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Illinois hunting and fishing

Turkey hunting Q & A with Rick White

March 12, 2012 at 05:55 PM

Hunter Specialties

Turkey hunting tips from Hunter Specialties pro staffer Rick White:

Q: “Can you give me a few tips on being more successful this spring?”
A: Make sure you do your scouting both before and during the season. Know where the birds are roosting. That will give you an advantage. Be patient. Patience will make you a more successful turkey hunter. There are times you need to get up and move but there are also more times that being patient and staying put will be the better choice. Try this; the next time you think its time to move, make a call and then wait 30 minutes without making another call. You will be surprised how many times you will be successful during those 30 minutes.

Q: “What is the best call to use?”
A: Use whatever calls you feel most confident in. Also use whatever call turkeys are being responsive to. How many fishermen have more than one lure in their tackle box? It is the same for turkey hunting; sometimes a variety of calls is what works best. Whatever they respond to best is what you will use to call them in. Another thing to think about is if turkeys are used to a specific call in that area, then change it up.

Q: “Do I need to learn to use several different calls?
A: It’s always a good idea to know how to use different calls because you never know which one will work best that particular day in the field. It’s not hard to learn how to use different calls. The more calls you know how to use means the more calling you may do. More calling may lead to more success.

Q: “What about call care?”
A: Calls are easy to take care of. Try to keep them dry and clean. Keep diaphragm calls out of direct sunlight and heat. As far as friction calls go, keep them clean and rough them up with sandpaper before you head to the woods.

Q: “I really have a problem remaining motionless when I am holding my gun up in the direction of the gobbler. What do you do that helps?”
A: This is a problem that a lot of turkey hunters have. First try a V-Pod or a Gun Rest. These two items will help immensely. If that doesn’t work try hunting out of a blind. You can get away with a lot more movement using a blind.

Q: “What is a common mistake that hunters make?”
A: Bumping turkeys off the roost is one big mistake that turkey hunters make. 100-150 yards is what I recommend as a distance to set up on roosted turkeys. Sometimes you might even have to set up further away. Not having patience is another big problem. Be patient. Over calling can be another problem. Try to be and sound realistic in the turkey woods. If turkeys are on their way let them come. Don’t over call. Movement is another issue. Be still. Make sure you wear camo from head to toe and sit still. If you can’t sit still try hunting out of a blind.

Q: “Do you use decoys?”
A: When bow hunting turkeys I use decoys 100% of the time. When I’m gun hunting I use decoys when hunting on field edges. I don’t use them while hunting inside dense timber. I like to use a combination of a hen and a jake, but sometimes a hen by itself will work best.

Q: “What if I go out and don’t hear any gobbling?”
A: First check your calendar and make sure it is April or May. Seriously, turkeys might not gobble every day. Weather can be a big factor in that. Gobblers might not gobble much in high pressured areas or perhaps an area with lots of predators, but they are still there. Be patient. Don’t over call and try hunting in the afternoon if it’s legal in your area.

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