Tactics for Autumn Turkey Flocks
Time is at a premium for many turkey hunters. Still, you miss hearing birds waking up on the roost, then drawing closer and closer to your setup after fly-down time. You need to hunt.
Try these five tactics for your busy schedule and tag a bird this fall.
1. Hunt the Fly-Down Time
As roosted birds fly down, there's a brief period of time they're apart. Scout to see where they land one day. Call as they regroup - they'll be vocalizing too - or simply wait for the turkey you want to move into range.
Bonus Tip: If they slip off silently, either follow them to scatter for the call-back effort, or simply return the next day for the fly-down.
2. Sit on Patterned Flocks
Blind sitting fills tags, too. Fall turkeys often roost near favored food sources: field insects, agricultural crop leavings, soft or hard mast along edge cover and in the woods. As a result, unpressured autumn flocks - especially early in the season - can be scouted for regular movements to and from where they sleep. Make your setup near the fly-down area, along the path they take to food or at the exact location, time depending.
Bonus Tip: Careful to only shoot the bird you want if they come in tightly grouped.
3. Talk to Your Neighbors
Non-hunting rural folks sometimes have a pretty good sense of turkeys in their area too. True enough, while some might be against hunting, others might view it as absolutely acceptable, even if they don't.
Bonus Tip: Mail delivery and parcel service people cover a lot of ground. Ask if they've seen birds.
4. Flash Scouting
Trips to the post office, grocery store, running your kid to school, or whatever, provide chances to look for turkeys you may not have seen.
Bonus Tip: This is a great time to ask permission as you'll likely be in regular clothes rather than all decked out head-to-toe in hunting apparel. You can look like that the next time they see you.
5. Hunt Fly-Up Time
Go back to where you hunted those morning fly-down turkeys. Sit, wait and watch for movement to the roost. Cold call to make contact. As the turkeys arrive, pick out your legal bird. Or let them all walk for another day.
Bonus Tip: Can't get one in gun or bow range as turkeys head to the roost? Well, be there the next morning.
Go here for more tips on how to hunt fall turkeys.
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Realtree.com's Steve Hickoff has hunted wild turkeys all across the United States and Mexico.
[Editor's note: This Realtree.com turkey blog was first published Sept. 26, 2017.]