Scouting in the pre-season is crucial to a successful spring Gobbler hunt. Driving along the back roads with a good set of binoculars at the ready will often locate feeding flocks of birds. You can also search from home by checking local topographical maps for bottlenecks between hardwood, pine forests and pasture-lands the same as you would for deer. I use My Topo maps to do my searching on.
Knowing how YOUR Shotgun Shot Patterns from your shotgun is also very important to know. It might be the most underrated step of all.
Does it have a tight group at 20 yards, 30 yards and 40yards?Your target is about the size of your fist and forearm. Not much room for error. I use a Browning Citori over & under with an extra full turkey choke on top and under a full choke for close in gobblers.
I know how my 3 inch hevi-shot load of # sixes in either barrel will pattern at from 15 yards out to 45 yards. Guaranteed to silence any Strutting Tom if I do my part with my Citori loaded with hevi-shot
3. Sounds, Do you know the sounds a hen makes? Thats the important part of this equation. While having the ability to sound like a dominant Gobbler might draw in an opponent, its the hens that make Mr. Tom move toward you.
Practicing your yelps and cackles before the season starts. Know when to Cut, Purr or Putt. All of these sounds can be made on box, pot or diaphragm calls with a few hours practice. You can even do a gobble call if its a last chance to sway that gobbler.
4. Simplify Sometime simple can be best for those short hunts in the morning. Shotgun, turkey vest loaded with your license, knife, calls, ammo, bug juice or thermo cell. A water bottle and a folding seat to get comfortable.
A common tactic is to locate a roosted a bird the night before so you know where you will be setting up in the morning. Sneaking in at Oh Dark Hundred hours and waiting for the birds to fly off the roost to land close by.
5. Silence This works hand in hand with simple. You know or hope that the Tom will be landing close to your location and the hens also land close by with you located between the birds. If youre on the birds travel route just sit and wait.
6. Sleep in, with all day hunting in Ontario an afternoon hunt often pays off late in the season.Hens will be sitting on a clutch of eggs and Gobblers still have lust on that peanut sized brain. Normally Toms are not as vocal in the afternoon, but if youre at the edge of a field with good optics he isnt hard to spot as he struts along.
Some subtle calling might just bring him over for a look. You may even have to crank it up with a few cackles & yelps.
7. Ok so I said six steps to success. However this last one will get that gobbler signed & sealed.
You have to want to STICK With It!
Get out as often as you can cause your not going to fill that tag unless youâ€™re out there hunting.