Hunting turkeys is one of the most challenging of hunts I’ve experienced and it is fun. With a turkey’s brain being the size of a quarter, there cannot be a thought pattern there, but they sure act like it. It is all in their sight and hearing that makes them such a challenge. They can see at really long distances but when you are up close, they seem to be confused and become really easy targets. Getting them up close is the first challenge once you have found where they are running. It is amazing how they will be right along the shoulder of the highways pecking and scratching, totally ignoring the passing traffic. Being out in the field and seeing them at 100 yards or more changes things entirely. When they spot you, they will run like the wind. When hunting, the first rule is to be extremely well- concealed with no movement. I wish I had vision like a turkey.
This season, another call will be added to the one that is currently used. Reading all the magazines, the professional turkey hunters have an array of calls at their disposal. The second item to add is to expand the decoy spread with additional hens. I currently use the Pretty Boy-Pretty Girl combination and add a couple of hen decoys to the mix along with a jake. I will definitely add more hens. My friend John has a decoy with a tom mounting a hen. He needs to throw that one away. The attacking toms have beaten and scratched the thing to death. He claims that when he first put it out, the toms just poured out of the woods and jumped all over the decoy. It really made them mad and they wanted to fight the decoy. I have had a tom circle my Pretty Boy decoy. Trying to get my camera out to take a picture did not work, so he was promptly harvested. I am in the eating business not the picture business, but it was neat to watch.
Turkey season opens Saturday April 16th through May 31st in Nebraska. Iowa has several seasons, but I hunt the 4th season that runs May 4th to May 22. I like to hunt later in the season because the toms should have all the hens bred out and will be more receptive to decoys and calls. I have access to four farms, but will probably only hunt two of them since these hold the most birds. Hunting private ground is totally unlike hunting public lands.
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If you are hunting private land and will be only one of a couple of hunters on the ground, you have a distinct advantage over the public lands. There is no pressure and the birds have not heard a lot of calling. Also there is limited human access in the area. You will need to determine where they are running and position yourself in the general area.
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Before the season, I visit each farm and spend time in the early morning just to watch and listen to see where the birds are hanging out. It has worked for me in the past and continues to each season. Next is a visit with the farmer. They see the birds constantly and can head you in the right direction. The farmer will know where they are roosting. Being in the general area where they roost, will provide an excellent opportunity for success.