Today starts the Turkey Season in Nebraska with archery spring gobbler season starting today. It will be a few more days until I am ready to hit the woods but I thought I would grab a few of our tips and throw them up for those looking to have success this spring Something about the spring temperatures, the gobblers calling in the woods and the opportunity to get outside just gets my blood boiling and sparks off a full season of turkey hunting chaos. These tips should help to get you in range and gobblers flopping on the ground
Get Up Early
It’s not always easy to do day after day for 45 days, but getting up early gives you options. Getting in early can get you into the woods in the dark and allow the woods time to calm down before the action begins to build. It’s always better to be in the woods and set up early than to be walking in late and get busted and have to find a new location to hunt.
Make the effort to scout in the evening and watch birds fly into the roost. Taking a bird in the morning that you have roosted the previous evening is a satisfying feat and you cannot roost birds if you are not out watching the sunset and spending the time to scout. Watching birds roost also gives you the time to scout how you are going to set up on that bird, so when you are crawling into the woods in the dark you have some knowledge of the lay of the land and exactly where you are going to set up.
Don’t Skimp on Calls
I carry a pretty serious turkey vest into the woods each spring and it is loaded with turkey calls, usually about three times more than I need but I like to have options. I carry three box calls, three or four slate calls, five strikers, several diaphragm calls, a gobble call and three locator calls.
Early Season, Be Aggressive
In the early archery season I have found that gobblers are still pretty set in their routines and the more aggressive you are the more action you will get. I set up two to three hen decoys and one jake decoy and then I get to calling. I work to create as much racket as I can and I traditionally will not stop calling until I get that bird into range or I can clearly see that he is coming.
Work with Partners
Early season calling, especially during bow season, I like to hunt with friends. I set up with the shooter in front of me by 25 yards and the decoys in front of him 15 yards and then I start calling pretty seriously. This brings the birds into range and the focus is either on the decoys or me calling. This allows my friend the chance to draw his bow and smack down big gobblers.
After 10 am, I like to get out and walk ridges and cover ground. Hunting like this allows me to see lots of land, shed hunt and scout for great deer sign while working birds. About a third of the turkeys I have taken have fallen to this method of hunting. Call lightly in these circumstances and if you hear a gobbler, move in as close as you dare, sit down and call again. If he gobbles again and he is close, get ready because the action is going to get pretty serious fast.
Sometimes You Have to Shut Up
Sometimes the best offense is to play coy and hard to get. If a gobbler is hot and heavy and he just won’t come in, shut down all calling and just listen. Nothing is more frustrating to a gobbler than a hen playing hard to get. If you have his attention, he will come in so be still and be ready.
Be Tick Aware
Ticks are just starting to get active at this time of year and they are an important food source for turkeys but that is not why you need to be aware. Lyme disease is a serious issue so be on the lookout for ticks on your body and in your hair and wear tick proof clothing and use bug spray to keep yourself safe.
Have fun outdoors and take time to enjoy the small things. Spring gobbler season can be one of the best times of the year to enjoy the outdoors.