By Steve Hickoff
Don’t care for the time-honored tactic of finding and scattering fall turkey flocks before trying to call individual birds back to the gun or bow?
No worries. You can call the whole intact flock to you too, and kill one that way.
Scout Hard: One of the best ways to cover a lot of ground to find fall flocks is on your Yamaha ATV or Side-by-Side. Glass open areas in pastures and fields where autumn turkey flocks target fall food sources. Return there during the season to stake a claim on your turkey.
Find the Roost: Abundant droppings, molted feathers, tracks and nearby dusting areas may indicate a frequented roost site. If you’ve patterned turkeys first, simply hunt these unpressured birds when the season begins.
Get in Early: Take measures to get as close to the roost to start your morning’s fall turkey hunt off. Use terrain to hide your position and the possible movement of running a friction call, but near enough that you can pinpoint the location of turkeys by sound as they fly down and move to where they want to be.
Listen Hard: Fall turkeys talk on their roost limbs before fly-down time. Their wings flap and birds cackle as they wing to land. The time right after autumn birds get on the ground is when you’ll likely hear the most flock talk – kee-kees from juvenile turkeys, cluck and yelps from brood hens and other adult female turkeys, and even gobbling (yes, in the fall too) should be expected.
Mimic Birds: As calling goes, imitate the turkeys you’re hearing on the ground. Even if they don’t come all the way to your shooting position, it will allow you to track and continue to locate birds as they move along the terrain you’re hunting. This puts you in a position to make strategic repositioning moves. We’re not advocating “stalking” here, but rather setting up where you think fall turkeys will come to check out your calling.
Close the Deal: Again, use terrain to hide your movements. Keep calling to vocal birds. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes the brood hen will bring the whole flock to your position to check out the vocalizations you’re making. If you’re hunting broodless adult hen flocks and gobbler gangs, that’s true for these groups too.
Okay, you’ve got them in range now. Pick out your Thanksgiving turkey.