Outdoor Adventure Company: Turkey Hunting Tips From The North Woods

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Jayson Allain

Feb 28, 2024·3 mins read
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It's February, and turkey hunting season is just around the corner. Hunting eastern turkey kicks off in Florida on March 2nd (south of State Road 70) and ends in Maine (April 30 – June 5). Here are some recommendations to help you stay safe and bag that big tom.

Camouflage: Wearing camouflage is effective and can make the hunt a bit easier. We've found that face masks and gloves really help you blend into the environment when the foliage is sparse. In Maine, the early season offers less cover in the forest as the leaves have not yet appeared on brush and trees, so wearing camouflage will help avoid detection by a turkey. Do not wear any clothing with red, white, and blue when preparing for turkey hunting; these colors can attract the attention of a gobbler or hen.

Build a Good Setup: After finding birds, the most important part is deciding where to set up. We like to scout and watch the birds to try to pattern their movement. Where are they roosting? Where are they feeding? Once that is determined, you need to decide if you want to build a ground blind or put up a pop-up blind. I prefer sitting on the ground and using natural materials to build a blind. It really depends on what will make you successful. We use pop-up blinds if our clients are not good at controlling movement or are young and tend to fidget. Ultimately, making yourself comfortable will allow you to be patient. So, do not forget a good seat cushion, especially if you plan to hunt from the ground. We have spent hours in a single spot if a big tom is in the area. Although most turkey vests on the market have built-in seat pads, that may not be comfortable enough for a long sit. Using a ground blind may also limit your field of view but will provide you with many options when building your setup. The best reason for a blind is that it conceals a lot of body movement. If possible, cut or identify good shooting lanes and approaches. Finally, a good setup will keep you out of the sun. A pop-up blind on the edge of a field facing south in full sun will have you feeling cooked like a lobster.

Know Where You Are Hunting and Get Permission: We will spend hours on our first setup, but if the spot does not produce, we will pack up and hit a few more spots that we have identified in the area. Sometimes returning to that first spot later in the day. In Maine, just because you have permission to hunt does not prevent others from hunting these same areas, especially if the land is not posted. Do a thorough recon of the area and know how other hunters may access the property. Today, the use of cellphone technology makes it easy to locate property boundaries and owners. Check to see if other hunters may have slipped into the area. If you see a vehicle, notice a blind, or hear calling that may be out of place, look for another spot.

Decoys: When using decoys, make sure you have them in a decoy bag, preferably one with some fluorescent orange. You do not want a hunter to confuse your decoy with a live turkey. We like to place our decoys around twenty yards from our blind, preferably in an open area between you and where the target birds will clearly see them once you begin to call. Placement can be as important as the calling. Over the past 30 years, decoys have undergone several evolutions and now look as good as the real thing.

Calling: You have done your scouting, received permission from the landowner, dressed top to bottom in camouflage, set up a blind with decoys, and all that is left is to convince a big ole tom to come meet the business end of your shotgun. You do not have to be a championship caller to plan your hunt. Do not be afraid to try all the calls—mouth, slate, box—to see which ones work and sound good to you. Limit the use of the gobble call as it may attract hunters. Get out early in the season and listen to the birds as they wake up in the morning. You will be surprised when we get a chance to hear the birds talking early in the morning. On one or more occasions, I have turned to Nate and said, “You hear that guy calling? He really sucks,” to our surprise, a few hens with a couple of toms following appear.

Following these recommendations from the Outdoor Adventure Company Guide Service (www.OutdoorAdventureCompany.com) will help you successfully hunt eastern turkey in Maine. If you need more information or would like to book a hunt, give us a call at 207.432.8153.

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