Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Float-Trip Gobblers

Bob Humphrey photo

Bob Humphrey photo

By Bob Humphrey 

Drive, ride, walk.  Those are the primary means used by 99 percent of turkey hunters to get within striking distance of their quarry.  But one of the keys to consistent success is avoiding the crowds.  You can do that by spending more time riding off-road than on, or more time walking than riding.  Or you can be among the other 1 percent who take an entirely different approach - water.  You may find it offers several advantages. 


You can float into an area a lot more quietly than you can drive, and sometimes even walk.  And if it’s after daylight it may offer your only route of concealment, especially in open habitat.  Even in the most open country you’ll usually find some cover along waterways.  Float in close, slip out and call those open field birds your way. 


Riding is pretty easy but eventually you’ll have to get out and walk.  If you have to cover a considerable distance, floating is a lot easier than walking. 


It may not be the only way, but sometimes water is the easiest and possibly even the quickest way to get to a particularly birdy area.  Check the topo maps for opportunities.  Far fewer folks will ever think of it; so you’ll have less competition, at least until the road hunters eventually make their way back.  With any luck, you’ll be tagged out by then. 


Floating down a river is not just a good way to reach your hunting destination, it’s a good way to hunt. Start upstream and simply float along, listening and calling until you strike a gobble.  Then disembark and start your hunt. 

It’s best if you can pair up with another hunter.  Two bodies make easier work of what little paddling you’ll do.  It also allows you to leave a vehicle or Side-by-Side vehicle at your downstream pull-out.  And, having someone else along is just more fun.