LATE-SEASON TURKEY HUNTING STRATEGIES THAT WORK
It’s the final countdown for a wild turkey dinner. You might get lucky and have a tom nearly run you over, but at this point in the game most turkeys have felt the heat. Like fishing for your favorite freshwater species, sometimes you need to trial dangle different lures to see what might be the flavor of the day.
The same holds true for turkeys. You should always vary your calls as you tempt a tom. Late in the season some may be reluctant to move toward a bold hen while others could have had a frustrating dating season and ready for some boisterous action. You should also vary your decoy strategies. Staking a set in the wide open has lots of image appeal, but now may be the time to duck your decoys in a veiled setting. Look for nooks, corners and old trails that prod a tom into hunting for your calls.
My final hurrah to fill a turkey tag required forethought and it’s a strategy I employ routinely when the two-minute warning sounds. Instead of hunting turkeys with my comfort in mind I strategize to ensure turkeys are traveling within their comfort zone.
When you locate a flock or a lone tom your objective is to pinpoint their future travel route. Next, map out a way to secretly move around the turkeys. Give yourself plenty of room and cover to set up in an area where the turkeys would likely want to show up. Make it convenient for the turkeys to show up on their current travel route with confidence. Call sparingly to start with and consider ditching the decoys if you believe the local flock has experienced hunting pressure.
As for my recent hunt I put my Sig Sauer Zulu binocular to use and spotted a flock on an open knob moving away from my current position. Ducking out of sight I used my ScoutLook Weather hunting app to navigate a series of canyons to circle the flock. After the big move I crawled to an adjacent hill right in front of their travel route and staked a hen decoy. My final move was to raise a homemade tail fan and slowly flash it to catch the rising sun. The ruse was ready as I melted into the background in my Mossy Oak.
The moving tail accompanied by a few, soft yelps, caught the attention of the flock’s tom along with several lead hens. Instead of continued calling I eased up and let the tail do most of the work. Minutes later the tom was staring at my setup at less than 10 yards as I filmed, fanned and moved my CVA single-shot 20 gauge into shooting position. When the time was right I sent a load of Hornady Heavy Magnum Turkey on its way.
I missed! Apparently I was juggling too many duties, but I reloaded and stopped the tom with a few more yelps to give me a successful ending to my turkey season. If you are in a “last-call” moment give yourself an edge. Put yourself in the pathway of your intended target. Let them do all the work and come to you on their schedule.