If you like turkey hunting, every gobble or clucking in the woods raises your hopes. If you don't like these black feather balls, the calls will only be disturbing. Turkeys are a very vocal kind. Every hunter should give turkey hunting a chance. They present a unique experience in many ways. Once you pick up a tom with a long beard and a score close to 70 points, your heart will pound just as much as if you were positioning a nice rack from a trophy deer for the picture.
Turkey toms travel alone, in male groups of up to five, or in mixed groups of up to eight birds. Females can spawn in groups of up to five of them, but many times will be part of a mixed group. If you find a single hen, it was probably separated from a group through spooking or getting stuck in the environment. A group of up to five toms naturally increases your chances for finding a nice score. These flocks need to be handled with the utmost care, especially when following them with the aim to catching up and calling them in to you.
The turkey has a very good eyesight and will detect you walking around. Consider using Sneaky 3D Summer Camo to reduce your visibility. Sneaky 3D camo clothes provide no scent or sound reduction though. Turkeys have no sense of smelling, which means that scent reduction is not a factor when hunting them. You may also consider items that provide protection independent of the environment you are in, such as Face Paint, a Cowboy Hat or a Flat Cap.
Only the turkey males have a score. The weight to score relation is not very strong. Heavy birds can score low and mid size turkeys can score very high. When you detect turkey tracks, follow them if some belong to males. Try to catch up with them by walking. You can in most cases safely walk until you have a solid circle on the Huntermate. From there crouch forward until you find a good spot to lure them towards you. Males and females have a different call, and both genders are very vocal. An easy way for finding turkeys is to simply walk around until you hear a call from them.
Turkey hunting is supported by a number of devices. The Turkey Locator Caller to detect male turkeys. They will respond in a fair amount of times, but not always. The locator can be used to find new flocks, but also to keep track of how close they have come to you when luring them with the Turkey Box Caller. The box caller has a long effect on the turkeys and they keep strolling rather quick towards you. Make sure to keep enough distance to an approaching bird, or even more if there is an entire flock. The gobblers won't come in a straight line to you, many times they build a front and you need to be very careful to keep all birds in view. Once one of them detects you it will stand still and stare at you, and in most cases run away unless you can crawl behind a nearby solid object. Running or flying turkeys are the cause for many animal spookings that the player cannot explain. The rather small animal cannot be heard when it runs except from very close.
With the addition of the Turkey Decoy you have another possibility for attracting the gobblers. They will however not detect the decoys from very far and you still need to bring them into eyesight reach before they stroll towards the dummies. The decoys will keep the turkeys interested for a short while only.
Even though the weight is part of the score, the length of the beard is a much stronger argument. Always shoot the bird out of a flock that has the visually longest beard. In case you are in doubt which beard is the longest, and for some reason don't think you can shoot multiples of them, pick the heaviest bird. A third factor in the scoring are the spurs on their legs just above the feet. These however cannot be seen and play no role in your judging for which bird might be the best. Some turkey have a double beard. In an earlier version of the game, both of these counted and made for a really good score. Nowadays only the longer of the two counts. Doubled bearded birds never score high, so better ignore them.
Turkeys have no sense of smelling. Scent Eliminator will not make a difference so don't waste any on them. Their eyesight however is as sharp as that of Pheasants, and they will detect you from far. The same goes for hearing, which is again exceptionally good.
Shooting the animal
The shot must be well prepared. Search a good place where you can stay undetected. Avoid hasty shots. A good spotting skill will support you picking the right animal if there are severals. Wait until the animal of your choice has come close enough for a good shot, or until you can safely hit a vital from the side. It is not always possible to set up an ambush, or to move away on time. Stay alert for other animals (e.g. from a group) that might have come very close to your lure, and make sure to go for a shot before one of these could spook and flush everything around them.
It is best to shoot turkey in the head or neck. This will always lead to an instant kill. Otherwise if you hit they can run a few meters before dying, which can cause a flushing effect on bystanders of any species. Turkeys can survive long range shots unless you hit it with a .223 Rifle.
An experienced hunter can take out many turkeys, sometimes even multiple flocks at once, if shooting them one by one with a bow. The Parker Python bow with its Rangefinder Bow Sight is the ideal silent weapon against the turkeys. You may also use other bows, but they are all louder and harder to shoot. The silence of the Parker can be an important factor when detecting a turkey that has come closer than 20m and you need to quickly take it out before the others can see you. Make sure to keep the flock at a distance (25-30m) and check left and right of their last known position, as they can go unusual paths to approach you. If you keep shooting the closest, you reduce the risk of the entire flock being flushed by a nearby hen or tom that you didn't know of.
After shooting a turkey, use the box caller again to keep them on the move to you. Even if you think you are done, stay silent and alert for a while and keep looking for more company from them. You may also use the locator caller to check if there is a male close by.
If you use Turkey Decoys note that they will keep the turkeys interested for a short while only. Shoot as many as you can within that time.
If the animal flees
Spooked turkeys almost always run in a straight way forward unless blocked by solid objects or shores. Many times they take off and fly a certain distance. If you follow it and can't find the next fleeing track right away, keep following the last known track, exactly in the middle of the cone on the Huntermate, and you will likely find the next track. You can also listen for wing flapping that the turkey will start once calmed down. If you cannot find spooked birds or simply if you want to do it the easy way, keep sounding the box caller. This takes a bit longer, but many times they will return while announcing it with calls. The turkeys do not leave the rendering range when they spook. If you spook a Turkey, you can even stay where you are. At some point it will react to your calling and come back.
Shotguns with Birdshot are the most commonly used weapons for hunting turkeys. Birds on the ground can be shot with Bows and help you practice bow shooting. Shooting them airborne however takes a lot of practice. You can easily take out close-by turkeys with the .22 Pistol. Unless you hit head or neck which is hard, they will run a few meters before dying, but not far. For longer ranges one of the available .223 Rifle types can be used.
Quick Start Locations
Start at the following lodge(s) for quickly finding this species.
|Homestead||Settler Creeks||West, Southwest or South|