Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Quick-Shot Spring Gobblers

Study your state’s annual turkey kill data. This can help you find areas that consistently hold turkeys; year in, and year out. With such information, you can take less time for a quick-shot quality hunt. NWTF media photo.

By Steve Hickoff 

Want a quality turkey hunt in less time? Sure you do. 

Last spring I drove just over two hours from my log home in Maine to cross the Vermont border a little after Opening Day fly-down time. I’d studied state turkey kill numbers as usual, and picked a public land spot to stake my claim. Not long after arriving, I located three birds (two gobblers and a hen), and moved on them. They spooked at my hurried approach. No matter. I settled in, let the woods calm down. I offered some calls, and waited; waited a bit more. Suddenly, a dark movement, and the turkeys — first the hen, then the trailing gobbler duo — worked to my position. I dropped the nearest gobbler, checked the turkey in at a nearby convenience store/bait shop, drove two-plus-hours, and made it home just after noon.

Quick-shot hunts in my home state, and the places I road trip to, often involve small habitats that border larger areas. I try to study turkey behavior in the spots I flash hunt regularly. Your Yamaha ATV or Side-by-Side can help you cover more ground in less time. Ideally the locations I scout and hunt consist of:

A grassy pasture or farm field, with edge cover and woods where hens might nest (spring gobblers are likely nearby). 

A habitat with consistent food sources (hens hit it; strutters follow).

A location other guys aren’t likely to hunt, even on public land.

A favored turkey roost, year after year.

Think of it as flash hunt time- and terrain-based quality control.

One New Hampshire hunting bud has a winning streak string of spring kills dating back to the Eighties. His current quickie-hunt spot is just several acres in size, but it flanks a larger area no one can hunt. That spot holds turkeys. He’s actually posted his location for the landowner, and has sole hunting permission. He’s never skunked, and often kills on the opener. If he hasn’t tagged then, chances are he’s passed on birds. You do whatever it takes. You can also study kill data.

State wildlife agencies post turkey kill reports where it’s required for a hunter to physically register a bird. Maybe your state does too. Here in northern New England, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont all do. I hunt them all. As a result, I study town and kill numbers routinely.

Doing so helps me lock into areas where kill numbers are consistently high each season. I plot trends, study public land features, contact people I know in such areas (and those I don’t). This allows me to scout without even being there, and quick-shot hunt those places when time provides.