Ya know, we eat turkey more often at Thanksgiving than we do at Easter, yet the majority of hunters still see turkey hunting as a spring-only pursuit. In fact, many of those hunters will tell you that the fall hunt is boring, though they more than likely haven’t even tried it. To them, turkey hunting is all about the gobble and the excitement of the wild turkey’s breeding season. The shame of it is, they are really missing out on some great hunting and even greater education about those big beautiful birds we all love so much!
A Fall turkey hunt can be just as exciting as in the Springtime. If you can bust up a flock of gobblers then call them back with half a dozen lost longbeards, converging on you from six different directions…. Well, it’ll get your heart going! And you already own the gear you need, so now you just have to commit to the hunt and learn a couple of new skills. And just think, if you complained about gobblers being henned up all spring, here's your chance to eliminate that stumbling block as they prefer the company of other toms right now.
Bagging a fall bird may not be as easy as getting a gobbler fired up like you would in spring. Therefore I’m going to sort of walk you through an ages-old tactic I’d like for you to consider before you head to the woods, shotgun in hand. Scattering and recalling a bachelor flock of toms.
This is not only a classic fall turkey tactic, it’s also in my opinion, the most fun. You have to sneak in close to a flock of feeding toms, as close as you can until you can see you’ve been spotted, and then rush the birds! That’s right, just run in at ‘em screaming, waving your arms, and trying to scatter those gobblers in all directions. A good scatter is crucial, as if the birds see you and run off together, all you've accomplished is scaring them away. But if they fly away, usually they fan out enough that you can go 100 to 200 yards in the direction they flew and set up. The perfect break though sends turkeys off in every direction.
Find yourself a good spot with concealment and sit right down at the spot you just scattered them towards. Wait a few minutes to let the woods settle in and the birds to calm their nerves, then start calling. I’ll start with gobbler yelps until I begin hearing the boss of the flock throwing around some assembly yelps, hoping to regroup. Then I’ll do the same, only with a bit more urgency. Soon turkeys will be coming in on you, calling to one another as they regroup from all sides. You can be assured, as I do each Thanksgiving, I will be in the woods at daylight waiting on the big toms to fly down.
As always, if you have any comments, questions, or just want to share your success from the woods, give me a shout out at [email protected]. God Bless, Good Hunting, and Happy Thanksgiving!