im like LAredneck, im not an expert, but here are some things that work for me.
turkeys are creatures of habit, so they are very patternable. heres what i do:
i really like to start scouting heavy a week prior to season. figure out where their roosting and where theyre going when they leave the roost. what food source are they using? where are they dusting at? where are they stutting? these are all things that you need to know in order to be succsessful consistantly IMO. i scout by going in the woods as well as from afar using my optics...if their using a field regularly, pay attention to the time their in that field. chances are theyll return to that field around the same time each day.
like previously mentioned, the night before your going to hunt, roost the bird. that way you know right where he is for the morning hunt. then you can slip in nice and silently. and when you get there in the morning try and get as close to the roost as you can without letting him know your there. depending on the cover youll be able to get closer, but if its more open dont push it. here in michigan we dont have any folage when turkey season begins, so(generally) i dont get much closer than 75-100 yds. by all means, if you can get closer undetected....do so.
hunting the travel cooridors will kill you allot of turkeys when the morning roost hunt doesnt pan out.(thats where your scouting really pays off
) because in turkey hunting, everything doesnt always go as planned. sometimes the hens fly down and go a different direction than they normally do. when that happens youll need to relocate. youll need to get in front of the birds. since youve scouted and know the terrain, your all set. plus, its allot easer to call em to ya if your located where they already want to go.
midday is also good time to hunt gobblers. some of the hens are off nesting and gobblers are out looking for receptive hens. so what do they do? they head back down the travel cooridors(could be a ridge, old logging trail, etc..)....this type of hunting often takes allot of patients. this is what you do when you cant locate a tom, but know theyre in the area. just set up and give a call every 30 minutes or so. just sit and wait patiently. theyll often slip in without saying a word, so keep a sharp eye. this kind of hunting can really pay dividends. IMO, it really works well when hunting pressured or call shy birds.
as far as where to hunt/look for turkeys...they inhabit a wide variety of terrain. youll find turkeys in anything from tall timber to grass feilds or cropland. ive killed em around river bottoms as well.
the guys have already named a few solid locator calls. the owl, crow, coyote, peacock, and woodpeck are all good locator calls. i know some guys who use a sandhill crane call too....i dont like to use the coyote call once its daylight. afterall, they are a predator. but when theyre on the roost, let er rip.
and as previously mentioned. TURKEYS HAVE GREAT EYES....get some good camo and keep movement to a minimum. if you move when theyre looking the jig is up. dont worry theyll let ya know. theyll pop their head strait up and make a destinct PUTT PUTT PUTT as they move away...slow at first then they RUN like heck. even if you sit still theyll make ya from time to time. at times i swear they do have a sixth sense.
get a few different calls as well. box calls, slate, or push buttons are all easily mastered. the reason for a few different calls is to give a differnt sound. one might be higher pitched, or one might be real raspy. it makes a difference sometimes....if theres a draw back its movement to reproduce a call. a diaphram is a good choice too, but takes quite a bit of practice to master. the sounds reproduced with a diaphram are extremely realistic, a good trade off for all your practice....and with to tote all these do dads around, youll need a good turkey vest. you can store all your goodies in there, yet theyre readily available.
as far as using dogs for locating turkeys i cant say. i dont have any experience using dogs. i know out east they use them in the fall to break up large flocks of birds. other than that ive never heard of anyone using them on spring time gobblers.
alright, im done...sorry it was long, but i hope this helps you kill your gobbler. these things work for me and i dont see why they wont work for you.
have fun...turkey hunting is a blast. after your first morning in the turkey woods youll be hooked for life. nothing like hearing the woods wake up. :hammering: