I know most of us are caught up in the archery deer season right now, but fall turkey season isn’t far away. Fall turkey season opens up here in our area on October 31 and runs to November 14. In a number of management units to the north of us, it opens up again on November 25 to the 27; check your Hunting and Trapping Digest to be sure of legal hunting dates in the unit you plan to hunt.
I was reminded of the soon to open fall turkey season when I had to come to a complete stop one morning this past week to allow 16 hen turkeys time to clear off the roadway; half went down into a wooded ravine, and the rest slowly worked their way up through a large harvested field. As I drove away from the area, I chuckled to myself and thought, “Yeah, it won’t be that easy to find them when the season gets underway.” I have actually had a good number of turkey sightings this summer. As usual, they pretty much went about the business of feeding with little concern for my passing automobile. As we all know, however, a passing car is one thing and a hunter moving into the woods is something else entirely.
If you think about it, there is probably a good reason for turkeys to become more antsy or edgy as we move into the fall hunting season. For the most part, they have had relatively free reign through most of the summer, but when fall approaches and archery season opens, there are many more intrusions on their “private space.” Preseason scouting and the placing of treestands no doubt has turkeys on edge, but with more camouflaged hunters moving in and out of stands, turkeys probably become even more wary.
As we all know, turkeys are very spooky critters anyway, and rightfully so since they are preyed upon by a number of wild animals, including coyotes, bobcats, and fishers, all of which have increased in population in recent years. Now come fall, we add the camouflaged hunter to the prey list, which makes finding and bagging a turkey even more challenging. That being said, however, chances of a successful hunt are still pretty good, and being as invisible as possible is no doubt a key to success.
So, what about “being invisible” or wearing camouflage? The Game Commission no longer requires turkey hunters to wear any fluorescent orange, but they strongly recommend that you do for your own safety. I don’t want a turkey to spot me, but I don’t want to be shot either; I will probably wear the fluorescent orange at least while moving and have it ready while sitting in case I spot another hunter.
Not being detected by a turkey is obviously very important but don’t think simply wearing camouflage solves all your problems — controlled movement is also vital. No matter how careful you are with your movements, you can still mess up. Almost every turkey hunter will tell you about a time when they did nothing more than move their finger on to the trigger or slowly turned their head only to have the turkey take off in a flash. Controlled movement is especially critical if several turkeys are coming into your calls — that means more eyes are watching for anything that doesn’t look right.
Now, with the right camouflage, carefully controlled movement, some good preseason scouting, and some reasonably decent calling, maybe I can bag that fall turkey.