Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Turkey Basics

You can use an ATV or SxS to scout and hunt away from the roads and other hunters.

You can use an ATV or SxS to scout and hunt away from the roads and other hunters.

By Bob Humphrey 

Today’s turkey hunters are fortunate there’s so much great information available with regard to turkey hunting tools, tactics and techniques.  However, I wonder if at times it might be too much of a good thing.  With so much often detailed and in-depth information it’s easy to get confused on what the right call or tactic is for a specific scenario.  If you find yourself in such a quandary your best bet might be to take a step back and look at the big picture, and the basics.
The recipe for success boils down to common sense. 


It’s not easy to do, but sometimes you’re better off leaving the low hanging fruit to others.  You’ve been watching a particular bird for weeks and finally have his routine down cold.  From the roadside you see him strutting in a big wheat field every morning.  So do all the other hunters who are just now starting their pre-season scouting; and you can bet there will be a crowd there come opening day.  More than likely someone will interfere with someone else, and everyone will leave without a bird.  You should have known better.  Focus your efforts elsewhere, on birds that aren’t so obvious or easy to find.  And try to locate several so that you have options should Plan A or Plan B fail to produce.


I don’t care how experienced you are, if there’s a turkey gobbling nearby and you have a call in your hands or your mouth, you will be tempted to use it.  One of the biggest mistakes novice turkey hunters make is calling too much.  The next biggest is not calling enough.  The trick is striking the right balance, but if you’re unsure, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.  You might lose a bird if you don’t call enough but you will lose one if you call too much.  Playing the odds I’ll take might over will any day. 


There’s no greater attribute a turkey hunter can have than patience.  If you’re waiting for a bird to arrive in a particular location and he’s late, wait.  Turkeys don’t wear watches. Maybe he got sidetracked, but if he’s a regular, he’ll be along sooner or later.  And if he isn’t, another bird might be drawn in by your conservative calling.  If you’re calling a gobbling bird and he suddenly goes quiet, wait.  They often do that when they commit.  Wait as long as you can and if you think you’ve waited long enough, you haven’t.  If you’re certain you’ve waited long enough, you still haven’t.