Interested in turkey hunting and need a lot of advice


January 11, 2011, 07:10 PM
Ok I have never hunted turkey before and I hope to go in the spring. I have a few questions:

I have a 20ga mossberg. Can i get away with the factory full choke or should I buy a so called "turkey choke"
What shells to use. I know I should go pattern the gun with a few brands and find whats best but that is too much money for me. If i get some 3" no 5 shot (kent brand or winchester) will that do the trick?
I have a few options on our property where to hunt. I can sit in an elevated enclosed stand that overlooks a meadow. This is what I would most likely do. Since the blind is enclosed (except for windows on each side that pop up) will that inhibit the calling?
Do i really need to use a call? I know that that would most likely help my chances and I do have a box call (push pull type) but I'm worried I will just scare them away. If i do call and I'm waiting for a turkey to come in, how often do i cluck? Every few mins or every min....??

Oh, and if i get a turkey, should i skin it and take the whole turkey or should I just breast it out.

As you can see I have no experience and i need a lot of advice. Thanks

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January 11, 2011, 10:23 PM
Your gun and shell combo will work perfectly. I'd buy Winchester just because they're prolly cheaper (and I like Winchester shotgun ammo). I'd sit on the ground myself. Wear camo, sit still. Buy a cheap call and practice. Turkeys don't sound perfect in real life either. I always eat the whole bird, but cook the breast as one dish, and thighs as a different dish. Personally I'd hunt the edge, by the woods, rather than farther out into the meadow. good luck - turkey hunting is lots of fun and a great way to get out in the spring...

January 11, 2011, 10:52 PM
welcome to the sport, i grew up turkey hunting with my dad and i still learn every time i go out. they are extremely crafty birds. i would definitely invest in the turkey choke, i once nearly lost a fall time jake due to not using a tight enough choke and taking to far of a shot, and that was with a 12g. that being said, my first bird was a full grown tom taken at about 15-20 yards with a single shot 20 gauge with no choke at all!

one thing to consider about hunting from a stand, is that turkeys have extremely good hearing, just hearing you from a hundred yards away they can pretty much pinpoint your exact location, and probably realize that you are in a tree. a hen in a tree at the edge of a field all day is kinda unnatural and may scare them off. that being said i would opt for a nice ground blind made out of natural cover, and some decent camo.

use a call, but dont over do it. i usually try to get birds to shock gobble to pinpoint them in the morning, an owl hoot or coyote howl works great but when they are fired up, gobblers will gobble to anything, a car door slamming, a shot, anything. once you pinpoint their location, try a few light calls and see if they respond. sometimes they'll go nuts and come running, sometimes they'll answer then shortly thereafter clam up, sometimes they'll come in silent. alot depends on if they have hens with them. usually a gobbler with hens will gobble on the roost then fly down and shut up.

turkeys will respond to passive calling as well, i keep a turkey wing on me and when a bird is close, but not quite close enough, and i can get away with a little movement, i will brush the wing against the leaves to simulate a gobbler strutting and dragging his wings on the ground, scratching dry leaves with a stick simulates birds scratching for acorns, using the wing to simulate fly-downs at first light, all of this will sometimes bring gobblers in when they are wary of just the calls.

you'll learn the tricks, the more time you spend hunting them the more addicting it gets. GOOD LUCK!

January 11, 2011, 10:55 PM
Patterning the birds is a huge part of turkey hunting. They tend to follow a pretty set pattern every day, and have favorite places to hang out (particularly where the toms can strut). Since it sounds like you know the property pretty well pay attention to where they are at various times of the day and set up well ahead of them and wait for the ambush. Agreed that generally the edges of fields tend to work best, but I've seen and killed birds in the middle of fields too.

Turkeys have phenomenal eyesight and hearing, so be VERY careful about your movements and sounds. This can be tough when you've been sitting against a tree for two hours and bugs start to crawl up your leg just when a tom comes near, but often the slightest movement will bust you. Good camo helps but won't overcome movement.

Get a call or two and a CD and practice your calling - it really helps and isn't that hard to learn the basics. You really don't need to make a lot of calls, in fact often the less you call the better as it makes a tom curious so he'll come looking for the hen he hears. It's also really an awesome experience to make a few cuts and hear a gobble in return right at dawn - that gets your heart going and is why it's such an addictive hunt!

January 12, 2011, 12:15 AM
i would advise you to go out with a veteran. let them show you how they call and all that fun stuff. it always helps to see it in real life. if this isnt an option, then trial and error is second best.

January 12, 2011, 12:54 AM
spring woods are also full of mosquitoes and ticks. Load up on bug repellent.

January 12, 2011, 07:43 AM
Well, I have decided that I will invest in a turkey choke for my gun. I found a carlson for $20 so I think thats a good deal. I will try calling and I have found a few websites that have calling practice. From what some of you said I think i will try the edge of the woods and I do know where they roost sometimes. I do not own any camo to speak of so I will most likely buy one of those camo burlap tarps and make a little blind against a tree with that. I will probably get a camo sweatshirt too. I have a padded seat for a 5 gallon bucket and will probably use that to sit on. I dont have anybody to go with but I think i will just wing it (no pun intended haha) and try my luck. My property has a couple flocks of turkeys so I think ill do ok. Thanks for the help!!

January 13, 2011, 10:09 AM
Good luck and I hope you get one.

Personally, turkey is my favorite animal to hunt by far. Just a phenomenal animal. You'll always feel like you accomplished something special when you beat a turkey at his own game.

January 16, 2011, 01:48 AM
Turkey hunted pretty much all the first 3/4 of my life. One thing I figured out is that if a turkey had a deers sense of smell, you couldn't hunt the damn things! Incredible eyesight, hearing is on par with ours maybe a tad bit better but it's nothing really super. They do hear at different ranges though which is why they can hear a hen further off than what you would think. One thing for you NOT to do is go out and "practice" calling them before season. Reason being is they are a little smarter than some seem to give them credit for and they get "call educated" very fast. There are many videos online for free that can help you figure out "purring" "clucking" "hot hen" "tending" and the many other various sounds of their language. Find them and practice them at home. Don't get all dejected if you do not succeed right off the bat because many a hunters have hunted the bird many years without getting one. It takes time, practice, and most of all PATIENCE to hunt them wily ole birds.

Good luck and most of all STAY SAFE

January 16, 2011, 01:03 PM
also check your state laws. some states do not allow for turkey hunting from elevated stands.

January 17, 2011, 04:29 AM
Not much I can say that hasn't already been said. Good luck and enjoy!

January 17, 2011, 04:38 PM
on my pastures, turkeys are as big a pest as hogs around my feeders. usually beat the deer to them. what do you plan on doing with them after you shoot them, as tough as shoe leather, wild taste, only good part is the breast. aint worth for me to mess with. I dont like pests at my feeders.

January 18, 2011, 01:40 AM
Wild turkey meat is all dark, including the breast. They can be dry too. I think they are better cooked in a crock pot or deep fried.

IMO turkey hunting can be more challenging, more exciting and more rewarding than deer hunting.

January 18, 2011, 04:19 AM
Wild turkey meat is all dark, including the breast. They can be dry too. I think they are better cooked in a crock pot or deep fried.

IMO turkey hunting can be more challenging, more exciting and more rewarding than deer hunting.
If you think wild turkey breast is dark meat, you must be way overcooking it. No wonder you find it dry. :D

I agree about the second part.

January 19, 2011, 05:31 PM
Thanks everybody for all the help! I still am not sure though how often to repeat the calling sequence. So say I sit there and i do some clucks/purrs/cutting/etc for a minute or so. Nothing happens and I dont see or hear anything. Should I wait for a half hour before I try again or should I call every few minutes? I'm worried that if i do it too much i will scare the turkeys away!

January 19, 2011, 05:34 PM
also check your state laws. some states do not allow for turkey hunting from elevated stands.
Thanks for mentioning that. Turns out it is illegal in michigan so Its good you said that.

January 23, 2011, 08:39 PM
i would listen early move to gobbles. towards midday i will sit on fields and call for a few seconds (15-30 or so). ANYTIME you call you should be prepared to sit for at least one hour. more than once ive called and gotten no repsonse. after 20 minutes i get frustrated and leave only to stand up and have birds fly away. stick with hen yelps, clucks and purrs and you will be fine. cutting is a last resort for me.

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