Reasons You Spook Turkeys

Reasons You Spook Turkeys

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
5 Reasons You Spook Turkeys

Whether you’re fairly new to turkey hunting, or have been hunting them for years, you’ve probably spooked your fair share of birds. It’s just part of the package when it comes to chasing America’s favorite game bird. 

But let’s be honest – some hunters spook more turkeys than others.


Here’s a look at 5 reasons you spook turkeys…

1. You Don’t Know How to Sneak

If you want to kill more turkeys, you better learn how to sneak through the woods. You need to know how to walk through leaves without sounding like you’re busting brush or raking the yard. You better learn how to pull your boot from the mud without making that awful sucking sound. 

Knowing how to sneak is of the utmost importance when it comes to getting closer to turkeys without them knowing you’re in the world. It takes practice, but you can learn how to sneak through the woods like a ghost, with little to no noise. Be the ghost!

2. You Push in Too Tight to the Roost

We all love to see the action and watch a bird on the roost at daybreak, but pushing in too tight will get you busted. You’ve got to know when to call it good enough and sit down. What you can get away with obviously changes as the season progresses and the foliage on the trees makes slipping in tight a much easier task. Never underestimate the eyesight of a turkey. He’ll often see you coming long before you ever know you’re busted.

3. You Don’t Pay Attention to His Hens

This one gets me every year. I get so excited at the sound of a gobbler that I take off as quick as I can to cut the distance and slip in to where he’s roosted. 

And in many cases, I fail to pay attention to any other birds other than the gobbler. I’m not watching for his hens that might be roosted between me and the gobbler. And it gets me busted. Every stinkin’ time! 

And you’ll be busted as well if you don’t learn to slow down, glass the treetops for other birds en route to your gobbler. If you spook them, you’ll most likely spook your gobbler as well.

4. You Think No Gobbling Means No Bird

This is another one that’ll get even the most experienced turkey hunters out there. Just because you don’t hear a bird gobbling doesn’t mean he’s not there. It happens every season. You’ve been scratching and blowing every call in your turkey vest for the last hour with no results. Nothing!

You get up to make a move and try another spot and you blow a gobbler out of the country. He was there the whole time. He just never gobbled. Learn to make your moves as if he’s always right around the corner. Be sneaky, even between setups.

5. You Don’t Know When to Shut Up

We’d all probably kill a few more turkeys each season if we’d just learn to keep our mouth shut with our calling. It’s a tough one. Hearing a turkey gobble is why many of us hunt them, and that typically results in our over-calling. 

But think about it. How many times do you hear a live hen turkey calling her guts out as she walks through the woods?

Sure, there will be times when a hen gets cranked up, but for the most part, when turkeys settle in, they are fairly quiet, other than the sound of raking leaves as they feed. When it comes to calling, less can often be more. 

The worst caller in the woods can call a bird in range if he’ll keep things to a minimum. On the flipside, the best callers out there often leave birds beyond their shooting range because they like to hear themselves call and don’t know when to shut up and let the birds work.

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