By Jeff Kurrus
The majority of the turkeys I’ve shot have come between 10 AM and 2 PM. Lunchtime is primetime, that time of the day when more than a few gobblers find themselves alone and insecurity begins to creep in.
Sometimes, though, it’s hard to stay in the woods that long. From real-world obligations to simple impatience, it’s easy to leave the woods and re-enter normal life during some of the most productive turkey hunting hours of the day.
Here are a few ideas to keep you afield, just make sure you’re occasionally calling as you multitask.
If you’ll be hunting the same areas during deer archery season, carry a handsaw in the woods and start cutting shooting lanes. The same greenery you see in May will still be there in early September. Also, clear brush along the path to your stand so you can walk in quieter during the fall.
This also remains a common-sense time to re-start your trail cameras. Replace batteries and set the new cameras along the shooting lanes you’re creating.
Knowing the difference between a mature bur oak, cottonwood, walnut and the rest of the trees in the woods will not only aid your deer hunting, but it will also help your squirrel hunting. Knowing which trees will be dropping food, and at what time, will help plan fall hunting trips.
Why not look for sheds while turkey hunting? I’m sure I’ve ran off a bird or two traipsing through the woods, but I’m sure I’ve killed many more just because I found something to do. Shed hunting is one of those activities. Walk trails and also look near fence and creek crossings.
If your world is like everyone else’s I know, it’s in constant motion. I know parents of young children, like myself, who rarely have a quiet moment to themselves and retirees who don’t even know how they ever held a job because of how filled their lives now are. But in the turkey woods, you can just be. Listen, watch, or close your eyes. I’ve been awakened more than once by a gobble from a nearby tom.
On one of my best turkey hunts, my then 8-year-old son and I found a broken tree limb and a couple of old walnuts from the previous winter and started a very competitive game of baseball. After a really nice hit up the middle by my son and a controversial play at the plate, I pulled the box call from my pocket and gave a scratch.
The tom’s reply was distant, so we continued the inning. Yet when he gobbled again, we postponed the at-bat and hunkered down. Ten minutes later, we were posing for photos with the year’s first tom.
Find some reason to stay in the woods this time of year.