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Mid-America Hunting Association
Turkey hunting season hunter topics raised through many years by many self guided hunters discussing their hunts, skills, techniques. Collected by a volunteer member/author. We welcome contributions by all as each has varied perspectives.
While our approach seems to give much opportunity to hunt all disciplines no hunter hunts everything. Time or energy will limit all to what they enjoy most, typically a primary along with a secondary hunting interest. Our approach to allow all to hunt all is a matter of organizational simplicity. Most turkey hunters also seek trophy deer. Many do so on over a collection of farms from spring to fall each season.
Safety is a recurring, often over written topic about, nonetheless our spin on private land safety has different value over public land hunts.
This is one hunt where most hunting accidents occur. Some have been fatal. None to date on MAHA private land, however they have occurred on public lands every year.
Hunters access Association land by a mandatory reservation system limiting guns on any ground. All have been set for each farm to allow ample acreage for each hunter to hunt all day long each day throughout each season. This eliminates a common factor of fear of where other hunters are such as happens on public land or land given permission by knocking doors or hunting on family or friend’s land.
While turkey hunting Association land we encourage hunters to avoid being right on a fence line because we cannot control neighbor’s land, it is always unknown what type of people they are. If you choose to hunt next to a boundary be especially cautious.
We also encourage all to wear a blaze orange hat or vest when re-locating, entering or exiting woods, especially if you have a tagged tom in your possession. A mostly unaccepted turkey hunting season practice for most, but a safe one.
Our core product is habitat. A picture of three birds as example of what our turkey habitat looks like. All birds lived to be hunted again.
While using a gobble call always be cautious of another hunter sneaking up on your location. If you encounter a hunter sneaking up on your call refrain from making any sudden movements. Use your voice to communicate.
Anyone who sees another on the same lease means one is wrong. Notify our office.
Expect the unexpected more than just with turkeys, but also for weak hunters who may be maneuvering on your call.
A productive method of spring turkey hunting season scouting is to glass a flock or small groups from ridge line to a next ridge as well as individual turkeys following them from a distance to pattern their route to roost at dark. Others look for turkey sign such as scratching, droppings, tracks.
Once a flock is located it is good to return to this location and listen from a distance to gobbling from roost trees, move in to about 300 to 400 yards, let them fly down to take their course. Once turkeys have moved on try to pin down their roost location to make a decision on where to set up.
For run and gun spring turkey hunting season hunter big timber of south Missouri is attractive where a distant gobble can be heard then maneuvered in on. However, in agricultural heavy north Missouri, all of our Iowa ground, more so in Kansas, open farm fields prevent concealed hunter maneuver. Value of learning more effective spring turkey hunting season patterns based on cover to food differences shows again during fall deer hunts. This is a case where each must accept conditions as they are in reality rather than come with pre-conceptions of how he wants his hunt to be. That one aspect of basing future hunts on prior experience under different conditions accounts for more failure than any other piece in this self guided hunter organization that without a guide controlling hunter’s behavior relative to how to hunt in terms of terrain.
Overall, when scouting no ATV’s allowed or any type of vehicles to drive on or across Association lease land to scout or hunt. All hunts, scouting, are by foot only. As such planning a walk-in route to a setup should always be part of any successful find of a roost. Those thinking of driving into a turkey setup amaze us to think that would work.
There are 2 basic types of spring turkey hunting season hunters, first, patient hunter second, run & gun hunter. Both spring turkey hunting season methods can be effective with one often more of a failure in open country.
Some successful folks use run & gun techniques, which is seen on a majority of TV shows or videos. Run & gun takes very large acreage over several days for any area to recover after it has been hunted by this type of hunter.
Several like to call and move all day long. We don’t have a problem with this, but we do not encourage this on a large scale. We have observed our most consistent spring turkey hunting season success comes year after year from hunters who takes a patient approach. Birds do not become educated as much and hunts just as good at end of season as it was over its first couple of days.
Typically, patient spring turkey hunting season hunter is just as patient with his call as he is with relocating. There may be times when a hunter needs to move on birds. or increase frequency sometimes volume of his calls, but excessive calling or too much moving can do more damage than good.
Most Successful Spring Turkey Hunting Season Technique
Here is the data we collected from several successful roost hunters:
First, spring turkey hunting season hunter must scout each night before any hunt having toms pinned to trees they roost in. It’s best to wait until it is pitch dark to leave to avoid disrupting all roosts. On the way out become familiar with terrain for dark time entrance next morning to know what everything looks like in total darkness. Before it is totally dark mark a spot 100 to 75 yards from roost trees, but no closer. To increase odds of bird not flying the other direction it is best to rehearse every hunt a day in advance to know where a potential flydown area might be. Guessing decreases odds by 50 %.
If flydown time is 6 AM plan on making your move in at 4:30 am allowing 30 minutes to get to your spot for every 1/4 mile traveled. If moonlight is not covered by clouds, start 30 minutes earlier.
Before walking in make sure all of your gear is tight and nothing squeaks or makes a sound. Some even wrap tape around the top of their rubber boots to avoid noise when walking. Load or chamber your gun before entering, but have safety on at all times just prior to shot.
Do not walk across an open field directly to a set-up spot to avoid being spotted by a roosted flock. If necessary, walk around fields using edges of timber to avoid being spotted. Walk very slowly, softly to avoid making noise on leaves or snapping tree branches with boots.
Once you locate a likely set-up spot, crawl out 15 to 20 yards, place a decoy. If you don’t use a decoy take a seat, don’t move, don’t break any tree branches. At this point, comfort is not an issue. All you care about is turkey, then not giving them cause to avoid flydown or movement toward your setup. Relax, close your eyes, wait for gobbles.
If toms gobble, and he is alone odds of success become greater. If he is with a hen or group of hens then this is likely to be one great spring turkey hunting season challenges – to pull that tom off of hens. Most cannot pull a tom off of a hen so the next best technique is to coax in a flock’s boss hen. Doing so will bring the rest of them, toms included. Being able to accurately read such nuance most take years to master.
This hen shows well the decoy hiding height of grass in a fallow pasture. Using higher stakes makes the difference and toms do not seem to recognize the higher decoys being wrong.
To try to determine who is boss hen is watch which hen turns then leads others, it is not necessarily the first hen to move. It will be a hen which moves in a direction with most of others following, she will be making a flock call of some type. Hunter’s challenge is to imitate her call.
If she immediately responds, let her call a couple more times before you call again. If she answers again, keep imitating her calls. She should start to work toward you with the gobbler following. Continue to gauge your calling to the reaction of the boss hen. A slight more frequency and volume of the same type call will usually bring her in. Too much calling and she may shy away. Watching her reaction will tell to call more or less.
Nothing is precise in decoying or calling arts, it is an art not a science. Keen observation skills make a difference between truly skilled hunters to those not so much. Those that do not recognize this difference may not be ready. Those who do know this value point are on a road to a career of successful spring turkey hunting season hunts.
For that golden hunt when gobblers are alone let him call a couple of times and try a quiet tree yelp. If he responds, let him call a couple of times before you call again. If he responds again, quit calling, play hard to get. Chances are he will flydown towards you and you will have a great hunt watching him seek out heard sexy call.
A constant topic of debate amongst many spring turkey hunting season hunters is use of decoys. Some live by decoys, others think decoys cost them more birds than they are worth.
Hunters that don’t believe in decoys are usually those who call then move a lot. If you are that type of hunter causing extra movement of placing a decoy can blow concealment, cost you birds.
Others who don’t believe in decoys are who hunt areas with a lot of pressure. Pressured birds having encountered an ambush or two can become decoy shy in a hurry.
Our observation is that a majority of hunters who use decoys don’t have a lot of problems with birds spooking from decoys.
This collection of self guided turkey hunting season topics are meant as a jump start, not solely as only techniques to apply.
We also were careful to distinguish from fall season. Fall hunters find very little of the above to be true.