by Tony Peterson
There are a lot of things that need to go right to get a gobbler into range, and if that didn’t happen for you, there is probably a pretty good reason.
I started turkey hunting my home state at the age of 14 and it has been a good run. In fact, I’ve gotten to the point where if I have a day or two to hunt, I expect to fill my tag. Then along came this past season and what I knew as nearly a sure thing became something wholly different. I struggled to fill my archery tag in a way that I’ve never experienced before.
It was one of those seasons where the birds were all around me, would respond, but simply wouldn’t commit. I moved blinds over and over, tried different decoy combinations, and when I finally earned a shot, blew it. Worse than that, it seemed every time I moved a blind to get on the hot action, I’d watch turkeys walk by my previous spot.
Finally during the last few days of the season I scouted out a transition route where the birds were coming and going from a pair of fields. I set up a blind and devoted myself to two all-day sits. The first day I got several birds fired up and eventually talked in a group of jakes. The first shot was a disaster, but the second flew true. It was a reminder, especially when bowhunting turkeys, that I need to set up in a good spot and work the birds in. Nothing more. Nothing fancy.
If you struggled this past season, try to dissect your days afield to understand why.
Did the birds shut up when you started calling? Perhaps your turkey vocalizations need a little work.
Did they come in at a run, only to pull a 180 and vacate the scene after getting nearly close enough to shoot? They might have seen you move, or maybe boogered at the sight of a too-shiny blind in the morning sun. Or they might have thought your decoys looked a little too decoy-like.
There are a lot of things that need to go right to get a gobbler into range, and if that didn’t happen for you, there is probably a pretty good reason. Recall a few of those oh-so-close encounters and try to figure out what caused the whole thing to go south. If you come up with answers, you’ll have a better shot of not making the same mistakes next spring.