hunters are just getting better at closing the distance for the shot.
These closer distances also mean that knowing your shotgun/cartridge point-of-impact is more vital than ever. Set up a target at 40 yards. You’re looking for a pattern that delivers around 100 pellets into a ten-inch circle at this distance. Once you have a choke/cartridge combination that delivers this performance, shoot at 30, 20, and ten yards and note the point-of-impact of the cluster center. With this information, you’ll know exactly where to aim out to your shotgun’s maximum lethal range.
Use Proper Gun Care
Next to our turkey tags, our gun is the most important thing in our hands when in the field. But, it isn’t always treated as such. Even when cleaned and stored away at the end of each season, shotguns should be given a once-over to make sure all moving parts are properly lubricated.
For preseason maintenance or for those hunters who travel around the country each season and need to care for their gun on the road, Birchwood Casey’s 2-Pack of Gun Scrubber & Synthetic Gun Oil Aerosol is a simple solution.
And, if you are swapping out chokes from fall to spring hunting seasons, apply some choke tube lube to ensure your chokes doesn’t seize up after exposure to the elements.
Match Your Gear to Your Terrain
No matter how the general public views turkey hunting, our spring pursuits do not solely take place in hardwood forests. Osceola and Eastern turkeys, for example, can be chased through swamps or pine plantations across the South. Rios can be found from the scrub-brush landscapes of Texas to the river bottoms of the Great Plains, and Merriam’s occupy much of the Rocky Mountains.
Depending on the terrain you hunt, you may require different features from your turkey-hunting vest.
The typical hunting vest is made for hunters posting up at the base of a tree wider than their backs, and it requires pockets to carry numerous pot, box, and mouth calls. Vests like the Super Elite 4.0, the NWTF’s heritage piece from ALPS OutdoorZ, offer more than 20 pockets as well as a removable padded seat for the more mobile hunter.
In recent years, vests have become more versatile, offering back support and the ability to set up on turkeys even in areas with few or no mature trees for back rests. The Grand Slam Vest features a convenient kickstand frame for such occasions. This year, the Grand Slam boasts a slew of new upgrades and is one of the more popular vests on the market.
The western hunter and the hunter who likes to run-and-gun often settles for a backpack to tote their turkey gear. For this style of hunting, consider the Long Spur, also from ALPS OutdoorZ. This innovative harness-style vest provides front facing chest pockets for box and pot calls, a small waist pack, and a removable and protective diaphragm call case.
Free Yourself of Bugs
Turkeys have some of the most acute hearing and eyesight in the animal kingdom, meaning you cannot spend your time in the woods swatting at pesky flies and mosquitos—at least not if you hope to see any gobblers.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past decade, you already know of the easiest solution—ThermaCELL portable mosquito repellers. It may seem like magic, but ThermaCELL units really do work, and they work well.
New for 2017 is the MR450 repeller. This beefed-up version of the ThermaCELL appliance is rubber coated, starts more quietly, is better ventilated, and features a blue light to alert users to when the heating element has reached optimal temperatures.
Give Back to the Organization That Gives You Turkeys
If you hunt turkeys, logically, you should be a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation. No other conservation organization does more for this cherished game bird than the NWTF.
While populations are quite stable, with hunting seasons in 49 states, the work of the NWTF is far from over.
Today, the organization dedicates its efforts to the Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative, a 10-year plan to conserve or enhance four million acres of habitat, recruit 1.5 million hunters, and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting and shooting enjoyment.
Help preserve the future of hunting by becoming a member today.
article copyright © 2017 by HuntDaily.com; promoted by National Wild Turkey Federation