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Decoy Tactics For April Gobblers
Adjusting the way you use decoys to increase your odds of fooling a late-season tom this year. These tips should make the process easier. (April 2008) ... [+] Full Article
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Texas Sportsman
Hunting Hill Country Houdinis

In my years of chasing after turkeys, I’ve seen them do just about everything under the sun. There have been times when bagging a bird seemed almost too easy, and many more times when nothing was going to get a turkey to come into the vicinity. There have been times when obstacles such as fences or heavy brush have kept a bird from coming to a call and some hunts when birds seemed to slip right through obstructions on their way toward the racket. On some hunts, I’ve seen birds that saw a decoy and hightailed it in the opposite direction, while on others I’ve seen gobblers run in and give the fake turkey a real thrashing.

The point is that not all turkeys will react the same way to different scenarios, and anyone who claims to be an expert at turkey hunting usually is just flapping his gums. Turkeys will continue to do some strange things, but that’s what makes the gobblers such a fun quarry to chase after. What would be the point in getting up early or staying out late if the birds did the same thing every time?

Of all the turkey hunting hotspots in the nation, few can compare to the Texas Hill Country when it comes to numbers and quality of birds. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department data indicate that about half of both the roughly 60,000 turkey hunters who go afield in the Lone Star State each spring and the 25,000 birds (on average) that the former harvest come from the Hill Country -- so the proof is in the pudding as regards the region boasting the best turkey hunting in Texas.

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Turkey hunters, especially those in Texas, should learn from the birds they pursue, and there’s no place anyone can learn more than in the field. There’s no doubt that hunters can read up on all the stories ever written about hunting longbeards, watch as many hunting videos on the subject as they possibly can, or shoot the bull with hunters who have had their successes as well as misses. But the best teacher is the wise gobbler himself.

An old male turkey has fine-tuned his survival skills to a point where they almost seem to be not of this world. However, there remain some things hunters can do to try and even things up in many hunting situations.

Here are what some lifelong turkey hunters have to say about chasing after the sneaky birds this time of year and what they have learned from personal experience.

Wildlife biologist Greg Simons formed Wildlife Systems, Inc. in 1987 and since then has hosted thousands of hunters. He offered the following take on turkey hunting.

“Your setup is more important than your vocabulary with your calls,” he asserted. You don’t have to sound exactly like a turkey, and a lot of people think that’s the most important thing. If you’re not set up in a convenient location where those birds will be coming in to, you’re not going to get them to come as readily to your calls. Finding food, water, and roost locations is probably the most important thing you can do. Just being able to see birds is also important. Some people will set up where it’s too thick or they can’t see as well as if they had thought about it a little before selecting a spot. Setting up in a fashion where birds will come in (to you) in front instead of behind is important.

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