7 Tips for the 2022 Turkey Season
The spring turkey season is the favorite hunting season for many hunters. Temperatures are finally beginning to rise giving the woods a slight chill at dawn, but evolving into a comfortable coolness as the sun rises throughout the day. The low many hunters feel when deer season comes to a close is quickly reversed when they pull the turkey calls out of the closet and begin practicing their calls for the season. You’ve been watching the birds from your truck, and now you’ll get your shot at them…. hopefully in the literal sense!
At the same time, there is an intensity that comes with knowing you have only a short few weeks to harvest the gobbler you’ve been dreaming of since the final day of last season. It may have eluded you in the previous season, but this year will be different. The question you’re left asking is “How do I make 2022 a more successful turkey season?”. There is no perfect strategy when it comes to the hunt (at least we haven’t discovered it yet), but part of growing as a hunter is improving your skill set each season to give yourself the best possible chance for a successful hunt each time you head out into the woods.
Know Your Gear
There is a good chance you’ve added to your equipment arsenal since last turkey season. Maybe you have a new shotgun. Perhaps you purchased a new blind or added a second decoy. The reality is that many hunters head out without first becoming comfortable with their equipment. We suggest getting out and shooting your gun at different ranges. Pattern your shotgun, and select ammunition that provides the best performance. Try setting up the blind in the backyard or trying on the new vest you purchased.
Scouting is often underappreciated when it comes to turkey hunting. Hunters scout for deer, but people rarely scout for turkeys. I can just about guarantee you’ll find turkeys if you scout ahead of time. Scout potential strut zones. Also be on the lookout for droppings, feathers, and tracks. Go ahead and set up your decoy once you find where they are. You’ll be surrounded by birds while you wait for that perfect gobbler. Scouting is simple, but takes time and effort. The more work you put in before the season, the better prepared you will be once the season kicks off!
Use Trail Cameras
We know you have a trail camera if you’re a deer hunter. If not, check out this Muddy Cellular Game Camera from Rural King. Use your trail camera to pattern the turkeys. Discover the number of turkeys in the area and the size of them. You’ll be able to learn their habits, and predict where they’ll fly to from the roost. The most difficult part of using a trail camera is choosing the perfect location to set it up. Focus on strut zones, roost zones, dirt roads, creek beds, or large open fields. Don’t make the mistake of setting your trail camera up, and forgetting it. Check it often! We suggest checking it every few weeks while leading up to the season and during the season. We also suggest checking your camera during the mid-afternoon hours when the turkeys aren’t as active.
Practice Your Call
Practice makes perfect when it comes to turkey calls. Do you work from home? Great! Practice your calls while you check your emails. Do you work in an office? I’m sure your boss is as ready as you are to get back in the woods, and would appreciate the dedication to your sport. Just don’t hold us liable if your boss doesn’t see things like we do, and kicks you out of the office! One call is not enough! Turkeys will learn your call, and begin putting as much distance as they can between them and that sound. We promise….. birds are smarter than you think. We love friction calls because of the variety of different strikers you can use for different tones.
Do you have access to different properties or a ton of acreage? We suggest hunting as many different areas as you can during the day. If you get to your first spot and don’t hear a gobble, try your second spot. Start off in your blind, and move to a tree after a couple of hours. There are hot birds out there. Sometimes you just have to go find them. Full disclaimer: we are the first ones to sit up against a tree and refuse to move when it starts getting hot later in the season!
Get as Close as You Can
A common question we get asked is whether the better turkey hunting strategy is to sit tight or stalk in on a gobbler. There isn’t a right or wrong answer as each hunter must choose which strategy they prefer. That being said, we prefer the more aggressive approach. I will often challenge myself to get as close as possible to a Tom before calling them. Interestingly enough, I’ve found that this has better results as they can no longer ignore my call at this point. Each situation is different, but we find that you can often get within 100 yards of a turkey especially if you’re hunting in thicker cover. Once you’re 75-100 yards out, we suggest setting up your spot.
Many hunters arrive on opening day expecting to hit their bag limit within no time. In Alabama, there is a four gobbler bag limit. Our recommendation is to stay patient. Don’t get trigger happy, and settle for the first four Toms you see. Enjoy the time outdoors while scouting and stalking the perfect gobblers. There will be days when you’re in the woods for hours without hearing a gobble. There are other days where you’ll chase a gobbler all day without ever setting your eyes on the bird. The unfortunate truth is that it takes the right combination of weather and turkey moods to complete a successful hunt. Control what you can control, but at the end of the day there are variables outside of your control. Patience and persistence will pay off in the end!
Compete for Huge Prizes in the Big Beard Bounty | Dothan, AL
It’s an exciting time to be honing your skills, and becoming a more strategic turkey hunter. 2022 will bring the second annual Big Beard Bounty where the prizes are bigger than ever! Did your hunt end in a giant longbeard on the ground? You will want to make sure you enter your turkey into a contest that can make all that work pay off! The Big Beard Bounty is focused on growing the sport of turkey hunting in Alabama and Mississippi through education and competition. To learn more about these tips and how you can enter the Big Beard Bounty, visit bigbeardbounty.com and make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!