By Heath Wood
Most spring turkey hunts that end unsuccessfully are likely due to the hunter having the wrong setup. Perhaps they couldn’t see the turkey from where they were sitting, the turkey hung up outside of shooting range, or they couldn’t get a shot when the gobbler presented himself, all of which are valid consequences associated with being in the wrong location.
Having the proper ground set up on a gobbler is one of the most significant factors in calling him into shooting range. If the hunter is not in the right location, everything else falls apart. When in the wrong spot, gobblers do not respond to a hunters’ call, decoy setups do not work correctly, and the overall quality of the hunt can tank fast. Below are three foolproof setups to ensure that you are in the right location and your hunt ends with a bang.
The roost setup equates to getting set up early while the gobbler is still on the roost. The chances of getting a tom intrigued by a hunter calling will dramatically increase when you are set up close to the roost. When a tom first wakes up and immediately hears the soft calling nearby, it is as if the hen kissed him good morning. Why would a tom want to find a hen far away when one is waiting for him to fly down?
To set up when a tom is still on the roost, he must be located the night before using a locator call moments before he flies up to the roost. When he responds, his exact location is pinpointed for the following day.
Before sunrise, the hunter can ease into the roost area, getting as close to the roost without spooking them as possible. When he begins gobbling that morning, start calling by making soft tree yelps to let the tom know there is a hen roosted nearby. The gobbler can fly down from the roost and be in shooting range within a few minutes, leaving less time for another hen to slip in between or for him to find a different route to approach the calling.
The Strut Zone
The phrase “hurry up and wait” is commonly used when setting up near a strut zone. A strut zone can be a field or open area that toms typically go during mid-mornings and afternoons to strut and show off for the hens. The good thing for hunters is that these areas make great places to set up and wait.
Often, hunters use a ground blind or tuck themselves back in some cover on the edge of a strut zone and use decoys and calling to lure them to where the turkeys are naturally going. When set up on the edge of a field, hunters can place two or three decoys approximately fifteen to twenty yards out. Then using the Swagger Bipods QD42 to keep the shotgun in the ready position without holding it for an extended period, begin calling periodically. When the toms enter the strut zone, they see the jake decoy
with a hen, and they immediately think someone has beaten them to a hen, resulting in a quick approach.
Run And Gun In Timber
If sitting and waiting on a tom to come isn’t an exciting option, the next choice is to find him instead. The move and call until a gobbler is located strategy is often referred to as “running and gunning.”
The run and gun method is an excellent way tag a tom. However, it is crucial to have a potential ambush site in mind before zeroing in on a bird. Too often, hunters find a cooperative gobbler in a location that is too open to set up correctly. Instead, walk and call from old logging roads or pathways through the timber to get within range. Roads and pathways are natural places that a gobbler likes to travel, resulting in a better response. Every seventy-five to one hundred yards, use a locator call such as a crow call or a turkey call to try and spark up a gobble. If the gobbler answers close by, use the Swagger Bipods QD42’s and quickly set up on edge and begin calling.