By Heath Wood
Nothing excites a turkey hunter more than the sound of a majestic gobble echoing through the air. For many, hearing this sound – or actively calling in order to get a tom to make it – is considered essential to success in the turkey-hunting game. No doubt, calling is a crucial part of most successful hunts, but the setup itself is what actually creates -- or robs – opportunities.
Over many years of experience – both successes and failures – I’ve learned the importance of being in the right place at the right time when setting up on gobbler. Think of it as a bubble or an imaginary circle. Inside that bubble, your chances of you being able to call a gobbler in and make the shot increase significantly. Outside of that bubble, he’s much more likely to hang up or hen up. Hunters often debate how big the circle is before a gobbler locks in and commits to coming to a call; some say 100 yards, while others believe the circle is smaller at around 50 yards. Either way, one must complete a proper setup to have a chance at entering this bubble of opportunity.
Setting Up on the Roost
One of the easiest ways to get inside a gobbler’s circle of influence is setting up on him while he’s still on the roost.
Some hunters scout and observe birds the night before the hunt to determine where they may be roosted in the morning. It’s often possible to actually observe roosted birds, leaving no question where they’ll be. Either situation results in knowing where a gobbler will be – either generally or specifically – so that the hunter can set up as close as possible. Getting close to a gobbler on the roost allows the hunter to not only determine where a gobbler may pitch down to in the morning, but also a gobbler's mindset and attitude before he does. Calling can then be optimized to suit his mood.
Youth hunters may apply for reserved turkey hunts during the special youth wild turkey hunting season on DNR properties from March 15-26.
The youth turkey season is April 17-18. Youth hunters who are under age 18 on the day of the hunt are eligible to apply. A limit will be placed on the number of youth hunters allowed to hunt a respective property on each hunting day in order to improve the quality of hunts for participants. Interested hunters or an adult representing them must register in person or by phone during the normal office hours for the property they wish to hunt. Hunters are limited to registering for one property.
Participating Fish & Wildlife Areas include Atterbury, Chinook, Crosley, Deer Creek, Fairbanks Landing, Glendale, Goose Pond, Hillenbrand, Hovey Lake, Jasper-Pulaski, Kingsbury, LaSalle, Pigeon River, J.E. Roush Lake, Sugar Ridge, Tri-County, Wabashiki, Willow Slough and Winamac. Two reservoir properties, Mississinewa Lake and Salamonie Lake, will also take part in the hunts.
Results of Michigan’s spring turkey license drawing are now available.
Didn’t apply for a license? No problem. Leftover turkey licenses will go on sale to everyone Monday, March 15 at 10 a.m. Licenses may be purchased over the counter or through DNR E-License. Licenses are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no guarantee that leftover licenses will be available for any hunt unit.
Looking for a license that provides flexible hunting options? Hunt 0234 might be for you. Learn more about this hunt and season dates at Michigan.gov/Turkey.
Check your spring turkey drawing results online or call 517-284-WILD (9453).
The Indiana DNR is accepting applications for reserved spring turkey hunts through Feb. 22.
Hunters can apply online for a reserved turkey hunt by visiting on.IN.gov/reservedhunt. To apply, click on the "Apply for a reserved hunt" link and have your Customer ID handy.
No late entries will be accepted. The online method is the only way to apply.
Applicants must possess a valid hunting license for the species they wish to hunt in order to apply. A valid spring turkey hunting license and gamebird habitat stamp privilege, comprehensive lifetime hunting license, comprehensive lifetime hunting and fishing license, or resident youth hunt/trap combo license is required to hunt or call in wild turkeys in the spring season. Non-hunting partners who plan to call in wild turkeys must be properly licensed.
By Louie Stout
A few weeks ago, we told you about the increase in fishing license sales, likely due to people being off work because of the Covid-19 shutdown.
Well, the shutdown apparently also sent more turkey hunters into the field last spring and they were remarkably successful.
The DNR estimates 74,500 hunters stalked turkeys last spring – a 25 percent increase over 2019.