Wild turkey hunting is tough, and there is little margin for error. So it's important to dot your "i"s and cross your "t"s, basically do everything right. Next to good camouflage and a reliable weapon, the most important factor in taking a turkey is setting up correctly on the bird you are calling. When setting up on roosting birds in the morning, follow these steps to increase the odds of putting a bird on the ground.
• Get close. Try to set up as close to the roosting birds without giving away your location. We usually sneak in early, at least an hour before it gets light, and set up our blind and decoys.
• Know what lies between you and the roosted birds. It's important to make sure there are no obstacles that might impede the birds approach. Creeks, fences, a briar patch or thick cover can cause the birds to "hang up" or basically stop coming to you. Once turkeys get on the ground and start strutting, they tend to take the path of least resistance throughout their daily routine, so make it easy for them to get to you.
• Get in their way. Try to get between the roosted birds, and where they may be going once they get on the ground. Sounds easy, but some pre season scouting can help you identify good strut zones. There is a good chance that's where they will be headed after fly down.
• Make sure you have clear shooting lanes. Turkeys are constantly moving, so it's important that you be patient and wait for a good shot. Again, easier said than done. So it helps to have plenty of openings so when the big boy puts his head up, you're ready for the shot.
• If birds end up moving away from you, wait until they are out of sight and then pack up and try to swing around in front of them. I usually try a different call in this situation, so they don't think it was the same birds that were calling previously.
Seasoned turkey hunters will tell you that no set-up, no matter how perfect, will work every time. But it sure helps. Follow these simple steps, and you are going to drastically increase your chance of putting a butterball in the freezer!
For more tips on turkey hunting and some great recipes visit www.danstefoutdoors.com.
Photo above: My buddy Rene Algiene took a beautiful tom yesterday morning during the Northern Zone's 1st Spring Turkey Season. Nice Job Rene!