The Life Cycle of the Wild Turkey
Seth McCullough – owner and founder of Bully’s Game Calls – gives you a detailed look into the life of a wild turkey. From birth to adulthood, this video outlines the intricacies of the wild turkey. Hopefully, you will come away with a new understanding and respect for North America’s most sought after game bird…the wild turkey.
Below are some basic turkey hunting tips and wild turkey info.
Turkey Hunting Safety
- Treat every gun like a loaded gun. Always point your gun in a safe direction. Don’t point at anything you do not intend to shoot.
- Never wear red, white, or blue when you are turkey hunting. These are the colors of the Gobbler’s head and are the colors that other hunters are looking for.
- When a hunter approaches your decoy set, do not try to wave or be sneaky. If a hunter shoots at movement, waiving just makes you a target. Speak out in a loud clear voice and identify yourself as a hunter.
- Wear your blaze orange when you successfully complete your hunt. This will keep you safe while you carry your trophy from the woods.
Turkey Hunting Attire
- Always dress in layers when you are turkey hunting. Mornings are always colder than the mid-morning and afternoon. Make sure you have the ability to remove clothes and put them in your backpack or turkey vest.
- Always wear camo from head to toe. Any piece of you that can be covered should be.
- Always wear quality socks and boots. Nothing makes a day in the field more uncomfortable than wet and blistered feet.
Scouting and Woodsmanship
- Look for frequently used roost trees. Roost trees can be identified by feathers or droppings under the tree. An often used roost tree will usually have many horizontal limbs and will often times be located near water.
- Look around your hunting area for droppings. Gobbler droppings are usually J-shaped and about one and one half inches long. Hen droppings are round and resemble a piece of popcorn.
- Turkey tracks are the greatest indicator of a frequently used area. Hen tracks are about 3 to 4 inches long. A gobbler track is about Five to Six inches long and much wider then a hen track.
- Look for dusting areas. Turkeys will use dusting areas everyday if they can. Sand and loose dirt are their favorite areas to dust. Dusting areas can be identified by the bowl or figure eight shaped depressions in the dirt.
Wild turkeys have a very complex language. Listed below are the few that are needed to successfully begin turkey hunting.
- Yelp – the yelp is the main call in the turkey language. There are many different types of yelps including the tree yelp, assembly yelp, plain yelp, excited yelp, and also the not very often heard gobbler yelp. In turkey talk yelps are used for a variety of different reasons including saying hello, as well as the mother hen assembling her young.
- Cluck – The cluck is a one or two note sound that turkeys use to communicate and locate each other at short distances.
- Cutting – cutting is a sharper harder cluck. It is in a broken rhythm. A hen will cutt when she is agitated or excited.
- Purr – Although there are many different kinds of purrs, the one that is most often used for hunting is the contented feeding purr. Turkeys make this sound all day as they feed. Usually the feeding purr is a great call to use and will make that gobbler close in those last few yards.
- Alarm Putt – the alarm put is a sharp note call that is usually just one to three notes long. Turkeys use this call when they sense danger. The alarm putt is much the same as cutting but is usually shorter and sharper.
Many turkey hunters use decoys. If decoys are legal in your state they are somtimes a great help. Decoys can be used to help judge yardage and give that Tom the visual stimulus he needs to go along with your calling. A very good decoy set up is to use one jake decoy and two hens. Often times a gobbler will be aggressive to a jake decoy and this will bring him in close enough for the shot. Twenty yards is a good distance for most decoy set ups.