Georgia Hunting Land For Sale South Carolina Hunting Land For Sale North Carolina Hunting Land For Sale Hunting Land and Recreational Property For Sale

5 Mistakes of Turkey Hunters

Turkey Hunting is a fascinating adventure. The ole wary bird has a way of humbling the woodsman into submission. Many a day has been spent following, chasing, calling and walking mile after mile in search of a gobbler willing to listen to my cadence of calls.

I have had the pleasure of hunting with men whose knowledge of ole Tom far surpasses any I ever hope to obtain. They can listen to his gobble and tell you what he just said and react accordingly. These men have been handed to bench far more than they have succeeded and they learned each time the Tom got away. Here are some of the most common mistakes of turkey hunters and avoiding these will not necessarily put the wary ole gobbler in your sights, but it should increase your odds – most of the time.

  1. Be patient.

Perhaps the best lesson in this was taught to me a few years ago when I was hunting with a legend in the industry. Gobblers answered from first light. What seemed like continuous gobbling at his seductive cadence. At one point he leaned over and whispered, “that ole boy is coming, but he is taking his time, best we sit here a spell and let him come at his own pace.” The excitement in me wanted to push the envelope, to move, to get up and go after him. The lesson was to interpret what the gobbler was saying and be patient. And patient we were. Every two or three minutes the old hunter would make a soft yelp, or purr and the woods would scream to life with the answer from the gobbler now a few yards closer. One hour and fifteen minutes into this dance, I heard “get ready, he’ll be standing right there in about forty-five seconds” pointing to an opening thirty yards in front of me. One more yelp and purr and the blast of the shotgun ended the long morning. Patience won the day. Be willing to move, but know when to sit.

2.    Be Mobile.

I realize this may sound like a contradiction to point made above, however too many turkey hunters find a tree, call listen and when they don’t get a response load up and go home. Or the blind sitters will establish a pop up blind in a field, set a decoy and hope something sees it and commits. I have killed turkeys like this, but the vast majority of the beards hanging on my wall came from having to move several times to get in the best place to kill the turkey. Knowing the terrain is crucial, if you know of a thicket between you and that bird you better move to get around it. If he is with hens, you better analyze the situation to get the hens interested in you and get in position. Knowing when to sit is important, equally is knowing when to move and not being afraid to move.

3.    Not Pattering your Shotgun

How many times have we stopped by the local big box store and picked up a box of # 6 high brass shells with a picture of a turkey on it and gone to the woods and promptly missed a turkey? Far too many hunters will take the time to zero their big game rifle but seldom take the time to pattern their shotgun. Patterning a shotgun is very similar to zeroing a rifle. Different loads and sizes will shoot better in some guns, knowing what your gun shoots well will build confidence in taking those shots. For example, I have historically shot Winchester # 5 in their 3” offering. This shoots really well in my Benelli with the MAD turkey killer choke. But I have read the new ballistics of some of the newer offerings and am getting some of the new Winchester and Hevi-Shot shells to see if I can improve the pattern I already have. I want to know that when I squeeze that trigger something is going to die. I do not want to hope it will die; I want to know it will. Confidence in your gun and shells is the final thing we can do to ensure a successful hunt.

4.    Getting Too Close

I have never really been one to “roost” turkeys the evening before. But on the occasion that I hear one fly up from camp I will mark their location and get in there early. I mean early. If I know a turkey is roosting along a creek for example. I will be sitting within 150 yards of that bird a full hour before sunrise. I have seen and tried too many times myself to get inside fifty yards and more times than not, I realize that the turkey sees me from his perch and will often sit in that tree for hours waiting for me to move or get out of there. I know that if I get inside 150 yards I have a good chance that  I can get the bird to pitch in my direction from his roost and cut the distance in half immediately, now I only have to call him a couple dozen yards and he is in range. This distance allows me more flexibility and maneuverability.

5.    Quitting Too Early

I have seen it time and again, turkey hunters sitting at the local diner for breakfast at 8:30 in the morning. “He got ‘henned’ up immediately.” Or the “he flew down and walked straight away from me.” And they gave up on the hunt. For me, that is like going to church and leaving before the sermon. We haven’t even gotten started yet. The real hunt begins when he gets with some hens, or walks away. I wish I could count the number of turkeys that have been killed after 11:00 and before 3:00 p.m. For hunters in South Carolina and many other states we can hunt them all day, and all day I will stay after them. Many a day I have walked and called, called and walked listening hoping and finally at 1:00 p.m. getting a lonely gobbler to respond.  I know that if I can get him to gobble after 10:00 a.m. I have a real good chance of killing him before 2:00. Many of the hens have gone to their nest to lay or decorate. Gobblers are still on the prowl for the one lonely hen lusting for their attention. All gusseted up, these hens are searching for love. And I can almost bet, that around 11:00 a willing gobbler will answer the call of a seductive female.


As one friend of mine said, “if I stop hunting before I killed him or it gets dark, I get depressed. I can’t sleep, and I know I cheated myself. I have to hunt all day or until I kill that bird or I will not sleep a wink.”


Stopping too early has led to many a gobbler living a long life. My mission is to hunt the turkey, and hunt him I will as long and as hard as I can until darkness or gunpowder ends the pursuit.