OAC Turkey Hunting Tips from the North Woods

It’s early February and turkey hunting season is 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 that will help you stay safe and bust that big tom.

Camouflage: Wearing camouflage works and will always make the hunt just a little
be easier. We have found over the years that face masks; gloves really help you blend into the environment when the foliage is sparce. In Maine, the early season finds less cover in the forest as the leaves have not come out on brush and trees
so wearing camouflage will help to avoid detection by a turkey. Do not wear any clothing with red, white, and blue when preparing for turkey hunting, these colors
will bring attention to a gobbler or hen.

Build a Good Set Up: After finding birds the most important part is deciding where to set up. We like to scout and watch the birds and try to pattern their movement. Where are they roosting? Where are they feeding? Once that is done you need to decide if you want to build a ground blind or put up a pop-up blind. I like sitting on the ground and using natural material to build a blind. It really depends on what will make you successful. We will use popup blinds if our clients are not good a controlling movement or are young and like to fidget. In the end, 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. Today most turkey vest on the market have built in seat pads but that may not be good enough for a long sit. Using a ground blind may also limit you field of view but will provide you with a lot of options when building your set up. The best reason for a blind is that it will conceal a lot of body movement. If possible, cut or identify good shooting lanes and approaches. Finally, a good set up 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 cooked like a lobstah.

Know Where You Are Hunting and Get Permission: We will spend hours on our first set up but if the spot did 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 other 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 will make it easy to locate property boundaries and owner. Check to see if other hunters may have slipped in 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 to have a hunter 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 made 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 if you plan your hunt. Do not be afraid to try all the calls, mouth, slate, box to see which one’s work and sound good to you. Limit the use of the gobble call as it may bring in hunters. Get out early 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 occasion, 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.