Bowhunting Spring Gobblers
By Jason Nolz
Apr 4, 2006 – 4:35:00 AM
By Jason Nolz
The experience gained by watching and
learning from turkeys that would have been killed by the gun will stay
with you forever. The following tips will help you in being successful
in harvesting spring gobblers with a bow.
people would argue the fact that harvesting spring gobblers with a bow
is among the most challenging test of skill for hunters in North America.
Many hunters struggle with the decision to put down their guns and try
bowhunting. My advice to turkey hunters is that if you consistently
harvest turkeys with a gun you owe it to yourself to give bowhunting a
Patience: Most turkey hunters have experiences a time when
they are calling and getting a good response and the next thing you know
the turkey shuts off. The hunter may sit in the same spot for a half-hour
or so and finally get up and walk toward the turkey only to find that he’s
now running away from you and he was doing exactly what you wanted. Realize
that although you have a sense of what appears to be a long time the turkey
doesn’t. Three factors that tell you to put a lot of time in a single spot
are: 1) When the turkey has flown down and gobbled to your call closer
to you than while on the roost, 2) There are no major barriers between
you and the turkey, 3) You have ample time to wait. In this situation the
calling should be very soft and spaced several minutes apart.
call and close the gap: The most profound experience that I discovered
from bowhunting turkeys is my ability to close the gap on a vocal gobbler.
If a turkey is over a ridge from you the best bet is to clam up and hightail
it up to him. Get as close as possible and while he is gobbling you are
free to move rather quickly. Get on the edge of the ridge opposite him
and more times than not he will work his way to the other side and present
you with a shot. The same goes for a gobbler that is moving away and gobbling.
Your best bet is to get into a low spot and run like heck to get were he’s
going and intercept him. Sometimes this means running away from him several
hundred yards before circling.
Get between two gobblers: After flydown if you have a situation
where 2 gobblers are being vocal and are separated by several hundred yards
try to work yourself into a position on the highest spot between them.
In this situation it is best to not call. Most likely one of them has all
of the hens and the other is coming to join in on the party.
Double up with a friend: When you set up on a gobbling turkey
on the roost it works well to have a hunter on both sides of him. The best
scenario is both sides of a ridge. One hunter should try to really light
the gobbler up with his calling and the other should stay silent. Ask yourself
the percentage of times you have had a tom gobbling his head off on the
roost to your calling only to fly down and walk straight away gobbling.
Little does he know he’s walking straight into your buddy’s lap.
Then if your partner messes up he will run straight back to where he came
from and you both will have a shot at him.
Hunt from a Treesuit: For many turkey hunters the option of being
in a tree is not considered. This is mainly due to the fact that turkeys
spot them from a hundred yards away in their treestands while deer hunting
and they don’t realize the possibilities. The Treesuit
is different because the hunter is put into a perfect position against
the tree avoiding a silhouette so the hunter is virtually invisible and
he can draw his bow back with ease and no obstructions. While on the move
the Treesuit is comfortably supporting the users back as a back support
and while sitting down the plastic seat is dropped down and keeps the hunters
rear comfortable and dry. I generally only install 3 or 4 steps so that
I am just high enough to shoot over the canopy. The whole process of installing
steps and getting in the tree and being ready to draw takes around 3 minutes.
This is a huge advantage late in the season when the canopy is thick and
the turkeys aren’t visible on the ground until there to close to get a
There is no advice to replace actual experience in the field.
From my personal experience I have more fun in the chase than I do standing
over the game or eating it. That’s what I find so fun about bow hunting
turkeys. No matter how good I am with a bow there will be turkeys that
will live through our encounter and they will probably remember it throughout
their lifetime. I will too.
Jason Nolz Home Page and list of all articles
Jason Nolz is a 35 year old, avid hunter, 3D competitor and fisherman
who has bowhunted for 20 years. He has trophy hunted for the last 11 years
and has 7 trophy class whitetails to his credit. The others Jason
took with either muzzleloader or shotgun. A practicing Chiropractor for
11 years, Jason is married with 3 children.
Not content with just hunting, Jason also designed and now manufacturer
the TREESUIT out of the frustration associated with hanging multiple stands
in my quest for trophy class whitetails.” Jason Nolz.
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