10 Reasons You're Not Killing Turkeys

10 Reasons You're Not Killing Turkeys

No matter how prepared you are heading into spring turkey season, gobbling toms can seem to be one step ahead. Because turkeys outsmart us into making small mistakes, harvesting a gobbler in many parts of the country isn't the easiest thing to do.

Whether you're new to turkey hunting or a veteran of the thundering spring woods, you're likely to experience at least one of the following common turkey hunting mistakes or situations. But we learn from every experience in the outdoors and each year become more knowledgeable, and hopefully more successful.

In order to be successful during the spring turkey season, it is important for the hunter to control what they can control. Often, the best way to do this is to form a strategy prior to heading out rather than winging it. It doesn't take much to ruin a promising turkey hunt and, with some mature gobblers, bust the entire season. By doing your homework and being patient, you can successfully fill your turkey tag every spring.

It's time to gear up and hit the turkey woods, but be prepared to jump through some hoops before you bag your bird. Here are 10 of the most common reasons you're not killing turkeys this year.


Stealing a Taken Tom

If you turkey hunt long enough you'll encounter the henned up gobbler. Unresponsive to calling once they pitch down off the roost, he's content to stay with his lady as long as she will have him. Attack these birds in mid-morning when hens have gone to the nest.

Photo Credit: Joe Ciferno Photography

You Waited Too Long

Birds tend to be most vocal on the roost, so getting a bird to sound off the evening before a hunt is like tucking him in until sunrise. The bird is likely not going anywhere once he's roosted and, without that, hunting can be a scramble near dawn.

Photo Credit: Emily Flinn

You Talk Too Much

Much like the human race, an over talkative female is sure to make a tom hesitant to come in for a closer look. The rule of thumb is to play hard to get, enough to keep him interested and completely shut down once he has laid eyes on your decoys.

Photo Credit: Emily Flinn

You Forgot The Basics

It's not a science. Gobblers will be concerned with three things during the spring hunting season: hens, quality food and rest. If you base your hunting strategy around these, you will be successful.

Photo Credit: Joe Ciferno Photography

You Neglected Proper Cover

A turkey's eyesight is close to three times better than a humans. And with a 270-degree field of view, any movement will send them running. Without proper cover and backdrop, a hunter can stand out like a sore thumb, and never have a chance at a shot.

Photo Credit: Joe Ciferno Photography

You Didn't Scout it Out

If you think you have everything a turkey could want, they will still shift their home ranges throughout the year. Even if you saw them the month before, the woods are changing through spring. Plan to put the bulk of your scouting time within the couple weeks before the season.

Photo Credit: Joe Ciferno Photography

Your Decoys are a Mess

Using gobbler or jake decoys is becoming very popular but, although effective in a lot of situations, they can often have negative results if you encounter a young bird (2 years old or less). Start with a simple hen decoy and adjust appropriately based on gobblers' responses.

Photo Credit: Joe Ciferno Photography

You Got Too Close, Too Soon

The bird gobbles and we want to get closer, it's a force of habit. However, birds tend to be most vocal while on the roost. Pressing in too close to the bird's roosting position can cause him to go quiet, or worse, flush off the roost and out of your area.

Photo Credit: Emily Flinn

You Don't Know the Area

Though a hot gobbler may come to you no matter what, terrain obstacles like creeks, highwalls and man-made structures, like fences, will typically stop a gobbler's progress. Make sure you know the area as well as possible before you set up.

Photo Credit: Joe Ciferno Photography

You Panic When There's No Answer

While running and gunning can be a great strategy, just because you call and a bird doesn't answer, doesn't mean he isn't there. Set up in high travel routes and call sparingly, you may be surprised what shows up.

Photo Credit: Joe Ciferno Photography

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