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Desperation Tactics

Copyright © 1998 - 2021  Roger W. Raisch * Nadine Adele, all rights reserved


Turkey hunting can be quite unpredictable.  The weather, time of the season, hunting pressure, and the number of turkeys you are hunting can have a negative impact on your success, despite the fact that you are a seasoned hunter. 


If you aren't having good luck with typical spring hunting tactics of locating a gobbler, positioning yourself without being seen and heard, and then calling and being patient, try desperation tactics. 


The first tactic would be go to a grocery store to get your bird!


If you don't like Butterballs, and you are truly desperate, try fall hunting tactics in the spring.  By this I mean trying to split up turkeys so they are alone. 


This can be accomplished in several ways, depending on the time of day.  These tactics work well, especially when gobblers you are hunting always seem to have hens with them and won't respond to your calls, and you can't get them  interested enough to approach your position. 


The most effective way to split a flock of birds is in the evening when they go to roost. 


Slip into a roosting area at least an hour before sunset.  Within a few minutes of sunset, or up to 30 minutes before sunset on a dark or stormy day, listen for the birds to fly up to locate their position.  


Try to get within 200 yards of their location without been seen or heard and wait until 20 minutes after sunset.  When you are in position, try my Locator Call Tactics to try to make a tom gobble.


Listen for other sounds made by turkeys on roost.  Sounds like the wing flapping of birds changing limbs and soft clucking.  Pinpoint their location and walk quickly and be as quiet as possible right into the area where they are roosted, especially focus on where a gobbler is roosted. 


When the birds hear you coming they will flush.  When you hear the first one fly, start clapping your hands together, yell, or make any loud noise to scare the remaining birds from the trees.  Note the direction they flew, especially the bird(s) you suspect were gobblers. 


The next morning, locate a good Strut Zone between where the birds were roosted and where they flew


Be there early and have patience to stay in that spot for a few hours. 


Remember, you're desperate....nothing else has worked.  Call like you are a lost turkey, by itself.  Use plenty of cutts, long string of yelps, and a few cackles. 


I don't think you can over-call when you're trying to imitate a lost turkey.  Chances are good that turkeys will move into the strut zone you are in, but it may take several hours.  Or, a gobbler may respond rather quickly to your lost calls first thing in the morning and come like you had a magnet on him.


If you're having trouble with groups of turkeys hanging around in open pastures and fields and not responding to your calls, scattering them is the proper thing to do. 


This is obviously done during daylight, but is best accomplished as early in the morning as possible. 


Sneak as close as possible to the flock--gobblers and hens--while staying in the woods or in other cover.  When you are as close as you can get, run at the birds as fast as you can.  When they start running and flying, yell as loud as you can and scare  them into flying. 


The objective is to make them scatter in different directions, or at least fan out into a nearby woods. 


Always try to push them into heavy woods rather than just scare them into the next open field.  After the flush, immediately move into position close to where the bulk of the birds went.  


Set up quietly and wait. 


If you hear calling, start your calling. 


If you hear nothing, start calling in about 30 minutes.  You may get an immediate response from a gobbler or from a hen. 


Call like a lost hen with cutts, lost yelps, and clucks.  If you get a gobbler going, work him just like any other tom.


You may encounter a gobbler, or more than one, who likes to stand out in the middle of a large open field for long periods of time, gobbling and strutting with no intentions of moving towards your location in the woods. 


You can do the same thing with them as you do with larger flocks....chase them into the woods and then move quickly and quietly into position, wait a while and then start calling. 


Or...another good tactic is to erect a scarecrow, dressed like a man, in the field to keep turkeys from going there.  But, if you leave it set up for many days, birds will get accustomed to it and it will stop working. 


In the spring, when you're desperate, try some of these unusual tactics on gobblers.  You've got nothing to lose.


Subjects in the Secrets Library
About Turkeys
Spring Hunting Tactics
Fall Hunting Tactics
Camouflage & Concealment
Turkey Calls & Calling
Check List & Misc.
Bow Hunting Tactics
Safety & Ethics
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