The first weekend of turkey season is in the books and I have no turkeys to show for it. I had a few encounters but I let the opportunities slip by. My biggest mistake this past weekend was with my set-up. Here are my thoughts from the opening weekend.
Bowhunting turkeys without a blind
I hunt turkeys without a blind. The main reason I do this is because I don’t have a blind. But also the turkeys in my area tend to roost all over the place and I don’t have a friend to carry a blind in with me. Not having a blind makes me more mobile but it also makes it more difficult to hide. In order to hunt without a blind you need to be able to adapt to a variety of situations.
I don’t carry a chair with me in the early-season because I have two decoys and a bow so a chair just gets to be too much. I usually pop up my decoys and then kneel against a tree. This is not very comfortable. Stretching your knees, hips and legs before turkey season is a good idea. Two years ago I shot a tom after cramping up in a batch of poison ivy. I’ll admit my strategy is not perfected yet, but it is possible to shoot a turkey from a tree you are kneeling behind.
Get perpendicular to your decoys
In my experience toms that come into my decoys get about the same distance or a little bit farther into the field to strut when they are still 60-70 yards away. I don’t worry about toms getting hung up in the early season because I have a decoy pair. But this means the toms come in slowly and that if you are sitting down the grove or fence line from your decoys you are likely going to be in the toms field of view. This is what happened to me last weekend. Had I sat straight in from my decoys rather than thinking I could down from them I do not think the turkey would have seen me.
Get something in front of you
Turkey’s vision is different. Stuart wrote a blog on turkey vision last spring, but basically it amounts to a greater field of view with more fine detail than whitetail. I still catch myself making mistakes by thinking that a turkey views the world in the same way as a whitetail. The best way to avoid these mistakes is to get something between you and the turkey and not move until the tom is in full strut facing the other direction. Having a jake strutting facing you is a major help for this shot. Another option is to go in early and find a downed branch to drag with you. Good luck this weekend, follow IowaSlam on Instagram to see how our season unfolds.