Fall Turkey- Find Your Approach
Hunters like to draw comparison between Spring and Fall Wild Turkey hunting, while there are some similarities, Fall hunts have different options as far as approach or strategy, you choose which one is best or hell which one is more fun for you.
One huge comparison and sometime cause of debate is that Spring Turkey is all about the pursuit of a Tom, or a "bearded" bird if we're going by what the law typically states, but we all know a Tom from a Jake and even a bearded hen, true Spring Turkey is all about that gobbler.
Fall Turkey on the other hand is all about dropping a nice bird thats getting plumped up for the winter. During the fall hunt all birds are fair game in my book, I like to look for a nice mature bird wether it be a Tom, Jake, or Hen.
Don't Skip The Scout
Scouting is actually one of my favorite things to do for almost any game. Just as you would scout velvets, you need to scout for Turkeys. Turkeys travel in flocks, so typically where you see one you'll see more. Although they are quite dumb, they are habitual. If you catch them in a corn field in the afternoon, you'll likely see them there the next day too. If you find where they roost, take note of the time they roost, because you'll likely be able to pop up a blind and just set your timer. Find your birds first and the rest gets a lot easier.
Stir Things Up
One of the best methods for getting a Fall bird is to run in like a nut and disrupt the flock. The birds will scatter to safety and that gives you time to get set up. Turkeys, once separated will rely on verbal cues to regroup. Set up a blind with a single hen decoy and start clucking away with your call.
One tip on this method is to sneak up VERY VERY quietly, get as close to the flock as possible before breaking things up. Success will come when you can get the birds to scatter in different directions versus all the birds moving away from you in one direction, you'll end up just chasing the entire flock from field to field.
Hang By The Roost
This is where I sometimes get into a moral dilemma, I don't want to get whacked on my way to bed, but hey, if it's my time... If you've done your scouting, you should know where the flock is roosting and about what time they are headed in. This method is just all bout time and place, no need to call, no need to do anything but wait until they get close enough to take your shot.
Call The Loner
There's always exceptions to the norm, in almost every flock there's usually a bird that likes to run alone. This is where the decoy and pop up blind comes back in handy. Hens don't like outsiders chowing down in their fields, and a lone Tom may see a lone hen as good company. Set up your blind, use a diaphragm call and cluck, cluck, cluck. Once the bird gets a little closer, switch to a scratch or box call until they get close enough to take your shot.
However you plan to bring in your thanksgiving bird, the biggest thing is to have fun, be safe, and be ethical.