FALL TURKEY HUNTING WITH STICK AND STRING
When people think about hunting turkeys, most people think about hunting them in the spring. If you are a hardcore bowhunter, you should also think about hunting them in the fall. There are a many reasons to hunt them in the fall. For starters, very few hunters hunt deer all day. I sometimes hunt deer in the morning or evening and hunt turkeys for a few hours during the lull of the day. I don’t miss out on any deer hunting action and I get to turkey hunt all in the same day. Turkey hunting in the fall can be actioned-packed so ignoring turkeys in the fall is never something I do. In the fall, you can typically take gobblers, hens and young turkeys. When I am hunting, I usually end up killing younger birds. Immature turkeys make a great meal. Unlike an old gobbler that often tastes like cardboard, a young bird is tender. My wife and I typically make turkey pot pie out of my fall birds. One of the main reasons a bowhunter should chase turkeys in the fall is because there are lots and lots of turkeys in the fall. The odds of tagging a turkey with a bow are good. It is estimated that up to half of the young birds that are alive in the fall will not make it through winter. By taking one for Thanksgiving dinner, you won’t be affecting the turkey population. I hunt turkeys with dogs in the fall. My dogs run into the middle of a flock of birds, bust up the flock by barking and chasing the birds. I then sit down and call the birds back in. All the birds don’t rush to the call. Instead, they often sneak in one or two at a time to check and see if the yelping they are hearing is from a real hen. It can take hours for an entire flock to get back together. Because they come in one or two at a time, if you miss one with your bow all you have to do is sit tight, call again and there is a good chance you will get a shot at another turkey. Second chances don’t happen very often when bowhunting. When bowhunting turkeys in the fall, they do.
If you don’t have a dog to break up a flock of birds don’t worry; many hunters simply sneak up on a flock and run into the middle of the flock, causing all the birds to fly in many directions. When they birds are separated, you can sit down and call them back in. When turkeys get separated from each other, they always want to get back together. Calling them back together can be done easily if you are a good caller. In the fall, most turkey hunters do the kee kee run call of an immature bird instead of yelping like an adult hen. Lastly, if you don’t want to bust up a turkey flock, another option is patterning them. If you can find a good food source like a corn field, oak tree or place where they chase early fall grasshoppers, you can sit and wait for them like you would a deer. Placing a trail camera near a food source is a great way to determine when the turkeys are passing through a certain area. Bowhunting turkeys can be fun and frustrating, but the work is worth it if you fill a tag. Having a wild turkey for Thanksgiving dinner is far more rewarding than a store bought one.
BY TRACY BREEN About the author: Tracy Breen is a full time outdoor writer, consultant and game dinner speaker who often discuss how he overcomes cerebral palsy. Learn more about him at www.tracybreen.com