From Oklahoma Dept. Of Wildlife Turkey Hunting and

Thoughts And Theories From Some
Successful Oklahoma Turkey Hunters:

 • When you think it’s time to get up and move to another hunting spot, stay put for five more minutes. Patience is important.

• When setting up on turkeys before daylight, don’t try to get too close to a roost. If you flush them out of their tree, they may scatter, change their daily routines or move out of the area. Most early morning hunters stay well away from a roost.

• Lengthen the life of a diaphragm call by inserting the curved end of a paper clip between the reeds. This will keep them separated as they dry, and preserve the tone of the call as well as its longevity.

• Do not attempt to take a displaying gobbler. Since a sportsman’s goal is to put as many pellets as possible into the head and neck, a shotgun pattern is most efficient when the bird extends its neck, enlarging the target area. Once a gobbler comes within range, many hunters use some type of vocalization such as a "putt" to bring it out of full strut.

  •  Some hunters feel a bird is less likely to work downhill toward a call. If a gobbler is located on a hillside or partway up a ridge, these hunters like to climb the slope to call from a position above the tom or at least on the same level.  If a tom "hangs up," or refuses to come close enough for shot, persuasive techniques may vary according to its proximity. Try softer calling, calling in another direction, using different vocalizations or stop calling all together. If the bird is distant or hidden enough to permit limited movement, try switching calls or actually moving back as if the hen is going away. Another effective method is to lightly rustle or rake leaves with your hand, imitating the sounds of a turkey scratching the ground. Never call or move when a bird challenge of turkey hunting. Some hunters like to call louder, move slower and be more alert to birds approaching unheard in the gusts, and unseen in the moving foliage. Other hunters prefer to set up upwind of where they suspect birds to be, and use the wind to help carry their vocalizations.

Wind changes the Turkeys have a poor sense of smell, so hunters are well served by applying insect repellent. A gobbler won’t smell you, but he can easily see you if you move. If you’re not bothered by mosquitoes or gnats, you’re more apt to sit still longer.






    • If you see another hunter in the woods, never move or make turkey sounds. Simply call out a name or the word "hello." Let the sound of a human voice safely alert the hunter that someone else is in the area.

    • Know your hunting area and its safe zone of fire.

    • If hunting with companions, know their locations.


    The Top Ten Suggestions
    for a Safe Turkey Hunt


    1) Hunt preparation - Proper handling of firearms is essential for a safe hunt. You can develop this important skill by attending an Oklahoma Hunter Education course. All ages can learn something new at one of these programs. For information about course dates, contact the state game warden in your county or call 405/521-4650.

    2) Proper Clothing - Hunters should avoid wearing colors associated with wild turkeys such as red, black, white and blue. Wearing red, white and blue, which are colors of a turkey's head, or black, which is their body color, may confuse other hunters. Wearing blaze orange during the spring wild turkey season is an option worth considering. During the fall, when deer primitive firearms season overlaps with fall wild turkey season, hunters must conspicuously wear either a head covering or an outer garment above the waistline, consisting of daylight fluorescent orange color.

    3) Safety First - Following these five simple safety rules listed below will help assure a safe hunt

    4) Hunter Awareness - Most hunters, when hearing a gobbler, try to get as close as possible before calling. However, other hunters may be calling or working the same bird. Don't compete with other hunters. If you're unsure about another hunter's position, stop calling and reassess the situation.

    5) Where to Call - When you are ready to start hunting or calling, sit at the base of a tree which has a trunk wider than your body. This way you can see an approaching hunter and you are protected from the rear. Use this position to call so you can see in all directions for turkeys or hunters.

    6) Using a Decoy – Safety-conscious hunters are very careful when using a decoy. If you decide to use one, place it so you will be out of the line of fire. Put a tree between you and the decoy. If you are in the open, place the decoy so it faces directly toward or away from you and can be seen by approaching hunters from all directions. Always carry decoys in a bag or backpack going to and from hunting sites.

    7) Calling - Your turkey calls may sound like a real turkey to other hunters, so be alert. Don't use calls that imitate a gobbler. Experienced turkey hunters believe it's dangerous and unnecessary. Also, electronic turkey calls are illegal in Oklahoma.

    8) Other Hunters - When another hunter approaches you, don't wave your hand as a signal. This movement could trigger a shot. Instead, shout to the other person since there isn't much chance a hunter will mistake your voice.

    9) Identifying Your Target - The most critical moment of any turkey hunt is when you decide to pull the trigger. Be absolutely sure the bird you see is a legal turkey. In the 'gobbler only' season, this means you must see the beard as a positive means of identifying the bird. Never shoot at noise, movement or color.

    10) Leaving the Woods - Once you have bagged your turkey or have decided to quit hunting for the day, unload your firearm. If you're an annual license/permit holder and have shot a turkey, you are required to complete the Record of Game section on the back of the license form. All persons, including lifetime license holders, taking a turkey must immediately upon harvesting a bird, securely attach their name and hunting license number to a leg of the harvested bird. Then wrap the bird in camouflage or blaze orange before carrying it through the woods. Walking through the woods wearing a blaze orange vest using the most visible route to your vehicle will also help protect you .                                                                                                                         

    From Oklahoma Dept. Of Wildlife

    Turkey calling is the most confusing and frustrating part of turkey hunting for many hunters, even experienced ones. Turkeys make dozens of calls or sounds, but you don't need to know them all to be successful.

    Master the cluck, yelp and purr, with a few variations and you're ready for the woods.

    Calling is the most overrated part of turkey hunting, although the part that most hunters focus on. No secret calling sequence or calling device is guaranteed to "bring em' in" every time.


    There are three SECRETS to turkey calling strategy:























  • A Look At Some Creative, But Unfounded, Wild Turkey Tales

    By Dr. James Earl Kennamer
    VP Conservation
    Nat. Wild Turkey Federation

    We hunters have an almost uncanny ability to draw the wildest conclusions from the most obscure observations. The wild turkey rumor mill is a result of this skill, fed by the creative imaginations of a few hunters and armchair outdoors people. Let's take a look at some creative, but unfounded, wild turkey rumors I have heard over the years:

    Turkeys are so dumb that they will look up when it rains and drown.

    This popular belief is simply not true. Even the domestic turkey does not look up at the rain and drown.

    This rumor most likely started from farmers who had domestic turkeys that died during a rainstorm. But instead of drowning, the birds were probably scared by the lightning, panicked and congregated en masse into one corner of the pen, suffocating the unfortunate birds in the center.

    This rumor also may have resulted from the observation that after a cold spring rain, turkey poults sometimes disappear and are assumed dead. Poults can die from exposure, or hypothermia, after several consecutive days of a cold spring rain. Biologists have seen this trend throughout the U.S., especially in the northern portion of the wild turkey's range.

    The wild turkey gobbler will follow the hen to the nest and destroy the eggs.

    There have been no verified accounts of a gobbler destroying a clutch of eggs.

    Let's examine the logical flaw; the wild turkey gobbler spends three months during the spring strutting, gobbling and otherwise acting like a freak-show attraction on steroids. After all, the sole purpose for mating displays is for the gobbler to mate with a hen and pass his DNA to another generation of turkeys. Now, why would a gobbler go and destroy this investment?

    Despite the rumor's lack of logic, some people believe we must have a spring gobbler season to remove the gobblers so the toms don't destroy the hens' eggs. This rumor is definitely false.

    Contrary to some stories, there have been no verified accounts of a gobbler destroying a hen's clutch of eggs.

    If you sprinkle salt on a turkey's tail, you can catch her.

    Yes, if you can get that close to a hen, you probably can catch her. A similar rumor goes that if you sprinkle pepper on a hen's tail, she will lead you to her nest.

    If you could get that close, a predator would have beat you to it and already removed the bird from the population. I don't know how this old rumor started years ago, but there is no truth in it.

    The department of natural resources is stocking coyotes and rattlesnakes to control deer and turkey populations.

    Several state wildlife agency biologists report they have been blamed for stocking rattlesnakes and coyotes to reduce wild turkey and deer populations. What is even more outlandish is the stocking techniques.

    Biologists have been accused of placing rattlesnakes in balloons, filling the balloon with air to soften the fall and then dropping the package out of an airplane. Another version of this rumor claims that the balloons are filled with water, the snake placed in the balloon and then thrown out of an airplane.

    There are two flaws in this logic. First, it would be much easier to release the snakes from crates than from the air. Second, who is actually going to put a poisonous snake into a balloon, much less put the balloon to their mouth and fill it with air. One agency biologist relayed this humorous story:

    "Two guys came into the office the other day and accused me of placing rattlesnakes into balloons and throwing them out of an airplane; I said, 'Sure, and I'm looking for two guys to blow the hot air into them. Want a job?'"

    Additionally, the DNR also is not stocking coyotes. One explanation for the rumor is the recent expanding coyote populations, especially in the eastern U.S. Coyotes are adaptable and don't need any help from the state wildlife departments.

    The reason grouse and quail populations have decreased is because the turkeys are eating grouse and quail young.

    This may sound ridiculous, and it is, but we continue to receive calls and letters accusing turkeys of eating quail and grouse chicks and causing the smaller fowls' population to drop.

    It is true that quail and grouse populations in some regions have declined over the last two decades. At the same time, wild turkey populations have dramatically increased.

    Loss of quail habitat is the reason for their population decline, especially in the Southeast. The same holds true with grouse, which require young, early-successional forests. Currently, many of our forests are older and offer limited grouse habitat. Wild turkeys, in contrast, use all habitat types from early-successional forest to older, late-successional forests. The poor quail and grouse populations are a function of habitat, not wild turkeys eating their chicks.

    The turkeys are ruining the deer hunting.

    Apparently, some deer hunters are even blaming their poor deer hunting success on turkeys. The story goes that turkeys are either, eating all the acorns and causing the deer to starve, making so much noise in the woods that the hunters can't hear the deer or spooking the deer with all their racket.

    It just goes to show that turkey hunters aren't the only ones with a creative imagination. In case you're wondering, this rumor is also not true.

    This belief is not limited to just deer. One state biologist relayed the following account:

    "Four of us were fall turkey hunting and each harvested a bird. When we arrived at the check station the attendant walked over to our truck and saw our turkeys in the back. He actually thanked us for killing the birds and encouraged us 'to go back out and get some more because they're eating all the acorns and starving the squirrels.'"

    Do turkeys make a lot of noise when they are feeding in the woods? Sure, but that should not interfere with deer hunting. In addition, turkeys rarely stay in one location for a long period of time.

    Are the turkeys eating all the acorns and starving the deer? No. First, wild turkeys can't eat every acorn. Second, deer are browsers and use other foods in addition to acorns. We also need to understand that we had whitetail deer and wild turkeys co-existing in this country long before the European settlers landed on the east coast.

    Rumors about wild turkeys grow, mature and eventually develop into new ones. Many hunters who know their wild turkey biology can begin to believe rumors if they hear the same rumor enough times. Unfortunately, some of these false tales, such as the coyote and rattlesnake stockings, are often counterproductive to state agency programs and hinder our ability to work together to benefit the wild turkey resource.

    Material from the National Wild Turkey Federation.
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