To be consistently successful bowhunting mature gobblers – especially on short duration hunts – be sure to have spent numerous evenings and morning pre-scouting the location of your hunt, and the birds that reside there.
If you’d rather not put-a-foot to the terrain, use Google Earth to learn all the unique idiosyncrasies of your hunt area. Memorize the lay of the land until you feel like you know the location nearly as well as if you had spent hours thoroughly exploring the property. Many times a few hours spent studying Google Earth can enlighten you to some “realities” that would be hard to come up with from ground scouting – a bird’s-eye view of an area is hard to beat! Look for potential roost, feeding and strutting areas, and determine access to likely ambush spots.
After you’ve aerial scouted your destination, slip into the edge of the property near suspected roost areas, and spend a few mornings and evenings listening to the birds come and go from their nighttime parking spot. Determine preferred travel routes, so that you can set up accordingly – it is much easier to call a gobbler to a spot that he’s already headed toward!
Establish A Good Setup
When I refer to a setup, I’m talking about the deployment, and use, of your gear – ground blinds, calls and decoys. All these pieces of the puzzle need to come together to paint a masterpiece in the turkey woods.
First, choose life-like decoys – today’s birds are much more educated than those of past years. There are plenty of excellent products out there today that can fool even the most discriminating of birds, so don’t go cheap here. Enhancing a decoy with motion can also go a long ways toward eliciting great responses from wary gobblers.
Next, be sure to take care in your choice of ground blind – there are lot of them out there that may appear to sufficient, yet in reality, fall much short of desirable qualities. Many offerings have applied water-repellent finishes that will display a “shine” to the eye at any discriminating turkey – not good! Others have too many “loose spots” that will display movement in breezy conditions – not good! Some are too small internally, and/or unnecessarily large, adding undesirable elements to an already difficult hunt. In my experience, the “old-style” blinds that are made of heavy cotton material, with no exterior water-repellent coating, are best choices.
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