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10 Turkey Hunting Tips

Posted by Self Reliance Outfitters on July 23, 2013  

Turkey hunting is a skill that’s both a challenge and a joy to master. While you may not want to pursue becoming a professional turkey hunter, you can certainly improve your chances of turkey hunting by observing some simple tips.


  1. Adequate Camouflage – Turkeys are known for their superior eyesight, and can spot you from a considerable distance if you’re not properly concealed. If you hope to hunt turkey successfully, you must conceal yourself, including your face when turkey hunting. Camouflaging your choice of weapon doesn’t hurt, either.
  2. Learn your calls – The best strategy in turkey hunting is to bring them to you. Mimicking the variety of calls a hen turkey uses can lure big toms into range. Make sure to practice, and try using your call in the field before you have to use it in a hunting situation. Incorporating the proper rhythm of a scratching hen into your calling can also keep a Tom believing a hen is nearby. Experienced turkey hunters know this to be a vital trick when turkey hunting.
  3. Aim for the head– The last thing you want to have to deal with in a survival situation is a missed chance at sustainable food. Due to the multitude of heavy feathers on a wild turkey, a headshot is a more sure location for an ethical kill when turkey hunting. or many, a 12 gauge is the weapon of choice  and is more than ample to harvest a wild turkey. Make sure your shotgun has the proper shot pattern and can hit the small head of a turkey, and not scatter shot over the whole bird.
  4. Turkey hunting is best at dawn – For best results you will want to be set up for turkey hunting before the sun rises in the morning. Remember if possible, to set up with the rising sun in the turkey’s eyes. This will give you an advantage when trying to outwit the incredible eyesight of your quarry.
  5. Find the roost tree– Turkeys roost in trees just like most other birds. As you make your way in the dark to set up within sight of the roost tree, grunt like a deer. This will settle the birds and give them the impression that you are a friend and not a foe. As morning breaks give a few soft calls along with a fly down cackle to give the impression that a hen has flown down and is available for the roosted Tom. Traditional turkey hunting draws in a Tom for a chance at a potential trophy, if forced into a self-reliance situation your hunt will be more about food than the sport. If you can find where the turkeys are roosting, you can shoot one straight out of the tree and into your cooking pot. (Some states prohibit the harvest of turkeys off the roost. Read your state and local game laws to assure you comply.)
  6. Make trial runs – This is important for you to develop your turkey hunting skills. Take a weekend and go find some turkeys. Observe how they behave, and practice your calls without the pressure of needing to make a shot.
  7. Stop calling when they get close – Keep the Tom coming to you by creating curiosity. In a normal breading situation, the hen will go to the Tom. Giving the Tom the idea the hen might be leaving will most often cause him to come to you.
  8. Observe and act – Sometimes birds will be wary of calls, or just will not respond. It is still possible to observe their patterns and set up an ambush if you can determine where they are going. Don’t give up – Turkeys can be very, very stubborn making turkey hunting a true test of patience. It may take you an hour of calling to draw them in, so don’t give up too early if you feel you are in a prime area.
  9. Practice turkey hunting without decoys – Turkey decoys are very popular with hunters, and for good reason. They draw in birds and make them comfortable when they are near you. However, how likely are you to make a decoy part of your survival gear? To make turkey hunting part of your bushcraft, learn to do it without decoys.

Harvesting game is a vital component of long-term survival situations, or sustainability, and developing your skills in this area will give you a sense of self-reliance that nothing else can.

The wild turkey is a great source of food in an outdoor self-reliance situation. Observing these few tactics just might help you achieve a much needed turkey dinner.

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