Autumn turkey seasons will soon open across the country. If you enjoy chasing the birds of fall as much as the gobblers of spring, this is your time. Here are some quick-hitting tips to help you enjoy a successful autumn hunt.
Setting Up the Scatter
Turkeys in fall family groups are most vulnerable after a good scatter. You can do this several ways.
If you’ve roosted birds, simply walk under them as false dawn arrives, but before flydown. Scatter them. Note the direction each bird flies. Make your setup close to the center of that break or near where a particular bird flew, if you want that one.
If you’ve patterned a flock but can’t pull them into range, put your gun or bow down, use terrain to your tactical advantage and then rush the group, pushing them in all directions if possible. Some might ask, “Why scatter them if you get close enough for a shot?” It’s your calla s a hunter, and yes, a shot option might present itself. Make sure your safety is on as you run, though.
If you have a turkey dog, your canine hunting buddy will find and flush fall groups for you. As with all forms of hunting with dogs, it pays to put that animal in a situation where it will find turkeys and be able to push them in all directions, by foot or on the wing.
Hunting tip: In all these scenarios, it pays to follow up the first effort with a second scatter, as some birds might have alighted in treetops together. Break them up, too. In fall turkey hunting, flocks can’t be scattered enough. When birds begin calling and moving toward your position, call like the bird you want to kill to pull the separated turkey to you.
— Steve Hickoff
When birds are moving, you might need to stalk a place instead of turkeys. As with springtime hunting, following a flock and trying to catch up or call them back just doesn’t work. You have to get ahead of them. Here’s how to intercept turkeys:
Sit at a good vantage point, and glass for birds in fields or other open areas.
Observe the flock, and predict its travel path or destination.
Plan your maneuver to get to a spot along the travel path, using good woodsmanship.
Approach with care. The birds might already be there.
Set up and wait for them to come.
Intercepting turkeys is a great fall method, and it works especially well in open farm country or on the prairies.
— Tom Carpenter