My first Turkey hunt was when I was 18 years
old. The morning should have taught me a lot about patience, BUT IT DIDN’T.
We slid into a pre-scouted are where the night before had placed a double bull ground blind to conceal us for the mornings hunt. Just after the sun broke through, the turkeys flew down, and one came to the call. I promptly told my buddy Andy to take the shot, as he had a better angle than I. He was quick to follow up, and he downed the bird as he came in searching for a hen. With much excitement we were not able to sit still for long as we had to go recover the very first bird either one of us had ever been a part of. The rest of the flock was still very vocal, and within 15 minutes another long beard (Even larger then the one just harvested) waked within 60 yards. It was not long before Andy and I were busted as we had left the blind, but from then on I was crazy about turkey hunting!
There are lots of videos out and I think I bought them all. I read every magazine that had anything to do with turkey hunting. It was safe to say that tried to learn all I could. I was and am still considered a run and gunner. I think that this is largely due to my hunting background as a guide in the west. Turkey populations are rising, and people who have lots of birds to hunt and knew how to hunt were having great success using this aggressive and ground covering tactic.
Trying to teach myself to turkey hunt, I quickly became a run and gunner. I scouted hard before season and then hunted hard once the season opened. I learned a lot by trial and even more by error those first couple years, having success harvesting turkeys each of my first couple seasons. I just could not figure out how the traditional turkey hunters in my area were killing birds during the first few days of the season each and every year. I worked way harder then they did and certainly covered more ground. They talked about just sitting around and killing birds. It just did not make sense to me.
The person I have learned more from over the years is Kelvin Niemeyer. Kelvin is my uncle and an avid turkey hunter himself. He has taken more long beards than I even want to know and most of them being out of state birds! This convinced me that there could definitely be a better turkey hunter than myself!
I hammered Kelvin with questions, and because he is such a gentleman and great uncle, he answered them all. He traveled to hunt with me and I traveled to hunt with him. No matter where he hunts, it is a rare day that he does not come back with a gobbler over his shoulder. I had to find out what he did that made him so successful.
He calls well, but is not a Grand Champion. He was always in good shape, but I was 30 years younger and was sure I could cover more ground. Slowly though, I began to see the light.
Kelvin thinks like a turkey, which is why he is so successful in places he has never hunted before. He listens and reads birds well. He is a master at looking at terrain and deciding how the gobbler will use it to travel. Above all he is patient.
Kelvin will move on a bird, but says he will generally stay put for about an hour when he does set up. He will pick his spot and stick with it. Last year I slowed down a bit. I try to stay in my set ups for the hour he suggested. I am a lot more prone to waiting a bird out than running in on him. I also learned that if you do not kill the bird that day, sometimes it is better to back off and return in your pursuit the following days.
The pay off:
Last spring, I called the same gobblers in a couple mornings in a row but could never get the shot I was looking for. I set up well before daylight the next morning with my hunting buddy, Andy. On that third morning we stayed patient and quiet and let the gobblers come to us. The birds walked straight down the gun barrel towards us. Patience pays off, and I hope it wont take you years of trial and error to figure out how to hurry up and wait!