Scout for Big Bucks during Turkey Hunting Season

By Marty Prokop

Turkey and deer share the same habitats. Chances are if you are turkey hunting you will be hunting on or near your deer hunting land. Of course, deer season is not open, but turkey season gives you time to master your deer hunting land and increase your chances of harvesting a big buck or doe for the freezer come deer season.

Spring and summer deer patterns are very similar to those during the early fall, prior to the rut. When I am in the woods during the springtime, I scout and begin to pattern the deer on my deer hunting land for the early archery deer hunting season to come.

Finding Big Bucks Starts in the Springtime

In the spring when bucks go into velvet, they move into and stay in their home ranges or core areas. When you are turkey hunting, when you find bucks near their home ranges, you have found a great place to hang your deer hunting tree stand for early archery season.

The best way to find and pattern these big bucks is to spend time in the woods. So when you head out turkey hunting, add scouting for deer to your turkey hunting agenda.

Let’s Talk Turkey

Here are some of the turkey calls I use.

While I do focus on deer hunting, I have had a fair amount of success calling to and locating turkeys. I have a good wild turkey population on my deer hunting land. So I do practice calling.

I was once told by a wise old turkey hunter, “If turkeys could smell, no one would get them.”

Turkeys have extremely good eyesight, and their hearing is exceptional.

Having a turkey respond to your calling can help you pin point its location.

Early morning is a great time to begin your turkey calling efforts. Most turkeys will let out a morning call when they leave their morning roosts and flutter to the ground.

If you aren’t hearing their morning calls use a crow call, owl call or a coyote call. These mouth blown calls are considered “shock” calls and, in many cases, a turkey will gobble once they have heard any of the three.

Once you have located where the turkey is gobbling from, rethink your position. Are you close enough to the turkey to set up and be ready for a shot? If not, carefully move towards the turkey being sure the turkey will not see you. If you feel the turkey is close to your location, set up and begin a series of turkey calls that are not “shock” calls.

There are a few different turkey calls, which replicate actual turkey sounds, I use when out in the turkey hunting woods. These sounds include the turkey yelp, cluck, cackle, cut, purr and putt.

 The Turkey Yelp

Once you have located the bird and he has gobbled back at you start your calling by yelping three to seven times. The number of yelps you use is not as important as the rhythm of the calling.

Whether using mouth blown diaphragm calls or friction-type calls, focus on rhythm more than worrying whether your calls are raspy or smooth. 

A great way to learn the rhythm of real turkeys calling is to purchase a CD or cassette tape of actual turkey sounds. Listen to the recordings, and practice your calling technique. Remember, it is not just practice which makes perfect…it is perfectpractice that makes perfect calling.

Turkey Clucking

Turkeys often make clucking sounds while feeding.

You can replicate the turkey cluck with most calling devices on the market today.

Again, go to your local sporting goods store and pick up a tape to learn the sound of turkey clucking so you can practice replicating.

Turkey Cackle

Some turkey hunters call the cackle the true turkey mating call.

The cackle is made by turkey hens as they leave their evening roosts and fly to the ground in the morning.

The call is similar to the turkey yelp. Here is the difference between the cackle and yelp. The turkey yelp starts more rapidly as the hen leaves the tree limb and heads to the forest floor. Then the turkey yelp tapers off and slows down as the hen lands on the ground.

Words of warning, if you can’t cackle extremely well, don’t use this call. If your reproduction of the cackle sounds unnatural to the turkey, you will not pull them in. This call certainly requires perfect practice to get right.

Turkey Cutting

Cutting is a sound made by adult hens. It is a series of short, excited yelps.

Turkey Putting

The turkey putting sounds are made by both male and female turkeys. A short, loud series of putts is made by turkeys as an alarm sound. Soft putts, mixed with purrs, are sounds made by more relaxed and content turkeys.

Turkey Purr

The turkey purr is a soft call made by a hen turkey. Purring is a great sound to use to draw your tom turkey in the last few yards for a good clean shot.

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect Calling

The key to locating a big long beard turkey is getting him to answer your turkey call. Use a crow, owl or coyote call to entice turkeys to gobble back at you. As soon as the gobbler answers and you are set up in a good location, use the “non-shock” turkey calls listed above to help you bag your turkey.

Remember, perfect practice makes for perfect calling skills. Go to your local sports store and pick up a tape with actual turkey calling sounds. Listen to the turkey calls and practice replicating them.

With a little perfect practice you could call in your next big long beard turkey.

And with more time in the woods, you could locate the buck of a lifetime and be ready when deer hunting season opens.

Good Luck and Great Hunting.

Marty Prokop

About Marty Prokop

Deer hunting expert Marty Prokop reveals closely guarded deer hunting secrets on how to get deer every time. Get his Free Deer Hunting Tips Newsletter, free deer videos and free online deer hunting game at Free Deer Hunting

Marty Prokop has 24-years experience deer hunting, processing deer for deer hunters and venison sausage making .  Marty Prokop teaches deer hunting, hunter safety, deer processing and deer sausage making classes. Marty Prokop has processed 7,805 deer, field dressed 422 deer and made over 991,990 pounds of sausage, smoked meats and jerky. Marty Prokop worked with Minnesota DNR programs. His deer hunting videos are used in statewide advanced hunter education classes. Marty Prokop is a successful speaker, outdoor writer and published author.

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