Spring Turkey Hunting Tips

Expert insight on spring turkey hunting tips and how to get into this outdoor pursuit that is gaining in popularity. Our guide will get you started toward bagging a bird for your dinner table.

  • Turkeys are most often hunting with a shotgun, though bow hunting for turkeys appeals to some.
    Photo by iStockphoto.com/Jon Huelskamp
  • In spring, turkeys are participating in their annual mating routines, so hunting them during this time is a little more action-packed than fall.
    Photo by Terry Wild Stock
  • Box calls like this one are fairly compact in size and are easy to use.
    Photo by Russell Graves
  • Slate calls are an easy call to master, but you’ll want to spend ample time practicing.
    Photo by Russell Graves
  • Ground blinds are an excellent option for not only hunting turkeys but deer and other game as well.
    Photo by iStockphoto.com/RyanVincePhotography
  • The red Grit hat Gritty chose to wear gave his location clean away.
    Illustration by Brad Anderson

Waking up at 4:30 in the morning might seem crazy, but when it comes to spring turkey hunting, it’s well worth it to me and thousands of other hunters in North America. A fresh cup of coffee, a bagel, and a look at the weather is just the beginning to a wonderful day in the woods.

One hunt last spring, after I got set up and the sun began to rise, the woods erupted with sound: Toms gobbling and hens yelping filled the air. I started calling with just a soft yelp on my slate call before the toms flew down, in hopes of drawing one right off the roost. Finally I heard the familiar sound of wings and turkeys flying down from their roost – one, then another, and another. What an awesome feeling of anticipation.

Sometime later, a hen came into my decoys with a tom in hot pursuit, and one well-placed arrow later, I knew my turkey tag was filled.

Spring turkey hunting is a great pursuit for beginner hunters because the weather is usually bearable, the gear is relatively inexpensive, calling is fun, populations have been on the rise in recent years, and turkeys are not an intimidating animal to process for the dinner table. It’s an inexpensive and enjoyable hobby, and a few tips will give you a better chance at success.

Rule the roost

First and foremost, scout for roosts. Turkeys are very consistent in what they do from day to day. They roost in trees, frequently along creeks or rivers, flying up at dusk and flying down at dawn.

There are a few ways you can find these roosting spots. First is to go into the woods during the midday and look for droppings under big mature trees along creeks or rivers. Turkeys are like any other bird – they relieve themselves often. Droppings will be white in color, and when you find a roosting spot, it’ll likely be obvious. If there are sycamore trees along the creek, check those first. Sycamores are good roosting trees for turkeys because of the big open limbs. Mature oak trees are also a good roosting tree. Tree species obviously depends on your region of the country, but look for big, old trees.

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