In most places across the United States, the spring turkey season typically commences during March or April. The only states that do not open during this time are the northern states which hunt during May.
Depending on weather conditions for that spring, the earlier portions of spring turkey hunting can be challenging for hunters. The trials during the early season come from the lack of green foliage and cover while walking or trying to call in a gobbler. Another challenge presented during the early season is that turkeys are in the first portion of their breeding season and can be shy to come to specific calls. Below are three tips for early-season success.
Stay Put- Use A Ground Blind
One of my favorite tactics for spring turkey hunting is to get as close to the roost as possible before setting up to call. Unfortunately, during the early season, that isn’t always a possibility. With low temperatures, the leaves have yet to bloom out into total growth. And the leaves on the underbrush are slower to grow as well. Making your way through the timber without being spotted by turkeys is harder when new growth is behind schedule.
When the spring foliage is slow-growing, a hunter should stay patient and use a ground blind such as the Muddy Prevue 3 to help keep concealment. Often, hunters will have their blinds set up before hunting. By having the blind in place before hunting, the hunter can ease into the area before daylight, then begin calling as the day breaks without being seen by nearby turkeys.
One of the most prominent mistakes hunters make during the early portion of the season is trying to make a move to get into a better position to call, only to be caught by the gobblers’ keen eyesight. By spooking a gobbler early, the hunter runs the risk of not being able to call in that specific bird for the rest of the season. The hunter should be patient and use a ground blind as their primary source of concealment to ensure success for the remainder of the season.
Use A Jake Decoy
During the earlier spring portion, male turkeys are in a pecking order to find out who the dominant bird is. If the pecking order has already been established, using a jake decoy like the Avian X HDR Jake Decoy can lure a mature gobbler into shooting range because the dominance is still fresh on the mind. A jake decoy placed near a hen decoy is typically the perfect setup for the early season. When a mature tom encounters a jake decoy, he thinks that jake will breed one of his hens before he does, triggering a desire to fight. The dominant urge to whip up on the jake decoy can bring a mature tom running in from a distance.
As the season progresses, mature gobblers have often been whipped by other gobblers at some point. Using a jake or tom decoy in the latter portion of the season can detour a gobbler from coming closer because of the fear of getting into another exhausting battle with another gobbler. Instead, use the jake decoy during the early season and tag out early.
Use Calls At A Lesser Volume
Another common mistake that turkey hunters make during the early season is calling too loud. Although calling too much or too loud is a mistake hunters can make throughout the entire season, the early season is subject to calling with too much volume because of less foliage on the trees. When there are few leaves on the trees, the sounds of a hunter calling carry for a longer distance.
It is crucial to keep the calling at a lower volume to avoid spooking a gobbler who is nearby. Using calls such as purring, clucks, and soft yelps is ideal when sound travels farther. Often, hunters can use a slate call or a pot-style call to mimic the sounds of a hen softly purring while feeding through the leaves. Purring with an occasional cluck and soft yelps keeps the gobbler curious about where the hen is located, causing him to search, which leads him into closer range.
It is vital to use decoys when calling open areas. When there is less cover throughout the timber during the early season, gobblers will often be cautious about responding to a hunter’s calling. When the gobbler can see for longer distances, he constantly looks ahead to spot the hen making all the calls. If he doesn’t see anything, the gobbler doesn’t feel safe and becomes weary to come any closer. Again, softer calling can also make the gobbler search for the hen. If calling too loud, the gobbler can hang up outside of shooting range until he sees the hen, then respond.
The beginning of the spring turkey season can often create an unexplainable urgency among hunters, inducing a feeling that they must hunt hard until they can make a harvest. The spring turkey season is only a few short weeks, and then it is over. Slow down, be patient and enjoy a successful season.
https://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Early-Season-Turkey-1.jpeg12541672John Fennellhttps://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Muddy_Logo_shadow-Low.pngJohn Fennell2022-03-31 20:05:352022-03-31 20:05:353 Tips For Early Season Turkey Hunting Success
For those of us not located in the deep south, turkey season remains what feels like centuries away. However, don’t waste your time by wishing the pre–season away. There is still a lot of work that can and should be done. Many people do not utilize their tools and time wisely to pattern turkeys for opening day. There are many “sweet” spots on your properties that can be concentrated on.These turkey scouting tips should come in handy so that you can have your #MuddyMoment on opening day!
A great tool to utilize in preseason scouting is a trail camera. Trail cameras are vital to patterning birds. They can provide you with information of where the birds are feeding, strutting, dusting, and even roosting. Muddy’s lineup of camerasgives you multiple price point options to choose from as well as tons of features. Utilizing trail cameras to do the turkey scouting for you not only saves you time, but they keep intrusion low and do the scouting while you’re not there.
Where to Setup Your Trail Cameras for Scouting Turkeys
1. Haul Roads (logging roads/field drives)
Turkeys love to travel haul roads through farms because, like humans, turkeys tend to travel through the path of least resistance (most of the time). Haul roads make perfect strutting lanes for seasoned gobblers. Many times, the gobblers will fly down off of their roost and on to haul roads to strut which makes them visible to hens that could be roosted close by and easy for the hens to find. Lastly, haul roads are very good for hunting late in the spring season. The foliage and grass has now grown, but the haul roads remain short, making it a prime area for toms to continue to strut.
2. Mature Cedar Trees/Dusting Areas
Cedar trees are a perfect place to set up cameras in the preseason because turkeys will use them to stay out of the weather. It also provides them a great place to dust. Turkeys will stay in flocks and dig out holes to dust in under the cedars. Where there are hens, there will be toms. These males frequently check out these dusting areas and use them as strutting zones as well to attract those dusting hens. Turkeys will use dusting areas throughout the season so finding these types of areas could be key to your success this season.
3. Food Plots
When hunters think of food plots they think of deer hunting, however, food plots are great places to utilize your trail cameras for preseason scouting. Even after a long winter that has led to lack of food in the plot, turkeys will continue to use the plot as a food source due to the amount of insects and worms in the ground that are easy to find. Also, green plots such as clover or wheat (if not too tall) will be a super hot spot to find a big tom(s). If you have more than one plot to hunt, utilize trail cameras to tell you which plot is being frequented the most by the turkeys as well as what times. Plot watcher mode, which is a feature on the Pro Cam 20 and Pro Cam 20 bundle, is a great tool to use on large food plots. Plot watcher mode allows you to custom set the time and amount of photos your camera takes, even if not being triggered by an animal. For example, you can set your Pro Cam 20 to take photos every minute from 7 am to 10 am and you’ll be able to see if turkeys were in the plot at that time.
These are just a few areas that you can use to do some preseason scouting on your properties with your trail cameras. The more you scout, the better chance you will have at punching your turkey tag this spring! Good luck!
Challenges and Solutions for Late Season Turkey Hunting
Hopefully, you’ve already put a nice tom down and on the table this spring. However, it doesn’t always work out the way you want. Calendars fill up, the weather might not cooperate, and the birds might be even less accommodating. But there’s still time to pull it off this year if you haven’t yet. Turkey hunting, like most types of hunting, can either be the most rewarding and fulfilling experience you can have or the most frustrating and confusing thing in the world. When you talk about late season turkey hunting, it tends to be an extreme case of both somehow. On one hand, the birds are seasoned survivors, so they know most of the tricks up your sleeve and will continue to avoid you despite your best efforts. And yet, when you do manage to kill a late season gobbler, you definitely feel like you’ve earned it and can wear it as a badge of honor. Spring turkey hunting is funny that way.
Each state has slightly different turkey seasons, so we’ll avoid diving into that too deeply. For the sake of this article, we’ll define late season as the last week or so of your state’s turkey season. It is crunch time and you need to make your time afield count. You may have only been able to hunt a small portion of the entire season, but the turkeys have been exposed to hunting pressure throughout the whole time slot. If you hunt turkeys on public land, especially, they have seen a thing or two. They know what’s going on at this point, which definitely complicates your life. Let’s look at a quick comparison of early season turkeys versus late season turkeys.
Early Season Turkeys
Late Season Turkeys
Usually eager to respond to hen calls, and gobble back enthusiastically
Often made call-shy by this point, they may silently slip through the woods
Often come running into decoys confidently
in small groups to fight for hens
May hang up out of range when they see a decoy to make it come to them
Cautious, but less discerning about
Very suspicious animals that will study their environment pretty closely before moving in
If you’ve noticed this pattern before when you’ve gone late season turkey hunting, don’t worry. There’s still hope for you. Let’s look through some turkey biology and explain exactly what turkeys do each day.
Wild Turkey Biology
In the early spring, hens will start to get ready to breed just after most males are primed for it and seeking them. This major peak in breeding activity is a great time to hunt since toms and hens are actively communicating and looking for each other.
However, after a few weeks of this, the bred hens slowly start to nest and the gobblers just can’t seem to find enough willing ones around anymore. They’ve also spent the last few weeks fighting each other for breeding rights and may be hesitant to approach other toms with hens (decoys, that is). But just as whitetails tend to have a second rut as more does come into estrous, there is another peak in turkey breeding activity shortly after the initial breeding phase. Toms will definitely be on the lookout for the last few receptive hens. That’s your ace in the hole for late season turkey hunting. With that, let’s dive into some spring turkey hunting tips you can use yet this season.
Late Season Turkey Hunting Tactics
When it comes to specific techniques, it really comes down to maximum concealment in the best places, the right kind of calling and using smart decoy tactics. Now we’ll break these out in more detail below.
Location and Absolute Concealment
One of the best tips for hunting late season turkeys is setting up in the right locations and then completely disappearing where you are. Setting up along travel routes and food sources is the best option to surprise a tom. After flying down from roost trees, toms will make their way to feeding areas. You can confirm that birds are using a given area with some light and fast scouting the day before or by using trail cameras to scout for you. The Muddy® Pro-Cam 10 or Pro-Cam 12 trail cameras both deliver amazing image quality with plenty of great setting. If you can stealthily sneak into a strip of trees between mature pines/oaks and a clover or alfalfa field, you should be able to surprise some turkeys in the timber. If not, green clover fields are magnets to turkeys in the spring, especially for late season turkey hunting. You’ll often find a turkey roost or two surrounding and in close proximity to green fields like these. Check out the video below, where two hunters tagged two gobblers on day one of their turkey camp in a clover field just like this.
By this point in the season, most gobblers have been harassed by all kinds of hunters and are pretty cautious. They generally won’t come running into fields and decoys as confidently as they did in the early season. They will hang back and make sure the way is safe before proceeding. Because of that, you need to make absolutely sure you can hide from their keen eyesight – that’s always been a turkey hunting 101 lesson. Muddy® blinds are the way to go in this regard. Sure, you could still tuck into some heavy vegetation with some head-to-toe camouflage clothing. But this really limits your movement and can ruin your hunt when a silent gobbler sneaks up behind you and sees you reach for your turkey call.
Instead, set up you blind in a spot with high turkey traffic. If the turkeys in your hunting area are really suspicious birds, take some time to brush your blind in a little using natural vegetation from immediately around the blind. This small act can do wonders for making your blind completely disappear, even in a wide open field. Be sure to wear black clothing and maybe even black face paint when you hunt inside a blackout interior blind. No gobbler will see what’s coming for him. This approach is pretty much mandatory for turkey hunting with a bow due to the extra movement involved in raising and drawing it.
Late Season Turkey Calling
Spring turkey calling is a tricky thing because it changes so much from the beginning of the season to late season turkey hunting. As we mentioned, early season turkeys are pretty likely to come running into a series of hen yelps without too much prompting. But late season turkeys are a different breed and the conditions are very different. The hens have mostly been bred and the activity is dropping off fast. Consequently, there are fewer hens calling and those that are vocal are timider. So you have a few options:
You could completely rely on stealth and make no calls at all. This is a great option for areas with lots of turkey traffic and for surprising pressured turkeys. It feels like more of a deer hunt since it’s a complete ambush.
You could also try to keep your calling limited to a few soft hen yelps and cuts, followed by long pauses of at least a half an hour (unless you hear a turkey respond). If you hear a hen call to you, try to mimic her tone and cadence in response. If you hear a gobble, call back and try to read the excitement level. He may be excited and still come running over, or he may shut up and silently sneak closer. It’s a case by case basis.
If you get a gobbler that hangs up out of range and sight, but keeps gobbling back to your hen yelps, you may want to get mobile. Assuming you have some good camouflage clothing, silently sneak away from the gobbler, making a few calls along the way. Then set up for a shot, stop calling, and just listen. Sometimes, this simulated hen leaving him will make a gobbler change his mind and come running in hot pursuit of his lost opportunity.
Finally, if you notice gobblers starting to travel together in bachelor groups in the extreme late season, it might be time to give up the hen calls altogether. Toms may just be looking for other toms to hang out with for the summer and could respond better to a gobbler yelp than a hen yelp. Try letting out three slower, lower, and raspier yelps to simulate a tom instead of the faster, higher, and clean yelps of a hen.
To Decoy or Not to Decoy?
Whether or not you should use turkey decoys during your late-season turkey hunting is a tricky question. In some cases, even the best turkey decoys you’ve got just aren’t good enough. Taking the complete surprise approach by not using any decoys may be the right thing to do. Particularly for cautious birds, this is a smart move. Some toms might see a jake decoy and decide they don’t want to chance an encounter that could get them in another fight with their busted up bodies. Some toms might also see a hen decoy and decide they’ve seen enough hens that turn out to be less than real. In that case, they might hang up out of range and wait for the hen to come to them instead – it’s just a safer option for them.
But using decoys can still be effective for late season turkey hunting, on one condition: you may want to avoid using a jake decoy. It’s just a little too risky in the late season. Usually, the best approach for late season turkey hunting decoys is to just use a single hen about 15 to 20 yards from your ground blind. If a lonely gobbler stumbles on it, he’s bound to come check it out.
Turkey Decoy Strategies When Hunting from Ground Blinds
Few turkey hunters today head to the woods without having one or more decoys with them. Whether you are run and gunning turkeys in big timber country or hopping ground blinds in southern agricultural fields, decoys can help bring that boss gobbler those extra steps needed to make the kill. Hunting turkeys from ground blinds typically means you are on birds. You may have positioned the blind the evening before or have it set up in a season long hotspot. Either way, you are probably fairly confident that turkeys are close by, which is where your decoys come into play. With birds in the area, your calling has to be crisp, your turkey blind placement perfect and your turkey decoy strategies on point.
The Right Way to Use Decoys from Ground Blinds
Some turkey hunters swear by decoys and yet others curse them because they have had a bad past experience of getting busted while using them. In most instances when a turkey hunter has a bad experience using decoys, it is almost always the operator’s fault. Here are six tips for setting up turkey decoys the right way when hunting from ground blinds.
Trophy Pursuit’s Turkey Camp, Part 2
Opening day of turkey season with the Trophy Pursuit Team in southern Iowa.
Ground blind placement should be between the bird and the decoys. When hunters get busted while using turkey decoys, the first question to ask them is where were their decoys set up at? The answer is always right in front of the blind. Decoys are designed to distract a gobbler and have him focus his attention on something other than yourself so you can get positioned to shoot him. When you are behind the decoy, the approaching turkey is looking right into your portable turkey blind. Instead, determine where a likely gobbler will approach from and position portable hunting blinds between him and the decoys, ideally on your shooting side.
Know your range. You want your portable turkey blind close to your decoys or at least half the distance you can shoot. For example, if you can effectively pattern your shotgun out at 40 yards, you want your decoys out at 20 yards. The mistake many hunters make is their decoys are set out as far as they can shoot. What happens? A gobbler gets nervous and hangs up at 60 yards and you have blown your hunt. Keep them close when hunting turkeys from ground blinds so you either have a close shot or at worst a shot that is within range.
Ground blinds should be concealed but not your turkey decoys. Decoys should be placed in open areas such as fields, right-of-ways or open timber, where often bale blinds make the best turkey blind. Putting out a set of hen decoys in thick brush 20 yards from your ground blind that you can barely see is a waste of time. Gobblers react well and are less likely to spook if they can see the decoy from far off. One of the main purposes of using decoys is to give a bird something to draw his attention in with and if your decoys are buried in the brush you will never give him that chance.
Numbers matter. Fall turkey hunting warrants more decoys because birds are flocked up as opposed to the spring where there is more one on one interaction between birds. Again the purpose of using turkey decoys as part of your ground blind hunting strategies is to create authenticity around your calling. A big flock of 6 hens and a jake set out in front of your pop-up turkey blind is not realistic in the spring.
Spread your decoys out. Often, several different decoys are deployed outside your ground blinds like a hen and a jake or multiple hens. When you are using more than one decoy, make sure there is plenty of space between all of them. A gobbler approaching from a distance may not be able to recognize what you are trying to emulate if all the decoys are bunched together. Similarly, if your decoys are too close and a gobbler runs in, you may have a hard time getting a shot on him. A mature gobbler may also be unwilling to join in on the action and bypass you altogether if the situation looks too
Hunting ground blinds and turkey decoys should both be prepared for the weather. You probably have your ground blinds secured enough unless it is severe weather in which case you will not be out hunting anyway more than likely. However, even light breezes and hard rains depending on the style of decoys you are using can cause them to look unnatural. Be prepared with extra stakes to secure decoys or that whirling hen decoy in front of your portable turkey blind will be the only thing you see.
Top 3 Ground Blind Turkey Decoy Strategies
A gobbler’s desires change from week to week in the spring. Early on they are determining dominance in an area so aggressive decoy set ups work well to lure big, mature birds in looking for a fight. Next, comes breeding. Gobblers will move from fighting to breeding a few weeks into the season and be less receptive to aggressive decoy postures. Younger birds can be lured into jake decoys during this time because they feel they can take on a smaller bird for a chance at part of the breeding grounds. But, strutters will scare these younger birds away as they have not forgotten previous losing battles to boss gobblers earlier in the year. Try a jake decoy matched with a hen as breeding moves into full force. Gobblers will look to break up the action if they catch sight of a receptive hen in their area with a young bird. After breeding is over and hens move on to nesting, use a single feeding hen to lure in receptive gobblers to your pop-up turkey blinds later in the season.
Along with turkey hunting from a blind, there are other spring turkey hunting methods. Having decoys with you is beneficial whether you are in a blind or not. However, these top three turkey decoy strategies work the best when hunting turkeys from ground blinds.
Ground Blind Set Up #1 – Jake and Hen
If you had no other decoy set up to use from your ground blinds, the jake and hen would be it. This set up works well early through late season up until hens start to nest. Early on gobblers will come in to fight away a jake while later on as breeding ramps up a big tom will come running in to displace what he thinks is a jake crossing into his territory and moving in on his hens.
The assumption with this turkey decoy strategy is that you are hunting mature gobblers. Sometimes if the area you are hunting is heavily polluted with jakes, you are better off just using a hen decoy. Remember to position the turkey decoys off to your shooting side and not have your portable turkey blind directly in line with how you expect a bird to come in. Otherwise, his full attention may not be on the decoys but rather on you and your blind.
Ground Blind Set Up #2 – Feeding Hen
Why a feeding hen? Because when turkeys are feeding, they are calm and relaxed. If you put out a hen decoy that is upright and alert, a cunning boss gobbler will get the sense that something is not right or that she is alert for a particular reason. A group of feeding hens, 2-4 of them, works well when breeding has picked up and gobblers are looking for hens. You can add a strutter behind the hens if it is further into the breeding season to spark some competition if you are hunting in areas that contain mature birds. Keep the strutter positioned behind the hens like he is trailing them, which is a typical situation in the spring.
Ground Blind Set Up #3 – Strutting Gobbler
Turkey hunters are reluctant to put out a strutting gobbler decoy for fear that the dominant nature of it may make a bird hesitant to come in. There are two times when using a strutter decoy is successful when used as part of your ground blind hunting strategies for turkeys.
First, position a strutter facing away from where you believe a gobbler will approach from. Early season birds looking to dominate will see an away facing gobbler as an advantage to taking him on. Second, use it at the right time and right place. Stay away from this decoy setup, even if it is paired with a few feeding hens when hunting areas with jakes. Jakes will quickly be turned away from a dominate strutter later in the season. Also, this set works more effectively earlier in the season when birds are willing to challenge other gobblers for breeding rights.
Bottom line, turkey decoy strategies work effectively when planned out with ground blind hunting. Although it can happen, it is rare to throw up a decoy and make a few clucks and see a big gobbler running in. The more common scenario is having to plan your turkey hunting blind placement and decoy set up down to the last detail. These six tips should go a long way to improve your turkey hunting, especially if you are unsure of how and when to place decoys when turkey hunting from a blind. The next time you head out to one of your ground blinds for turkey hunting, think about these tips and pick the right decoy set up for tempting in a mature longbeard.
https://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/turkey-decoy-strategies-ground-blinds_Feature.jpg9601440Muddy Outdoorshttps://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Muddy_Logo_shadow-Low.pngMuddy Outdoors2017-05-08 17:58:402017-09-18 19:05:04Effective Turkey Decoy Strategies for Hunting Out of Ground Blinds
As with any outdoor activity, the better prepared you are beforehand, the more likely you are to enjoy your time doing it. The same is true for spring turkey hunting. In the unpredictable spring weather conditions, you never know what you will face. So if you’re wondering how to hunt turkeys in the spring, you need to decide how you’ll go about it first. This spring turkey season, take some time to consider your personal hunting approach and that can tell you a lot about how to stay comfortable the whole time you’re out.
Choosing Your Turkey Hunting Method
Let’s start with some spring turkey hunting basics. Everyone’s got their own way of doing things and personal preferences. But there are really only two styles of hunting when it comes to spring turkey hunting. You’ll either be in a ground blind of some sort or exposed on the ground. You could hunt them from a tree stand, but it’s not as common for spring turkey hunting season. Depending on which type of hunting you like to do, you’ll have to adopt different methods to stay comfortable in the field. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks, which we’ll discuss below. Take your pick and see which sounds better.
Ground Blind Hunting
Using a ground blind has a lot going for it for spring turkey hunting. A turkey’s primary predator defense mechanism, and thus its strongest sense, is its vision. When you move at ground level without any kind of cover, a turkey is very likely to spot you and that will be the end of your turkey hunt. Ground blinds are obviously one of the best ways to stay hidden and out of sight from such keen vision. Since there are only a few open windows, you can move around significantly more inside a blind without spooking turkeys away. That makes them such a great bow setup for turkey hunting; you can grab your bow and draw it without really worrying too much, especially if they’re focused on your spring turkey hunting decoys.
Blinds also have the added benefit of keeping you protected from the elements while you’re out there. Rain and wind can make for a pretty miserable time in the woods. But when you can hunker down inside a blind and stay warm and dry, you’re more likely to stay out longer. Obviously, more time afield can help increase your odds of putting a gobbler down for good. Since you’re well-hidden, you can also afford to sit very comfortably. The swivel ground seat from Muddy® is a great option for turkey hunting from a blind. It comes with a convenient carrying strap, is very stable, and can swivel 360 degrees to allow you to get in position for a shot quickly. It’s slightly heavier at 15 pounds, which makes it a good candidate for bringing the seat out when you set the blind up (ahead of the hunting season). It’s already colored black, so it will blend into the dark blind interior, and then you can leave it for when it’s time to hunt.
Of course, the primary drawback to this style of spring turkey hunting is that it isn’t as portable and adaptable as just sitting somewhere. If you notice lots of turkeys congregating on the other side of a field one day, it would take more effort to pick up and move your gear than simply moving over to the other side by yourself. Of course, you could always just move and hunt by yourself in that situation and then resort to your blind if the weather’s not great. You can combine the two methods to take advantage of different situations.
Exposed at Ground Level
The other primary spring turkey hunting approach is to just sit in the woods or on a field edge somewhere with a good vantage point until a gobbler comes within range. Since you don’t have any concealment around you, this approach means you’ll need to really rely on your turkey hunting camo clothing and natural concealment opportunities, such as shrubs and long grasses, to hide your profile. That makes it tricky for bow hunting turkeys, so this approach is better for shotgun use. You’ll also have to keep your movements minimal and pay special attention to when you are truly not being watched (going back to turkey hunting 101). This can be a tricky catch-22 situation, because you can’t see what’s behind you, and can’t turn your head to check without potentially being spotted. One of the best spring turkey hunting tips is to set up in a good location with lots of cover behind you so you’re able to get away with a little movement when needed. While you could simply set up next to a large tree trunk to lean back against, sitting on the damp, hard ground for a few hours just gets old fast (and it gets old faster the older you are); it doesn’t provide great back support and will start to feel uncomfortable after a short time. Additionally, the best time to hunt turkey in the spring is often in the early morning when dew is thick on the grass and undergrowth. To help avoid these issues, the folding tripod ground seat folds up for easy packing and is camouflaged to use in the woods with some minor concealment in front of you. Being up off the ground a little can also help to produce some better visibility and shot angles around you while keeping your rear end dry.Of course, the downside to this style of spring turkey hunting and the controversial method of turkey reaping is that you are exposed to the elements and can be easily seen. Again, there are ways to mitigate that risk (e.g., good camouflage clothing, being aware of your movements, finding natural cover, etc.), but it is still a risk. As mentioned above, you can combine these two methods easily to take advantage of each scenario you face.
When you head to the field this spring, perhaps very soon, plan ahead for whatever situation you are likely to encounter. If you hunt on private land where the turkeys are not as perceptive and the weather forecast is grim, you should really consider using a ground blind equipped with a comfortable chair. If on the other hand, you hunt mostly public land, you don’t have much choice except to use a ground seat for turkey hunting in the open. But as long as you’re prepared for it, you should be alright.
How to Choose and Use Turkey Hunting Ground Blinds
As the weather continues to warm and we keep hearing the cardinals chirp outside, most hunters’ thoughts are turning to turkey hunting. After all, it’s the next major event of the year that we look forward to, and it’s just around the corner! This imminent arrival means you’re probably getting your turkey decoys ready, practicing a few more mouth calls, and patterning your shotgun. But as you prepare for turkey season this spring, have you thought about turkey hunting ground blinds much? They’re used a lot for fall turkey hunting, simply because you can also deer hunt out of them. But their use for spring turkey hunting is a little more sporadic.
Maybe you’ve never used one before, but you have been eyeing them for a couple years. While some shotgun turkey hunters prefer to sit in the open and depend on their turkey hunting clothing while they hunt instead, ground blinds are almost necessary for bow hunting turkeys. Because turkeys have such amazing eyesight, more shotgun hunters are turning to turkey hunting ground blinds as well. They might not be as portable as moving your body alone, but the advantage of being completely unseen is often a better tradeoff for portability. It allows you to bring your kids along more easily (you know they can’t hold still for very long), and it grants you more freedom of movement to get ready for a shot. Provided you pick the right locations for them and take a few precautionary steps before you hunt, you’ll be impressed with the benefits of using a ground blind.
How to Choose a Hunting Blind
Convinced you need a ground blind for turkey hunting yet? Before you run to the store to put one in the back of your pickup, you need to realize one important thing: not all blinds are created equal. Some are cheaply made or poorly designed for specific hunting purposes. Others are just too bulky or don’t blend in the way they should. Take a moment to consider your turkey hunting opportunities and compare them to the major categories below. If a hunting blind meets these specific criteria, you are in business and ready for hunting.
First off, if the turkey hunting ground blinds you’re looking at simply aren’t big enough for you, you should pass on them. If you feel cramped inside a blind, you won’t want to hunt in it very long, which will usually limit your opportunities at bagging a bird. For bow hunters especially, having enough elbow room to draw your bow back stealthily is critical to it all working. Some people prefer shooting in a standing position, so you need to find one to fit that style of hunting. Additionally, you might want a hunting partner or camera gear to join you on a given hunt, which means you’ll need even more room. Finally, some hunting blinds just seem like they were made for anything but hunters in mind. For example, windows containing noisy Velcro or zippers are sure to spook game out of range in a split second. But windows with a silent hook release can be operated with only one hand while the other holds your weapon.
As we mentioned, wild turkeys have amazing eyesight and can spot the smallest little irregularities. That’s one of the advantages of hunting from a ground blind; it totally conceals your movements. But if your pop up turkey blind doesn’t blend in the way it should, it’s not really doing its job. You can (and should) always take steps to brush it in a little, even if it’s in a field setting. But that won’t hide poor designs or camouflage patterns; that would be like putting makeup on a pig. Try to get the most realistic pattern you can find so you don’t have to drastically alter the look of your turkey hunting ground blinds.
If your hunting ground blinds can’t stand up to the unpredictable spring elements, you’re out of luck. One of the advantages of using a turkey blind in the first place is to stay out of the weather, which could include sleet or rain, depending on where and when you hunt. If the blind is constructed poorly, it will likely leak through after only a little while and start raining inside too. Who wants to hunt in that?
Along with weather considerations, most hunters leave their turkey hunting ground blinds in the field for at least a few weeks. This allows time to get the turkeys acclimated to seeing it and also includes the actual hunting time you spend in it. During those few weeks, it will experience high winds, falling branches, wildlife encounters, and probably more than you even want to think about (particularly if it’s a brand new blind). But that’s just how it goes. So if your turkey hunting blinds can’t stay securely anchored or hold up to the abuse they are going to face, they probably won’t last very long.
What’s the Best Turkey Blind?
So now that you know what to look for in your turkey hunting ground blinds, it’s time to actually go buy one. But is it possible to combine all the attributes discussed above into a single option?
Ground Blind Options
Ground blinds come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and features. We pride ourselves in the fact that our blinds, tree stands, and hunting accessories are top notch quality, offering you the best products available for your hunting. We offer 3 Hub-style ground blinds, the Ravage, Redemption, and the VS360. We also offer up-in-comers in the world of both deer and turkey hunting, bale blinds. Both the Muddy Bale Blind and Muddy Portable Bale Blind offer the quality of blind needed for turkey hunting, in a better disguised package! All of the ground blinds feature a blackout interior with solid and durable exterior.
Once you get your turkey blind out of the box at home, it’s time to consider how you’re going to use it to be the most effective turkey hunter you can be. While you could simply throw your blind up in the woods and potentially kill a turkey that same day, there are some other things you should think about first.
First, it usually helps to set your turkey hunting ground blinds up early so the turkeys and other wildlife have time to get used to it before you hunt them. Some birds don’t seem to care about or even notice blinds when they’re put up that day, but some definitely do. If you’re going to go hunting at all, why wouldn’t you eliminate any possible chance of being unsuccessful before it happens? In this case, it’s a very easy solution. If you hunt on private land, simply set up your ground blinds at least a week or two before your turkey season starts. That way, the normally wary birds among the flock should have settled down again and grown used to seeing it there. When they start to expect it, you will be all set to sneak into your blind and hunt. Depending on how discerning your local turkeys are, you may even want to leave the windows open so they get used to seeing the black shapes. If you keep them closed and they’re suddenly open when you go hunting, it will have the same effect as not having a blind there in the first place. If you hunt on public land, you don’t have much of a choice. Most public lands don’t allow you to leave ground blinds overnight. And for the places that do allow it, you run the risk of someone else stealing or destroying it when you’re not there. But as long as you’re setting up near some quality gobbler hot spots, you’ll still probably get a shot at one.
Before you hunt in your new ground blinds for turkey hunting, you may also want to consider a few concealment tips. First, you’ll want to get your brand new blind dirty. Literally. Slop some mud or dirt up on the walls and rub it around. But the goal is not to create a layer that hides your camouflage and makes you look like an earthen mound. Instead, you should wipe a thin layer around and brush most of it back off. This simple act helps cover up the slight sheen from new blind materials once the sun shines on it. Have you seen what dust can do to a shiny new car? It makes it look dull, right? That’s exactly what you want for camouflaged turkey hunting ground blinds.
After the blind is in place and mudded up, you should also take just a few moments to brush it in. No matter if you’re in the deep and thick timber or within an open, grassy field, it helps to surround the blind with some other natural vegetation to hide its outline. Lay lightweight branches against the sides of the blind and even on top as long as they’re not too heavy. Tuck tufts of grass and branches into any exterior crevices or around the windows. The whole idea is to make it blend in with the surrounding vegetation as much as possible, and nothing can help do that better than using some of that natural vegetation.
Using Turkey Hunting Ground Blinds This Spring
If any of this resonates with you, it’s probably time you start looking at adding a hunting blind to your turkey hunting gear. Using a blind, especially on turkeys, offers you a much better chance of success in the field; unless you choose a blind that falls short in the features we mentioned above. But if you pick a high-quality version that puts hunters’ interests first, you’ll wonder how you ever hunted without one before.
https://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/turkey-hunting-ground-blinds_Feature.jpg720960Muddy Outdoorshttps://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Muddy_Logo_shadow-Low.pngMuddy Outdoors2017-04-12 17:53:242018-05-07 19:12:51Choosing the Best Turkey Hunting Ground Blind
Trail Camera Tips | Trail Camera Selection, Settings, Placement, and Considerations for Spring
March is a hard and puzzling month, old man winter is confused, plants are confused, deer and turkey are confused, and you are completely lost. Plants, wildlife, and you, yourself do not even know whether or not to pull the trigger on spring activity or still lie dormant. Warm, sunny, 70 degree days one week, bitterly cold, snow storms the next is common, leaving you literally never knowing what March will throw at you. Most hunters, including yourself, are probably just breaking out of winter hibernation, and let’s face it, you were not productive were you? The most you might have achieved is getting your tree stands, ground blinds, or box blinds out of the elements over the winter, some shed hunting, but other than that you were unquestionably a dormant bear on that couch! You’re not the only one in the situation, besides other hunters both deer and turkey are in a tough transition this time of the year. During this time, it is important to act first, make the first strike on the season by getting your trail cameras out this spring and start the year’s observations. Follow these spring trail camera tactics to make the most of your cameras, your time, and ultimately your hard earned money.
Blowing the dust off, or opening the new box?
Game/trail cameras are without a doubt, one of the best management tools that a land manager can utilize. When it comes to documenting how your management implementations are progressing, a trail camera will provide information that is, in some cases, impossible to obtain otherwise. Before we dive into where, when, and how to set up your trail cameras this spring, you need to do an inventory check.
What cameras do you have? Are they still working? Are they the right camera for the situations that you will need to observe in the spring/summer?
Most likely your cameras are going downhill after a long season in the field, maybe they are still old school and lack the new features that are the standard in the industry. They might even be the reason behind the lack of bucks on your property, literally being too loud or too bright of a flash, or maybe you have mature bucks on the property, but the cameras just are not capturing all the movement! There is a lot at stake and a lot to consider. So the question is no longer if you should purchase a trail camera, but what type of camera should you purchase? There are numerous companies that make various models of cameras. Some cameras focus on trigger speeds, some feature time-lapse options, and other models feature HD video mode, or burst mode imaging. The model you choose depends primarily on what you want to know. Considering all cameras have improved their battery life and memory recently, let’s discuss their photo-capturing abilities to ensure you get the most from your unit.
For example, if you are monitoring an area to document wildlife activity during food plot maturation, a camera with a time-lapse ability will be the best option. The time-lapse option will take photos at a pre-determined interval, therefore an animal does not need to be within a certain range to set the unit off. They will be captured on film regardless of how close or far away they are. This is ideal for open agricultural fields or food plots where wildlife congregates, especially if nailing down entrance routes into the field is tough to do. On the other hand, if you are capturing images to determine a buck: doe ratio, still images work best. Most trail camera surveys require baited sites, so any camera that takes still images will be preferred, even if it has a slower trigger speed. If a camera has a not-so-great trigger speed, it should be placed over a baited site where the animal will be stationary for some amount of time. Other cameras that have lightning-fast trigger speeds can be situated on trails, funnels, and travel corridors. By using your camera in this fashion, you are revealing useful management information but also capturing awesome photos.
Trail cameras that feature video, especially with audio, are great units that can be placed in various areas that not only provide insight on the wildlife that is using a particular area, but also make neat videos. A still image of a whitetail buck working a scrape is great, but a video where you can see and hear him in action is even better. The same goes for orienting a camera in a strut zone for turkeys. Once again, a video of a gobbling tom trumps a still photo. These camera sets are sometimes located at the base of a tree, looking up at the licking branch over a scrape. This setup provides a unique angle and adds a twist to an already great video clip. This can easily be done with the use of a tree mount in order to orient the camera in an upward angle at the base of a tree.
Today’s new camera units are jam-packed with technology and can tell you just about anything you would want to know about monitoring activity on your land. But before you jump the gun into a new camera, or think you can just settle with your old one, let’s examine the situations, and the exact requirements that you will need in a trail camera for this spring.
What is spring?
The answer is easy, spring is several things, beautiful, warm, sunny, life giving…but less harsh than winter, is unfortunately not one of them. While winter zaps battery life, it also does not require too much of a camera, there is really not a lot going on especially in heavy snowfall, and just plain old cold cannot completely kill a camera. Spring on the other hand is an explosion of life. In order to capture anything and everything that can and will be of use to you, a camera that can not only capture it is required, but one that can also survive.
Spring is wet, humid, and full of critters. Water damage (rain and humidity), critter damage (ants), and even other human’s stealing the cameras are all of concern before we even dive into specific situations of trail camera use and placement. So keep this harsh environment in mind when thinking about your current trail cameras, or new cameras on the market.
Spring food plot monitoring
While all this crazy weather is going on, it is literally the perfect time and opportune moment to start your food plots for the spring. You’re crazy to think we are suggesting to plant beans or corn during this time of year (this early), but a more effective, potentially more important food source for whitetails this time of year is early clover plots. Clover plots excel this time of year, being one of the first green sprouts that are rich in protein and nutrients a pregnant doe or a budding buck will gladly devour.
Having this extremely useful plot, especially in areas where you could not reach the acreage to plant beans or corn, will allow you to pull, hold, and observe mature bucks over the spring and summer. Whether its frost seeding a plot, installing a poor man plot, or disking or tilling up a small plot, putting in clover now can be rewarding all year long. In this instance, a camera on video mode, time-lapse mode, or simple image burst will work. Given the normally small acreage of the plots time-lapse isn’t necessarily needed, but will still be advantageous. Put the trail cameras up in early spring to observe fawns and bachelor groups in spring and summer, and be sure to keep them up. The small clover plot is an ideal area to hang a set for a staging area into larger food plots in the early season.
Nutritional needs fire back up after the long winter, that much needed protein and nutrients available in clover and other food plots during the spring, can be easily supplemented or added to with a deer feeder. Consequently feeding stations make perfect opportunities to observe feeder use. In order to minimize stress on a feed site, and to keep deer and turkeys coming back, a camera should be small, quiet, and have an invisible flash. Either video, or image burst works well, but set the camera on a 5 minute or longer delay in order to avoid the thousands of pictures, but still identify each visit.
Feeders unfortunately attract unwanted attention from neighbors and trespassers, so be sure any trail camera placed over a feeder is either locked on the tree, or small and compact enough to hide well.
If food plots aren’t on you forte, you may want to reconsider. Pacing trail cameras on or over small clover plots will most likely reveal a strut zone, or area where toms and hens will gather during spring. Clover plots are coveted by turkeys and turkey hunters during the spring. The hens will feed there and bring in the toms, which will give you an ideal spot to set up the decoy and ground blind. Besides clover plots, open fields, Ag fields, pastures, or open wood lots make perfect strut zones.
Trail camera selection and more importantly trail camera settings will be slightly more dependent on the situation you are heading off to be your opening weekend spot. If you are in heavy timber image-bursts or video mode with minimal delay is ideal to place on funnels or routes turkeys will take going into or out of food sources, or where they might end up scratching throughout the day. For the fields and food plots place the trail camera settings on time-lapse. This will end up giving you exactly where and when the toms hang out in the field.
When spring annuals and food plots sprout up, minerals and slat attractants are put down. Have you ever wondered why deer and salt are so attractive to deer during spring in particular? Sure they use the traces and nutrients, but salt is what they are after. High water content in the rapidly growing plants of March, April, and May equates to a lot of water metabolized by deer, causing a need and crave for sodium.
Luckily this need creates a very attractive site, and opportune moment for a photo session. Either a video or photo burst works well with mineral sites. One thing that goes for both mineral sites and feeders is distance of the camera….to close you don’t get the entire picture and you have the potential to disturb the deer, too far and you cannot see the detail you would like. Finding a camera with a great invisible flash range, plus high MP, quality images and HD videos should be a no brainer for purchase in these scenarios.
Trails and funnels
Placing trail cameras over trails and funnels really seem to be underestimated, and for good reason. Placing cameras over mineral sites, clover plots, fields, and strut zones are so much more effective. But placing trail cameras over trails, runs, and funnels can and often will be more effective at telling you information you will rely upon. If you have deer hunted long enough, even turkey hunted long enough, you know particular things about their movements. Mature bucks, or turkeys might be camera shy when it comes to a mineral site, or field edge. But hanging a camera, the right type of camera is essential, high looking over a trail will often catch mature buck or tom movement that will otherwise go unnoticed.
Both deer and turkeys will often take the excursion approach when it comes to their daily movements. Sure, they are on patterns when it comes to spring and even more so for summer, but that does not mean they won’t take the safest route. This is why the right type of camera is important. A small, quiet, inconspicuous, and invisible flash camera is perfect for trails. A mineral site, feeder, or clover plot might be anticipated for some sort of stress (camera flash, sound, physical sight of the camera itself), the deer get used to it and the costs (stress) do not outweigh the benefits (food and nutrients). A trail can easily be wrote off if stress is involved. Keep your trails and funnels stress free all year in order to preserve them active.
So which camera is right for you?
Your next step is to blow the dust off your old trail camera, is it even working? Is it worth it to buy the batteries needed the rest of the year, is it time to take it out back and (metaphorically) put it out of its misery?
Next, decide which scenarios you see yourself needing a camera for. Are you the avid turkey hunter, fanatical deer hunter, or the passionate land owner/manager? Are you all three, like every hunter seems to be? In that case strongly look into purchasing a camera with the following requirements.
Able to be cable locked and secured
High image quality ( Trail cameras in this century should be at or above 10MP)
Photo-Image burst capability (day and night)
Video capability (Audio included)
Invisible flash (black)
Simple operation and backlit screen (to see in low light)
Trigger delay options
Image data: time, date, temp, camera ID
Battery type: AAs (are easiest and have great rechargeable option)
Detection and flash range > 10-15 yards (30’-45’ at least)
Wide Detection Angle
Several mounting options: tripod, screw in, and straps
Muddy ProCamTrail Cameras at the 2016 ATA Show
(video)- Published on Jan 16, 2016, Muddy ProCam Trail Cameras at the 2016 ATA Show, Muddy’s new line of cameras for 2016, including The Pro-Cam 10 and The Pro-Cam 12.
Spring has arrived, and with it an opportunity to gather some critical information with your trail cameras. Don’t miss this opportunity due to an old camera, or an inefficient new one. Make the right choice and follow these trail camera tips on settings, placement, and considerations for this spring.
https://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Spring-trail-camera-tips-and-tactics_feature-2.jpg8031200Muddy Outdoorshttps://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Muddy_Logo_shadow-Low.pngMuddy Outdoors2016-03-23 20:01:232016-06-01 23:39:59Get The Most From Your Trail Cameras This Spring