A couple of weeks ago I worked on a blog called Scouting for Turkey Season Success with my good friend, who is a great turkey hunter. With the season approaching its end, I asked him to provide more knowledge about tagging late season gobblers. While the time you have to hunt may be nigh, there is still hope. This is what Andrew Arbes has to say about punching your late season turkey tag.
Late Season Turkey Hunting can be the hardest type of hunting there is. By now, the experienced old toms have seen and heard every call and setup there is. They have become call shy and most likely have a large flock of hens with them. Hunting these birds can be extremely difficult, but not impossible!
When it comes to calling, locating calls, as well as soft calls are going to work the best. The hard calling, such as fighting purrs, and the hard cutting that mimics a hot hen are most likely not going to work well due to the fact that the breeding season is coming to a close. The
best calls to use are tree calls and fly down calls, followed by some soft and lengthy yelps in the morning. Do this and
then keep quiet. This lets a longbeard know there is a turkey in the area, and you may pique his interest. Using a turkey wing or even your own hat to mimic a fly down and scratching in the leaves can make it seem like a hen is in the area, increasing your chances for a kill. Throughout the day, yelps and kee-kee runs are my go-to calls. Another tactic that can work well is to use a call that most turkeys probably haven’t heard. A wing bone call is a good go-to in the late season. It is hard to use and is not a very popular call among turkey hunters. If a tom hasn’t heard that this season, he may respond and come on in.
Most days I won’t even hunt during first light. Usually I get out around 10 a.m. and look for a lonely longbeard that lost his hens as they went to their nest. By now they have been so tight-lipped that they no longer gobble on the roost. If they do, they probably have hens and it’s tough to call the whole flock in. A good tactic for hunting the early mornings is to pattern the birds. If you can find where they roost and where they are feeding, you can set up an ambush point. A good way to do this is by the use of trail cameras. When hunting, I recommend using some type of blind. As I have said before, the turkeys have experienced pressure and anything to conceal the slightest movement will help bring even the wariest of birds within range.
The best advice to late season hunting is to just get out in the woods. Don’t give up because your persistence can pay off. By now, most of the “weekend hunters” have either given up, or tagged out. This is the time of the season where the majority of hunters are not in the area anymore. Take advantage of these open areas and hunt without running into another hunter. Areas that have been hunted hard can still provide you with an old, late season tom. As long as you are patient, call sparingly and conceal yourself extremely well, you can still punch your late season tag. Good Luck!