To Blind or Not to Blind
Recent history of bowhunting turkeys has most often involved a hunter in a pop-up ground blind along a field edge with a set of decoys 10-20 yards away. This setup usually creates an ideal setting to both attract legal males and distract them long enough to take the shot. This is a great way to kill turkeys early in the season. At this time they’re still flocked up, strutting in open areas, and eating left over grain and freshly sprouted vegetation. Later season hunts can be successful using a ground blind but be prepared to find a spot in the timber or a field with strong insect populations. Turkeys switch to higher protein food sources as the season gets deeper in May.
Before you choose an area to set up, make sure you’ve scouted the field and are confident that turkeys frequent the area. Sitting in a blind can sometimes feel like you’re in hunter jail, but be patient. Continue to make calling sequences every so often to reinforce far off gobblers that there are hens in the field. This may net mid-day results as gobblers lose their hens throughout the morning. If you’re in an area that turkeys frequent, patience will pay off as gobblers start cruising late morning and afternoon.
Mobile Hunting – No Blind
If you’re looking for more of a challenge, you can leave the blind at home and “run and gun” with the bow. There are multiple factors to keep in mind with this strategy. Setting up sans-blind can be effective for mobile but silent toms. Relevant camouflage from head to toe is paramount. Some hunters attach faux-foliage to their bows for deeper concealment. When choosing a spot to set up, find enough cover to conceal yourself sitting on the ground. Yet, not so much concealment that you will be impeded while drawing back.
Ensure that you have good cover in front of you but not so much that you can’t cleanly get an arrow through to the target. I strongly recommend using a decoy setup while bow hunting turkeys without a blind. Much like blind hunting, you’ll benefit from the distraction to keep the gobbler’s eyes off you and on the decoys. No denying this may be the most difficult method to harvest a bird, but with that challenge comes great reward. You’ll likely never forget the sight and sound of that gobbler as he works toward your location.
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