For many years I have been hutning the elusive MN gobbler. Well at least there elusive when your hutning them. Doesn't it seem like they could be a family pet when the season is over or before it starts? They drive me crazy!
Over the years I have picked up a few good tips that help me stay successful in the turkey woods.
First thing I do is thry to enter the woods as quiet as possible. Basically like deer hunting. The big smart toms will know when his woods is being disturbed. There is no reason an hour to a half hour before sunrise his woods should go totally silent. You need to quiet to bag that big boy.
Blinds: Some hunters will find a nice tree and settle in but when your bow hunting for these creatures I think a blind is by far the way to be most successful. One thing I do notice about turkeys is they do not care if you set up a blind. They just seem to ignore its even there. But they do see you inside it! Always wear clothes that match the interior color of your blind. Black!! If you do think you will be possibly going on a spot and stalk pack your good camo along just in case. Keep your face covered also. Don't forget your ThermoCell!!
Decoys: I keep my decoys 10-15 feet from my blind. There is no reason to take a long shot if you don't have to. The other reason I keep them so close is you will get that big old Tom that just won't come all the way in. When the decoys are that close you can still have a 20-30 yard shot no problem. I use 3-5 decoys some hens a jake and a mid size tom. I have had birds run when they see a big dominant tom in my decoys. Thats not what you want after taking all that time and preperation.
Calls: I use a slate and a box call. Mouth calls just are not my thing. The reason I use them is they just work for me. If you are a slate call user always make sure you pack a dry towel and some sand paper. The last thing you want is for your call not to perform in crunch time. One tip on calling I have is never call before the sun is up. Thats another thing a big tom will notice instantly. Why is there a hen on the ground and its still dark out??? Most big boys will just go the other way. I think they are much smarter then they get credit for.
Shot placement: With a shotgun its a no brainer! Take his head off!! With a bow on the other hand do your research. There are a lot of feathers on them boys and it is very easy to miss. I have given haircuts to a few birds in my day.
A few final tips. Stay in the woods as long as you can. These birds have no schedules and can show up any time of the day. I have seen more birds from 11:00-2:00 then early or late in the day. Hutn safe follow all the laws and the most important thing is have fun!!! See ya in the woods!