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FALL HUNT





1.FOCUS:

Think about it. Being in the woods when you can bring yourself to focus on turkey hunting, and all the joys that goes with it, can ease your mind and help you forget about your troubles that you can't do anything about; the kind of care's that keep you awake at night only to fade at sunrise, are easily forgotten as you focus on turkey hunting. A beautiful sunrise, the song of a hermit thrush, the sight of the migrating warbler you have never seen before, or the delicate pink of an arbutus as you scrape away the leaves is better tonic for the weary mind than any pharmaceutical, massage, or advice from a counselor. But you must focus.





2. ON KNOWING THE TERRITORRY:

Check out your hunting territory. Even if it consisted of a square mile or so, but knew it well.

If you are going to hunt strange terriory, learn everything you can about that area. You will want to know if it can be successful, is take the time and scout the area.





3. FALL SCOUTING:

Fall hunting for the wild turkey is different from spring hunting, so too, what you should look for and what you will see while scouting in fall is different from in spring. The difference is what we might in human terms call "the lifestyle" of the wild turkey.





4. FLOCK SIZE AND LOCATION:

In the spring time mature toms live separately, and hen flocks are smaller. You will see jakes in pairs or small flocks of ten or more traveling together. In fall hens and their broods have started to flock up with other sexes, along with hens of all ages, may contain hundreds of birds, sometimes incorrectly called doves. Mature toms and yearlings jakes will travel together in pairs, trios, and in flocks up to a dozen or more, separte from the hen-and-poult flocks.

When the hard mast crop is plentiful and general, such as good acorn year, flocks seem to stay in the woods in such a year and are seldom seen in the open, creating the impression that the turkey number are way down. Conversly, when the mast crop is poor and the birds must feed on grass, grasshoppers, small seeds, fruit pits, wild grain, and cornfield wast, huge flocks seen in the open create an impression of overpopulation.

Because of the above facts, the general location of wild turkeys can be found by driving the back roads. General location from road scouting is fine, however, you'll need to do final scouting on foot to find the specific locations where hunting will be most successful.





5. FEEDING HABITS:

Once a turkey leaves his roost in the morning, turkeys are constantly either eating or looking for food. When you walk through the woods to scout, be on the watch not only for signs of where they have been but for feathers, droppngs, tracks, and scratching, but also for food that they eat.

Turkey seem to prefer a variety of food, from grains and nuts to grass and grasshoppers. Here in the East about the only food they will stay on continually, with little else, is acorns.

The normal eating day for a flock of wild turkey starts with flying into a field where corn was just harvested. Next they will head for a hardwood forest, searching for acorns, beechnuts, and seedpods from ash trees. In old pastures along stone walls and hedgerows they will find and feed on wild fruits, such as apples, wild cherries, and wild grapes. The sae area may have a hickory with a few nuts that the squirrels haven't gotten

Just scouting the woods and back fields on an early-fall day can provide almost as much pleasure as hunting. As a bonus you may gather some late-summer flowers for your loved one "guys." :-)

Finally, after a thorough job of scouting, you will see so much sign that the night before fall turkey season you won't sleep a wink.





6. STILL HUNTING:

For a lone hunter to walk up on a flock of wild turkeys in the woods on a clear day is in itself almost impossible, yet it can be done. The addition of hunting patience, increases your chance to get close to a flock. Another hunter in the same area also, increases the chance that while you are standing, birds moving away from him or her may come to within the correct distance for you to scare and diverse.

If you can team up with another hunter, you both are fortunate. You could work along on either side of a ridge, or through an alder swamp, and after several hours arriving at your preset destination, still at the proper safe distance apart and opposite each other.





7. FALL HUNT VARIATIONS:

What you can learn about hunting wild turkey is basically what you must know to be able to successfully hunt them in the fall.

First and formost, you wll learn that wild turkey are constantly on the alert for danger. With their acute sensitive hearing and keen sight, they notice any movement or sound that is not natural to their surroundings. When a hen gives the "puck! puck!" warning, they are either going to just fade away out of shot-gun range, start running, or, if necessary, explode into flight. Second You will learn that you must learn to wait.





8. TO SIT, LISTEN, WATCH AND WAIT:

The most common way to hunt fall turkey; use a call, combined with concealment, listen, watch and wait.

In late fall the flocks become large, feeding on cornfields or the corn from manure spread on the fields. If birds are seen in these areas near roosting time and are undisturbed, they often come sailing out into these fields at daybreak.

In such a situation it is best to let hens come and settle down to feed before shooting them. In this way you can take your pick, or, if the law permits toms only, you can pick out a red head and beard. Further more, if you are hunting with friends, wait until enough birds are down, and spread out so everyone can get a shot.





9. DECOYS FOR FALL HUNTING:

When positioning your decoy, you should also take into consideration the danger of another hunter shootng at it. This is particulary true if you are using jake or tom decoys, or in the fall when either sex may be taken.

Decoys are of value if set in a field where birds have fed previous days, to make them less wary when coming out to feed. In such a situation you may put the decoy, out of range of your setup. Your setup, however, should be along the trail where you believe the birds will be coming. More than one hunter with more then one setup covering all possible entry routes is ideal and justifies the use of several decoys.

In fall season, especially in areas where either birds of either sex may be taken, be extremely careful about where you position your decoys and setup. Be sure that another hunter mistaking the decoy for a live bird will have to come out into the open and be seen by you before shooting towards you.





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