Prepare Now For Turkey Season
Whether you have been hunting the same farm for multiple years or it’s your first go around on the property, right now is the perfect time to fine tune multiple ambush set ups for the upcoming turkey season. The goal is to have several pre-determined set-up locations where you have a good vantage point for yourself and your decoys, and adequate break-up cover. Your odds for success will skyrocket if you have a plan of action instead of just rolling the dice with your run and gun set up. Below are a few common examples of prime set up locations you’ll find across the Midwest.
Hardwoods Ridge Runner
Toms love to hang out in the hardwoods, specifically on open ridge-lines where they can cool off in the mid-day heat and have a chance at intercepting a lonesome hen. A logging road that follows the crest of a ridge line is a classic turkey killing spot. Turkeys are similar to deer in the fact that they will take the easiest path from point A to point B. Logging roads are usually clear of cumbersome debris and toms will readily use them to strut their stuff. Clear out any fallen logs or brush on a logging road that runs the length of a ravine in both directions of your setup. Try to pick a tree broader than your shoulders 15-20 yards off the logging road where you would have a clear view of your decoys and your set. I like to be about 10 yards or so off the trail at about a 45-degree angle. This allows you to place the decoys at 15-20 yards on the trail ahead of you and reduces the chance of birds looking directly past the decoys and into your blind. For an added bonus, you can throw some clover on open areas of the logging road to encourage use- now is the perfect time to frost seed clover!
If you make a few set up locations now on these logging roads, you might just set the trap for a perfect ambush come this spring. Just this past spring turkey season, I had made a natural blind out of honeysuckle and a few logs adjacent to a logging road. A giant white oak tree made for the perfect background cover. While scouting for this particular farm a few days before our hunters arrived, a tom sounded off on the crest of the ridgeline where the logging road dropped off into an open bottom field. On the first morning hunt, we headed to the brush blind at first light and had the double-bearded tom come sidestepping into the decoys at ten yards, without even making a call!
Field Edge Vantage Points
A common problem when hunting over open fields is finding a good spot to set up with quality cover and a good vantage point of the surrounding area. If it’s property I’ve hunted before I’ll have a pretty good idea of where the turkeys will generally travel to and can make a blind or pop up a blind before season and be set. But if it’s my first go-around, I always like to find a spot where I can kind of see what’s going on and try to find a natural pinch point or travel corridor of any kind where turkeys will naturally funnel through. I personally like to construct homemade blinds out of natural material. It blends in better, and you have a better field of view.
Field edges can be tough to hunt, especially if toms are hen-ed up in the early season. I like to get aggressive with my field edge set with either a strutting tom or semi-strut jake paired with a couple hens. Later in the year, if the birds seem to be more decoy shy, I’ll switch to a lone hen or sometimes no decoy at all.
Plant or Disc, and the turkeys will follow..
It’s no secret turkeys love clover. In my opinion, there’s no better food plot for holding wild turkeys on your property year-round. The nice thing is you don’t necessarily have to have a 3-acre lush clover plot to attract turkeys. Small 1/2-acre plots can work just as well. In fact, bigger plots can be harder to hunt if you have other competition (hens). Now is a great time to frost seed clover into the ground. All you need is bare dirt, sunlight, and mother nature will do the rest!
Another lesser-known spring turkey tactic is discing up small areas of open ground to attract birds. Turkeys love freshly turned over dirt as worms and insects of all kinds are exposed. As well as roots and bulbs under the surface. Turkeys will also use this area for dusting as well. None the less, discing up an area within shooting distance of your blind set up can help draw in those big field turkeys into range.
They are a silent toms worst enemy. Trail cameras can lend a great hand on scouting turkeys for the upcoming season. If you have multiple cameras set out, they can really help you pinpoint a turkey’s travel routes. Sometimes turkeys will become extremely predictable coming off the roost. I focus on logging roads, food plots, and open areas where you’ll find toms on the lookout for hens. You may be surprised at how predictable toms can be mid to late morning! The more cameras you can put out on your farm, the better!
Interested in a turkey hunt this spring? Call/ text 217-982-4039 or E-mail Zach@HeartlandLodge.com for more information or go to our Turkey Hunting Page for more information on our spring turkey hunting packages.
Last Updated: February 17th, 2023