The Basic Rules of Turkey Hunting
Whether a first time hunter or an experienced one, there are many basic rules that a hunter should know and keep in mind whenever he goes hunting. For many, turkey hunting is a fun sport and a very exciting activity to undertake. Many states allow turkey hunting and even have a season in spring and fall. Most turkeys however are hunted in the spring season, when hunters are also out for other game. During spring, due to mating season, only male and young male turkeys are allowed to be harvested, while in some places in fall, male and female birds can be harvested.
In general, it is fairly easy to tell males and females apart from each other. The overall color of a male turkey is much darker than the ones of a female turkey. Additionally male turkeys are generally bigger than female ones. But one of the most visible difference is the so-called beard. It is a feather formation growing on the chest of male birds and can grow on average 9 inches long for a fully-grown bird.
For hunters, the sizes of the bird as well as the lengths of the beard, are measures for the trophy status of the bird. This is somewhat similar to the size of a fish that everybody talks about when fishing, no legal rules are bound to this.
Rules pertaining to hunting include the months, the time of the day and the areas hunters are allowed to hunt are different from state to state. It is helpful to make calls and exactly find out what the rules are at the location chosen for the hunting adventure. It is also necessary to find out what the so-called bagging limit for a particular game is at the place chosen to hunt. For many states, that is one or two turkeys per season, but for some it is that amount per day.
Essentially spring is a good season for the hunter, since male birds are preoccupied with mating and slightly easier to catch than normally. Gobblers will try to mate with as many hens as they can and gobblers will even respond to a fake hen call made by a hunter. By continuously calling the male bird, the hunter hopes to lure the gobbler close enough to safely give up a hot.
One of the best tactics to bag a turkey is to stake out the area the night before and find a turkey that usually rests on a tree overnight the night before. By staking out the surrounding areas to the tree the next day, the likelihood of actually shooting a turkey is much bigger this way. The hunter then can sneak close to the tree very early the next morning and call the bird even before he flies down a tree. This way, the gobbler can be lured close to the hunter before feeding or hens distract the bird.
To lure the gobbler in spring, the best way is to use a hen call. At this time turkeys are very vulnerable to hen calls, especially the yelp call. This might not always work, because generally the gobbler calls the hen towards him and not the other way around. In order to be able to lure the tom into shooting range, the hunter might want to use another gobbler’s call and arouse the jealousy of the bird who thinks that another one is about to take the hen he heard.
There are many tactics that can help a hunter bag that bird, but he needs to know that in the fall, these tactics actually need to be somewhat different from the ones in spring.