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Author Topic: Key points for Begiinners, what should they know  (Read 4542 times)

Offline G squared 23

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Re: Key points for Begiinners, what should they know
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2019, 10:10:16 PM »
*Making too much noise while walking through the woods.  You can step, but try not to step on every single fallen stick or           bunch of dried leaves.  Take shorter and quicker steps, and watch where you are putting your feet.  When moving through the woods take routes in which you are less likely to be seen or heard.

*Too much head movement while sitting.  Novices do not seem to understand that head movement is a killer for a bird that is close.

You hit two good ones Marc. Heck I see this in many people who have hunted for years. I think woodsmanship is becoming a lost art and I'm not sure why. Is it because they aren't learning in the early stages? I have a friend who has hunted turkeys for 40+ years and he sounds like a train going through the woods, then wonders why he struggles at times. I gave up coaching him and just adapt my strategies to his style when we hunt. He doesn't even realize that I am making a big circle around a bird just so we can approach from over a bench or hill and on a trail. It's twice the work killing a bird with him, but he's a wonderful friend.

As for talking; it depends on where you are. If your close to an area they hear a lot of people it won't matter a lot, but in the deep woods they notice things they don't hear daily.
I think a lot of it is a by product of modern hunting shows. Even deer hunting is the same. Everyone wants to sit in a tree stand or blind. There is very little still hunting or woodsmanship learned these days. If all someone does is sit in a blind with a flock of decoys or a food plot they really aren't going to learn much. My advise to every new hunter is to get in the woods and learn. Scout, cover ground, read and learn the areas you hunt. Learn how animals move around the terrain. It seems that most take the route that requires the least effort. And this isn't an anti blind or decoy rant but most hunters these days are seriously cutting themselves short and are one dimensional. For example, our season starts in about a week. I was up at 4am and as of now have put ears on 4 different longbeards and a Jake. One is gobbling not 400 yards from me as I type this. Guess how many people I have seen? 0.
Now opening day will be a circus and there will be people everywhere screwing things up in every way possible. They will probably even screw up my hunt. It's sad but those willing to put in the effort are becoming a dying breed.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

Unfortunately turkey hunting is conducive to lazy folks literally “playing it by ear” opening morning, and “running and gunning” being a common “tactic” allows them to justify fishing until the opener and then running around and ruining as many peoples’ hunts as possible.

Offline g8rvet

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Re: Key points for Begiinners, what should they know
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2019, 01:03:37 PM »
I think I have not killed more birds because of not knowing the terrain where we chose to do battle early on when I first started spring hunting.  I did not pay enough attention to what birds did not want to go over or around when setting up.  Part of that goes to scouting and knowing their movements as well, so you can be where they want to be.  Creeks, fences, puddles, etc can end a hunt with frustration.  I also used to not pay enough attention to how I was set up as far as him not being able to see there is no bird where the calling is coming from.  I still struggle with that. 
Ducks, turkey, redfish.  Who has time for golf?

Offline Plush

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Re: Key points for Begiinners, what should they know
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2019, 01:52:25 PM »
I did not pay enough attention to what birds did not want to go over or around when setting up.  Part of that goes to scouting and knowing their movements as well, so you can be where they want to be.  Creeks, fences, puddles, etc can end a hunt with frustration.

I watched a guys hunt on YouTube where the gobbler was absolutely booking it in, hit a wire fence, and would not cross it. It paces frantically back and forth until it found a downed piece. If not for that the bird would never have crossed. Amazing they won't fly three feet in the air to cross a dumb fence.

Offline Cut N Run

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Re: Key points for Begiinners, what should they know
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2019, 10:44:28 PM »
Sitting Still is a big part of successful turkey hunting.  I've been taking an inexperienced 14 year old turkey hunting and he has difficulty being still.  I heard some hens clucking and scratching behind us a few days ago and quietly mentioned it to him.  He whipped his head around a to look and got to experience what PUTTS sound like.

Get as familiar with your gun as possible. It is irresponsible not to pattern your gun and find the most lethal pattern at the ranges you intend to hunt.


Luck counts, good or bad.

Offline Coroner01

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Re: Key points for Begiinners, what should they know
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2019, 02:00:39 AM »
1. Never stalk a turkey. Always be sure on what your shooting.
2. Watch the snood. The snake like skin hanging above their beak. If its long, he is excited and will come closer. If it starts to draw up, and become small....you better shoot him, as he won't be there long.
3. Wait for a commitment gobble. You call, he gobbles. DONT CALL AGAIN. Give him sometime to gobble one or two more times. He will come in if he feels your playing hard to get.
4. Movement is so bad. Be patient. Get a good hiding spot, move very little. I have been blessed with both early kills, and the fun late morning kills. In prime turkey season, later in the season the hens want bred off roost, and go sit on their eggs. The boys then wander aimlessly looking for love in all the wrong places.
5. There is such things as a "dry" hen. This hen is the devil herself. She breeds, entices the gobblers, steals them from you, and never lays an egg. There should be a season on these old hags.
6. Have fun. Be safe. Enjoy the world we live in.

Offline larry9988

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Re: Key points for Begiinners, what should they know
« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2019, 10:01:33 PM »
Call very little, if at all, until he flies down. The more you call the longer he may sit there, the more he gobbles in the tree, the more likely he is to call in a real hen or another hunter.

Offline guesswho

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Re: Key points for Begiinners, what should they know
« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2019, 08:28:01 AM »
Pay attention, and hunt like your the one being hunted.
If I'm not back in five minutes, wait longer!
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Online Marc

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Re: Key points for Begiinners, what should they know
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2019, 12:25:00 PM »
I could not remember the name of this thread and posted on the main forum...

But yesterday I took a beginning hunter and was reminded of a couple things that I have done and seen other new hunters do...

If birds are approaching in view, and your gun is not ready...  Do NOT move.  Worry about getting the gun up when the birds are behind an obstruction or when they are in good range.

We had birds approaching from a meadow, and my buddy slowly moved his gun into position as the birds were about 80 yards out headed right to us...  The froze and skirted us (providing a marginal shot which my buddy did not take).

When birds are close but behind an obstruction do NOT poke your head over for a look unless your gun is mounted and you plan to shoot...  Had a nice tom come in behind a rock and some bushes...  I believe he would have presented for a shot eventually, but he was very close and my buddy tried to sneak a peak... He did not see the bird, but the bird saw him....  Game ended....

If your gun is not ready and mounted when birds are in good range...  Pick the bird you are going to shoot, mount the gun and fire in a smooth deliberate manner...  All too often as you mount the gun, the birds will freeze (for an instant), and allow for a quick but ethical shot.

When I first started out, I had it drilled into me (by books, videos and other veteran hunters) to have my gun up and ready as birds approached...  I bungled birds by trying to mount a gun before they were in range...  And I have also had the experience myself and watched others have birds come into range with a low gun, and been too afraid to make the move to shoot and had them either wander off or spook off.

As I have aged, I have found that sitting with a gun on my knee, or mounted is not comfortable...  I cannot remember the last time I had birds come into a ready gun, but it has been a while.  I have not had a single opportunity ruined by mounting and shooting in the past several years...

Did I do that?

Fly fishermen are born honest, but they get over it.

Offline tal

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Re: Key points for Begiinners, what should they know
« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2019, 06:34:34 PM »
 An old-timer's saying.... A turkey can spot a tick crawling up the bark of a tree at 200 yards. Keep those eyes and ears in mind when you're moving in, setting up.


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Re: Key points for Begiinners, what should they know
« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2019, 12:10:23 AM »
Scouting above all else. Knowing where they roost, and strut and feed will help you succeed more than ANYTHING else
Avoid spooking them while doing so at all costs, but scout, scout, scout and then scout some more. If you KNOW where they roost and then have a good idea which way the Toms will go after they fly down and can put yourself between the Tom and where he wants to go especially if he's NOT with his hens you just became the worlds greatest turkey caller.
Although I can't recall it ever happening but I'm sure it has, I have never failed to call in a Tom to within gun range who was already heading my way. And a VERY important fact is if you have a Tom already heading your way and he will more likely than not end up in gun range do nothing at all but stay rock still you have nothing to gain by calling and getting a Tom (who was headed in your direction already) to stare very intently at your location looking for a hen, especially if you don't have decoys out.
Consider carrying a good compound action pruning shear to cut away stout weeds or thorn branches in your way before and after you set up. Its much much quieter and easier than trying to break them or force them out of your way. But regardless always set up in enough cover to effectively hide you and brake up your outline as you will almost certainly have to move at least a little to make the shot.

Once you are set up if you can get away with the movement, swing you gun as far left and right as you can to check if your barrel will encounter any obstructions like a saplings or tall weeds that will stop you from swinging on and shooting a tom and if you can relocate if you can and if you cant adjust your actions accordingly.

Speaking of making the shot never ever move to make your shot unless the turkey is WELL within range and then only move smoothly and in one motion if you're actually going to shoot, any movement made adjusting prior to shooting will almost certainly get you busted.

IMHO, binoculars are second and BARELY second only to your gun in importance in succeeding in killing a turkey. I can not count the number of Toms I have spotted out fields, especially in the dark shadowy corners of huge fields with my 10 power Leupolds that I would have NEVER EVER seen with my naked eyes. Next add in the number of Toms my binoculars allowed me to see while sneaking and peaking and remaining unseen in the brush that would have spotted me if I would have tried to spot them with using only using my naked eyes that I then killed either by setting up on and calling in or just out right ambushed and it would surely add up to at least half of all the toms I have killed on private land and more than half of my public land Toms. Bottom line is using binoculars I have spotted countless hundreds of turkeys with them never having spotted me and would've without doubt been otherwise spooked when I crossed an field or opening.

Another instance when binoculars are your best weapon is spotting a turkey on the roost and identifying it as a hen, tom or jake on the roost both in the morning and evening. But even more important on a roosted tom or jake in the morning and seeing which way he is facing which is of utmost importance as 90%+of the time turkeys will fly down in the same direction they are facing while on the roost.

More times than I can count I have spotted a roosted tom facing away from me and successfully called to him and got him turned my way and had him fly down to me and my decoys to his demise.

Have on you at least three different types of calls and if at all possible make one of them a mouth call. I personally carry three mouth calls a synthetic slate and a paddle call. I can not stress enough to try to learn how to use a mouth call. Mouth calls have made a HUGE difference in my success in the last five turkey seasons. This year on two occasions the turkeys ignored both my friends and mines stand by synthetic slate and came in to my mouth calls. Also you can call much louder if need be with a mouth or paddle call VS a slate and sometimes the extra volume can mean the difference between success and failure. I keep my mouth calls in a small screw on lid Tupper wear container like ones you would use to store a small amount of salad dressing in and it fits easily in my turkey vest. I keep a silver dollar sized piece of sponge in the container dampened with scope mouthwash. Slate calls and paddle calls are very easy to learn how to use.
The only shock gobble call I've ever used with success is an owl hooter. The new tube ones are very loud and sound awesome.

Learning the difference between when a Tom is gobbling while on the roost and on the ground so you can accurately gauge how far or near a tom is to you early in the morning. Not much point in trying to call to a Tom gobbling on the roost 200-300 yards from you and trying to move in on him when has become to light out and you can easily be seen by all turkeys and bust them off the roost, but once he is on the ground and gobbling it's time to seriously consider moving in on him.

And learning to understand how big a part the wind plays in affecting how far your calls or a toms gobbles will travel and be heard by you and your calls by the toms. And how the wind direction and intensity may fool you into thinking a Tom's gobbles are farther or closer than they sound. I have seen Toms gobbling like mad out in a field LRF confirmed 350-400 yards away and not been able to hear them at all due to a strong constant wind at my back.

Over calling. Its been said but I'll say it again, especially on public land its very easy to over call and will more than likely ruin than help your odds. Remember you are trying to get a tom to go 100% against what is normal turkey behavior by getting him to come to your hen calls instead of how nature intended it that the hens come running to his gobbles and yelps. Once your are sure he has gobbled in response to your calls SHUT UP!!! On 5 of my last 7 toms I called them in from over 400 yards away (after 9am I might add) and once I got the tom to gobble 1 or 2x back at my calls I shut up and watched all five of those tome walk the 400+ yards across a huge open field off my neighbors land onto the farm I was hunting all took from an hour to almost 90 minuets to cover the distance and only one occasionally gobbled but I never called EXCEPT in the case of two of the toms when they started to stray off path and then I only sent out 3-4 yelps with a soft cluck and purr.

Always if at all possible if you move do so with the sun at your back never if at all possible allow yourself to be highlighted by the sun, always stay in or stop in the shade or shadows cast by the woods.

Always hunt as if you're being hunted.

If walking fire lanes or trails, always move as close to cover as you can and think in terms of what to do if a Tom suddenly pops out hasn't seen you and you have to drop right there and try to work him in. This youth season my sons and I were set up on at least 4 roosted toms and two jakes all of which I identified with my binos while still on the roost 70-75 yards from our set up but none flew down our way and instead flew down to a fire lane that bordered multiple fields on the other side of the flooded ditch. Once i was certain no birds were left roosted i might spook we quickly found a spot to cross the ditch and started to work our way towards one of two fields I was 95% sure they were in. Sure enough as my one son and I were quietly and slowly working our way towards the first field, about 200 yards away form the edge where the second field ended at the fire lane we were walking bordered by a hedgerow, out popped a big red headed tom. My son and I instantly hit the ground. Then a 2nd, then 3rd then 4th then 5th tom all stepped out on the fire lane we were laying on about 200-225 yards away.
I succeed in calling them our way but at 35 yards my son shot and missed.

Never ever set up with the sun highlighting you always set up in cover and in the shadows, this is especially important if your walking and blind calling, never ever call unless prior to calling you have picked out a good spot you can quickly and easily set up in cover and in the shade or shadows. This also applies and is equally important if setting up in the dark on roosted birds. This year my son, my friend and i set up on a roosted tom that unbelievably didn't fly down until a full hour after sun up and because we had no choice but to set up in very limited cover if we had set up facing east instead of west we would have been highlighted by direct sun light due to their being almost no cloud cover.

If you are hunting public land and its a draw with limted low numbers of hunters allowed then learn to spot and stalk turkeys, but exercise extreme caution not to do so as to affect others hunts. Where I hunt is well over 9k acres and they allow a very limited and low number hunters a day that's over 700 acres per hunter.

Also depending on your states regulations weather permitting, hunt till the end of legal time. I have killed at least 40-45% of my private land turkeys after 9-9:30am and at least half of my public land toms after 9am and in my experience most hunters are gone before 9-9:30am leaving you access to some great hunting times especially as the season wears on and fewer and fewer hens are available to breed toms and jakes become more susceptible to calls after 9-9:30am. This is also where scouting pays big time if you know the location of dedicated strut zones or good feeding areas you can set up on or spot a tom in and put on a stalk.

Don't let bad weather keep you at home in bed. More than a few toms ended up in the back of my turkey vest on a morning that started out raining, and even bad thunder storms including hail when the weather said it would clear up and be sunny by 8:30-9am and I filled my tag before 10am that same day. My friends and I have killed turkeys in all kinds of weather, heavy fog, high winds, rain, even during or after it snowed. Unless it's going to rain all day, I hunt, plus the threat of bad weather often keeps most hunters at home upping your odds.
At first you might want to keep a written journal of what you think you did well or poorly and note what you did when you failed or succeeded until you get reasonably good.

It goes without saying to pattern your gun, but also just as important is to practice shooting enough from the same exact positions you will be sitting in while hunting so that you know how your gun will shoot and how it might affect your POA and POI when you shoot. See what happens when you must shoot from your maximum right or left angle to simulate what it's like shooting a turkey that surprises you and is on your extreme right or left side. If you haven't done this you likely will be very surprised to learn you might shoot very differently when seated like when turkey hunting VS standing or from the bench when sighting in your gun, this is especially true if like me you use a actual rifle scope on your turkey gun. I use a Leupold VariX-II 2-7x33mm shotgun scope set at 2x.

Don't be afraid to set up close to a roost if you know its exact location. By close I mean under 100 yards. If I know where the toms are roosted and I can do so without making any noise I'll try to get at least with in 70-75 yards from roosted Toms. That way when he fly's down to your way he will either be in range or very near to being in range especially if you can put out a decoy or two. to accomplish this you have to be setting up well before even the slightest hint of sun rise. I'll usually be set up at least 90 minuets prior to the first slivers of dawn. My success rate went up dramatically once i started setting up under 100 yards from where i knew a tom was roosted.

If you aren't sure of the exact location of a tom you heard gobble the night before but can get with in 100-150 yards of him prior to dawn do so and wait and hope he gobbles and if he does use your judgement and try to set up under 100 yards from him.

If you can do so safely and not concerned about other hunters, if come predawn you don't have a Tom gobbling that your set up on but here one gobbling your're confident is under 200-250 yards from you and is gobbling often enough you can figure out his location on the roost to within 100 yards or less, see if the topography of the land and the cover will let you move in and close the distance to at or under 100 yards or as close as think you can get with out spooking him or any other turkeys. But this can be risky as you can get busted by other birds as you move so keep an eye to the sky looking for other roosted birds. If for what ever reason you cant get close enough to call to him, wait until he is on the ground and then move in on him. Also if the night before you heard one or more turkeys gobble on the roost and that next morning you are as close to what you thought might be their roosting location but are unsure and are waiting for them to gobble so you can move in on them, once you here one gobble if he is over 200 yards away and you have enough time left before it gets to light, wait a few minuets and see if that farther away turkey gobbling doesn't trigger one closer and some times much closer to you to gobble giving away his location so you can set up on him. IMHO there is no better shock gobble call to get a tight lipped gobbler to gobble than another tom gobbling near by.

Well all I've posted along with all the other advice should be an excellent head start to any novice turkey hunter looking to flatten out his or her turkey hunting learning curve.

I sure wish I had someone experienced as I am to talk to when I first started out. It was a long four seasons until I learned enough to begin to enjoy success.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2019, 01:02:15 AM by DMTJAGER »

Offline Paulmyr

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Re: Key points for Begiinners, what should they know
« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2019, 12:48:59 AM »
If you plan on hunting a public area for a couple days in row and don't have a bird roosted, don't go charging at the 1st roost gobble you hear especially if the bird you hear doesn't gobble much.There is a good chance there are more toms around. Sometimes they just don't feel like gobbling. You don't want to blow the birds out of there. Try to pattern them. Find out where they go off of the roost. Come back in the evening and roost them and get in there early the next Mourn. If I'm hunting an area for more than one day I try to pull birds away from the roost or meet them in their strut zones and  try save the roost til the last day and make sure nobody beats you to your spot. If your hunting the whole season on private land don't hunt the roost until end of season.

Your ears are your best tools. Listen to everything. Crows like to mess with turkeys. I don't know how many times this season I would here a gobble or 2 and minutes later there would be crows swarming the area and sometimes even owls and wood peckers. The crows would leave and return  a little later trying to force a gobble from a Tom. Listen for leaves rustling. Swooooosh swooooosh,swoosh swoosh is the sound I heard when I snuck up on the my 1st hen feeding. 2 long strokes followed by 2 short strokes in succession. I peeked my head over a ditch burn and there she was feeding away only 7 yds from me. Watched here for about 10 mins. She'd make her 4 scratches and step back feed for a couple secs and repeat. I  have yet to here another turkey use in this cadence usually it's just a swooooosh swooooosh even cadence. If there is a hen feeding by you in the mourn chances are good that a Tom may be in the area.
When a Tom is coming fast in decent cover you will hear the leaves before you see him.

You'll be amazed at how well turkeys can hear. The softest Calls you can make can heard from quite a distance by a turkey.

Turkey feet are sensitive. They can feel vibrations in the ground so don't pound your feet when walking or running when trying to cut the distance on a bird or at at anytime for that matter.

Remember where you heard every Tom gobbling throughout the season. Generally he was there for a reason. Take note of when you heard it. Come back often to listen or even blind call to these areas. This is one of his spots and he will return at some point in the future unless he's dead.

Online GobbleNut

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Re: Key points for Begiinners, what should they know
« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2019, 10:03:08 AM »
Lot's of good information presented here,...unfortunately, so much information that a beginner will most likely have some difficulty sorting it all out.   :)

Based on the information given, here are a couple of other quick points that should be emphasized:
1)  Perseverance:  Assuming new turkey hunters have a basic understanding of turkey calling and behavior, they should understand that, in many cases, success is simply a matter of the amount of effort they put into it.  I would bet that most of the folks that have posted here spend every minute they possibly can during the season hunting.  That likely adds up to many days or weeks being in the turkey woods. 

I don't play golf anymore because I realized that, to get good at it, I would have to spend way more time than I wanted to devote to it.  The same applies to turkey hunting.  If you really want to become a successful turkey hunter, you should accept the fact that you will have to devote a lot of time to it,...at least for those folks that aren't hunting Turkey Utopia. 

2)  Adopt the right hunting method for the place you are hunting:  Some folks condemn "run and gun" style hunting,...and some condemn "sit and wait" style.  Each has its place DEPENDING entirely upon where you are hunting.  Learning to identify the proper hunting technique for the area you are hunting is a BIG key to success. 

Speaking in general terms, hunting small properties usually requires more of the "sit and wait" approach, while hunting large areas often calls for more of the "run and gun" method.  Using R&G on a property of a few hundred acres or less is a good way to put every bird on that property on the alert.  On the other hand, using S&W on some national forest lands out west will most certainly give you plenty of opportunity to watch the grass grow,..as there might not be a turkey within ten miles of where you have chosen to sit and wait. 

In summary, learn to identify the right hunting method for where you hunt,...and then persevere!  :icon_thumright:

Online Turkeyman

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Re: Key points for Begiinners, what should they know
« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2019, 08:18:37 PM »
If you are pretty sure where birds are roosted, get in there early and set up an hour before sunrise and wait. What else have you got to do...sit in your truck and drink coffee for that extra half hour? I've never been busted doing this, whether it's overcast or a bright full moon, and have, at times, literally been right amongst them, or underneath them (gobblers or hens).

After they get off the limb and you make a call letting them know you're there, stay in that "set up" mode with no movement. The tom you want may come looking for you but he's not your problem...it's the hens,  quiet subordinates or jakes that will come looking for you...quietly. You'll move a bit because you know he can't see you and "Putt Putt" game over. Ask me how I know this!!

This is exactly how I got my PA bird this year...there were four gobblers...two jakes and two toms, plus a hen. They must have gobbled a hundred times combined. I did nothing until they flew down, and I saw them fly down ~100 yards from me. Then I ran a couple yelps w/mouth call. The hen came my way with them in tow. I couldn't get a whack at the boss, but a 2 YO didn't make it.

Offline Manoflaw

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Re: Key points for Begiinners, what should they know
« Reply #28 on: May 27, 2019, 07:24:14 PM »
1) Scout, scout, scout- get up every morning for 3 weeks before season comes in and just go stand in the woods and listen. Go to places you know you can hear roosted birds but can slip in and out undetected. LEave the calls at home, take a crow call if you must.
2) get in there early- still pitch black. That extra hour of sleep isn't worth bumping and educating a bird.
3) don't be afraid to set up close to a roosted bird if you get there early.
4) if he cuts you off, shut up and get ready
5) You don't have to have your gun in a shooting position as soon as he starts coming in. It's better to be comfortable and still than "ready." if a bird comes in, he will most likely give you an opportunity to shoulder and shoot.

Offline sasquatch1

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Re: Key points for Begiinners, what should they know
« Reply #29 on: August 22, 2019, 11:28:24 PM »
one that took me a long time to learn the hard way is a little patience, on that note though you can def patients yourself out of a kill also. However dnt get too anxious, they don't usually move too fast, if you get close and setup but he goes quiet a lot of times hes sneaking in. Also, if you don't hear him for a while most times hes still within earshot so just hold tight a while. don't leave a turkey to find a turkey. mostly speaking of easterns