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Turkey Hunting #2 In AmericaTurkey Gobbler With tail feathers Spread

Turkey hunting has become the #2 wild game hunted in America today. This was not always the case, but thanks to a resurgence of a dying turkey population, due to wildlife management efforts turkeys are abundant.

So now we have the art of the turkey hunt. It really is an art to be able to call up these beautiful birds whether it is for hunting or viewing purposes. You see the turkey can be very clever as it is a cautious bird that can leave the area in a flash.

Whether you hunt turkey with a bow or a gun, we hope to give you enough information on turkeys and how and where to hunt them to get you on your way to successful turkey hunting. But as with anything worth doing practice makes perfect. So let's get started by discussing the turkey's characteristics, habitat and other pertinent information.

A Few Facts About Turkeys - Huntland.Com

Characteristics of Wild Turkeys - Gobblers and Hens

The turkey is perhaps the king of all game birds, it makes its’ nest in trees and on the ground and is kin to the quail and the grouse. The turkey is a fairly tall bird well adapted for walking, running and flying. Wild turkeys are very smart birds with rather large brains and endocrine systems which enable them to survive in the wild. Adult males are know as gobblers or jakes, they are about two time the size of hens and normally weigh between 16-30 pounds. While adult hens weigh in a meager 6-12 pounds. One of the main differences physically between gobblers and hens is the gobbler’s head coloration of shades of red, white, blue head and neck. The gobbler also has a beard protruding from his chest and sets of spurs which are located on the back of the leg near the foot.

Where Turkeys Hang Out And Live - Huntland.com

Turkey Habitats

The habitat of the turkey has changed since the days of the pilgrims and other European settlers. The large forested areas that were uncut are now gone. But despite the lack of large forested areas the wild turkey has managed to flourish because of its’ great ability to adapt to the surroundings. Wild turkeys are forest dwelling birds who require at least 40% of their habitat to be well matured forest areas. These forest areas can contain such trees as Oaks, Pines, and hickories. However turkeys have been known to survive on land that is sparsely forested.

Wild turkeys roost in trees at night, normally pine trees or large mature oaks these roosts offer protection from predators and also severe weather conditions. They will flee to the roost or available trees at the first sign of danger. The turkey’s habitat condition is greatly linked to the density of turkey population.

What Turkeys Eat And How They Range

Food And Water For Turkeys

The turkey is an opportunist and will eat almost anything. The turkey is an omnivore and its’ diet consist of about 90% plant matter and about 10% animal matter. While acorns are the main food in a turkey’s diet it also feast on fruits, greens, seeds and some insects.

It is thought that acorns make up about 50% of a turkey’s winter diet but in areas where forestation is slim, there are a few agricultural crops such as corn, soybeans which are utilized to fulfill the dietary needs. Another thing that is needed for wild turkeys is a permanent water supply within roughly a ¼ mile area. A permanent water supply may come from rivers, streams, or lakes and wetlands. Nesting and roosting will normally occur within 100 yards of this permanent water supply.

The wild turkey can range many miles in a day’s search for food and eats many a pound of insect and seeds along the way. A well-planned food plot can help keep the birds in your area and with a better food source to produce a trophy well worth the effort. The beautiful coloring and plumage results from good diets.

By understanding the needs of turkeys in their habitats you may provide the proper environment to keep turkeys on your property or hunting lodge.

Spring Turkey Gobbler Hunting - Huntland.Com

Basic Strategies For Turkey Hunting

If you are new at turkey hunting I am going to recommend that you do these three things first:

  1. You need to purchase or rent an instructional video on how to locate roosts, choose a stand with attention to concealment and also how to correctly utilize calls and calling methods.
  2. Secondly you need to purchase your own turkey-calling device whether it is a box caller or a diaphragm. You must also practice with these calls extensively for it is very difficult to fool gobblers.
  3. Finally I would suggest that on your first few outings to join an experienced friend if possible or hire a local guide to assist and coach you throughout the venture.

When preparing for a turkey hunt you must scout out an area where turkeys roost or feed. This would be places that fit the description of the above information on turkey food and water. Also refer to the section on habitat so that you may understand where turkeys may roost.

Signs That you have Found A Turkey Roost - Huntland.com

How To Recognize A Turkey Roost When You Have Found It

One good indication of a turkey’s presence is of course tracks. Turkey hen tracks are around 4 ½ inches long anything larger is most certainly a gobbler. Droppings can also be used to indicate a turkey’s presence. An adult male will leave a scat several inches long knobbed into a J-shape. Also the ground under a roost may often have a noticeable amount of tracks, feathers and droppings.

I have located roosts by simply walking through the woods in the morning. If you do not see them first you will get quite a fright as turkeys fly to the roost upon being startled by me. I have also been lucky to see turkeys walking across fields at dusk or even in the middle of the day!

How To Hide From Turkeys Using A Turkey Blind

Finding Or Building A Turkey Blind

Man Hunting Behind A Natural Blind

A turkey blind is just the same as it sounds it is an area in which the turkeys will be "blind" to your presence. This blind may be a natural copse of trees or brush or it may be something you have to build out of local brush.

As you can see in the picture here on the right, this hunter has positioned himself behind brush to establish a blind. The trick is to stay very still and quiet, call the turkeys up using a turkey call, then as they come into range slowly stand and shoot. Hopefully you will bag that big gobbler that you have been waiting for! Of course if hunting is not your forte', then you may "shoot" with your camera. There is not much that can compare to close contact with these beautiful but elusive birds. Turkeys in flight to their roost are an awesome sight to see and hear.

Calling All Turkeys To Your Location

The Art Of Calling Turkeys

Now having found an area that turkey gobblers and hens are living and established a place out of sight to hunt, the next step will be to locate the bird, but more than likely you will have to locate turkeys by sound rather than sight. Hoping to draw them in with your calls. Use turkey calls sparingly perhaps in 5-minute intervals between each call depending on how the gobbler reacts. Make no sound at all when a turkey is approaching for his sight and hearing are very keen and at the first hint of danger the turkey will flee quickly within seconds.

There are gifted people that can make the sounds of a turkey hen or turkey gobbler with their mouth. For the rest of us there are few options in manufactured turkey calls of varying types. Some turkey calls are used to make the sound of a hen, some a gobbler and some turkey calls do both. We have listed turkey calls below here.

We cannot stress enough the importance of practicing with your turkey calls. Again you may want to get a video or book on the art of turkey calling.  An experienced guide or fellow turkey hunter can also be invaluable in teaching you the use of turkey calls.


 

What To Wear When Hunting Turkeys - Huntland.com

Turkey Hunting The Importance Of Camouflage

Another turkey hunting must is good hunting camouflage. Most turkey hunters cover themselves entirely (including their faces) in camouflage. The trick is to break up your body's silhouette so that you look like the environment that surrounds you. You must wear camouflage that breaks up your silhouette and make you appear less human to the gobblers eyes.

It is imperative that you wear full camouflage when hunting the elusive turkey. We recommend, in addition to your regular camouflage, that you add gloves, a hat and face camouflage when hunting turkey. The turkey is a very smart bird and is perhaps the most difficult game to hunt in the United States. Practice is the only way to assure success and unfortunately practice only comes through failure and patience, so have fun and be silent.

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