I know that the bass and crappie are biting and the weather is warming up daily. But, that also means that the long beards will soon be rattling the ground with thundering gobbles as well. I often find myself a man torn between fishing and turkey hunting at this time of year. The turkey season where I live in Texas runs from April 15- May 14. But other parts of the state open up on March 18 or April 1st. The longer days and warm weather will lull you into forgetting about turkeys until the weekend before season. Then, there you are at the last minute scratching you head wondering where to go and where all of your stuff is?
To avoid this conundrum, I want to get us all prepared for those full fans and limb hangers we hope to kill this season.
- Check your vest- Get out your turkey vest and inspect EVERYTHING. Make sure your slate calls and strikers are sanded and ready to go. Check out your diaphragm calls to see if they have any dry rot or tears. (You should store them in the fridge though) Look at your box call, locator calls, facemask, gloves and any other what nots you need to in your vest.
- Go listen- Get up early and start listening for gobbling. If you miss the on the limb gobbling, then head to a few known strut zones and see if the birds are there. I try not to tramp through my hunting area while I am just scouting, but to do as much glassing and listening as possible. The area you hunted last year may have been clear cut, or burned. You need to put your time in now to be successful in the weeks to come.
- Decoys- Find your turkey decoys and set them up. They may need to be sprayed off, or have some tears from the briars while you were hot on the heels of an ol boss tom. Check the stakes and make sure all components are there for opening day.
- Shoot your gun- It amazes me how many people never pattern their turkey guns with the turkey loads and chokes they use. Yes, I know turkey loads are expensive and kick- really hard. However, a few dollars is a drop in the bucket compared to gas, license, lease dues and the list goes on. Pattern your gun from 20-45 yards and see where you are hitting. When you do shoot your gun, do it sitting, while resting it on your knee just like you would at a gobbler. Don’t make the mistake of bench shooting or standing to pattern your gun for turkeys.
- Start calling- Every time you get in your truck on the way to work you need to be practicing yelps, purrs and cuts. Try different calls and arrange them so you know which ones sound the best. Don’t be that guy who realizes at fly down his call is sticking and will lock up on you.
- License- Make sure your license is up to date. Nothing will ruin a great hunt like a big ol fat ticket from your local game warden. Check your wallet and make sure you are legal to hit the woods. Know the local rules and regulations for your area. Anyone who has hunted for very long knows that rules change…A LOT, so be up to snuff on any new laws or restrictions in your area.
These are a few quick tips to make sure you get your gear ready for the spring turkey season. We will be going over calling, strategy and myths in the weeks to come. Get out your gear and start yelping, your neighbors will love it!!
Story by Shane Smith