Early Turkey Tactics

Opening day of turkey season is not always successful. Most of the opening days that I remember were colder than I wanted them to be and the action was always slower than I wanted them to be. Sometimes opening days are not very fruitful due to hunting conditions that don’t seem conducive to success; however, you can still have the chance to bag a gobbler if you slow your roll.

Cold weather is very discouraging. Most of the time when it’s cool, birds seem quieter and slower than we are all used to during the prime time of spring. Whether it is metabolism or instinct, turkeys seem to loiter around more when it’s cool and they don’t seem to have a purpose. I believe that cold weather retards their need to leave their giant winter flocks, which they form for safety reasons, and that means that they are slower to return to their normal spring living areas. You can use this to your advantage.

Two year old toms are really vulnerable during cold conditions. This will be their first year being mature enough to breed and to actually compete to breed, so they will be the most likely victims to break with the lethargy of a cold herd of turkeys and wander to the sounds of your call. You don’t need to call more, you just need to sit longer and wait.

If you manage to snipe a turkey out of a large winter flock, don’t leave the area like you would during the hot action of spring. I have found while hunting slow birds that I could simply circle around behind the birds from a different direction and repeat the process. The birds most likely are not going anywhere so just keep circling them like a shark and pick them off one at a time if the laws and limits allow.

You can spend an entire morning hunt taking birds out of an early spring group. Imagine a giant bait ball of fish in the ocean and how predator fish do their damage on the fringe of the ball. Make that your tactic and you can enjoy a great -but slow and quiet- hunt.

One thing to remember is that you will not experience as much turkey vocalization as you would normally in the warmer periods of spring. Do not let this fact discourage you and cause you to leave the hunting area, but rather, sit tight and keep working the turkey ball.