Are turkey hunters making their sport too complicated?

Here’s an idea.  Picture all of that paraphernalia we usually carry into the turkey woods and back home.  Why not leave most of it home in the first place?

That would be trying "turkey hunting light" as an alternative.

Remember those early days in the 1980s and 1990s, those first turkey hunting seminars?  It was suggested we put a tom to bed, sneak in early in the morning, find a good location to sit, and wait.

If necessary, think of turkey hunting light as a scouting outing on opening day.  Take only what you really need.  Deliberately take less that you believe is necessary.

Here’s what I did last spring, albeit before my hunting period opened.

I located two gobblers along the edge of a woods just before sunset.  I didn’t even listen for them to fly up.  I just left the area.

Jerry DavisBefore sunup the next morning I set up as close as the terrain would allow.  I tossed a seat cushion on the ground beside a 20-year-old white pine.  Its branches were almost touching the ground.  It was dark among the limbs.

I waited.  No calling, no decoys, only camouflage, face mask, and me.  I listened.  Hens whispered, and then they cackled when they flew down.  Six of them  walked past me.

Four more hens came out in front of me.  No bird made a peep once on terra firma.  Two toms followed the second group of hens.  They displayed, drummed some and walked around feeding.

Two coyotes ran into the scene.  The second group of birds flew, ran, scattered, and landed in nearby trees.

The coyotes, one missing half its front left leg from an earlier mishap of some kind or another, ran  off.

The gobblers and four hens came back to the opening where the sun could highlight their feathers.  They did this without any call coaxing.

I was feeling secure in my dark location, even though the white pine trunk only had half my back; I raised my camera, took some photos, and then let the birds wander away.

Have you ever had turkeys shy away from decoys?  Ever had the feeling that your calling took a flock of hens and gobblers in the opposite direction?

Clearly "hunting light" doesn’t work every time.  Maybe it works only 10 percent of the time.  But how often does a plethora of paraphernalia bring a bird within range?

Just once, why not let turkeys be turkeys and see what happens?

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Turkey, WisBlogs, Wisconsin – Jerry Davis

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