Spring Turkey Hunting Tools & Tactics

Spring Turkey Hunting Tools & Tactics

Just Hunting

Story and photography by Bill L. Olson

If you are reading this column and plan on hunting turkey somewhere in the Lone Star State this spring, time is running short.  The South Zone general season opens March 18 and runs through April 30.  The North Zone dates are April 1 – May 14.  There is a Special One Gobbler Limit season set in select counties April 1-30, and limited hunting availability for Eastern turkey during a season that is opened April 22 – May 14.

What you need to know is that hunting seasons are set so a majority of breeding will have already taken place before the first shot is ever fired.  That includes a Youth-Only season that is open March 11-12 in the South Zone and March 25-26 in the North Zone.  However, don’t despair, there are plenty of love-struck gobblers just waiting to be fooled by camo-clad hunters.

Based of observations from around the state, there seems to be a good number of mature gobblers that have carried over from a good hatch a couple of years ago.  This includes the Hill Country, South Texas, parts of north Texas and the Panhanlde, plus riparian areas of the Trans-Pecos region.

Low recruitment the past two years also means mature toms won’t be ganged up on by flocks of love-struck jakes.  In years of good recruitment this can be a real problem when a hunter is trying to work or call a mature gobbler in close only to see the long beard jumped by the juveniles.

The fact there are not many jakes in the field this season can be used to a hunters advantage.  Using a jake decoy along with a hen decoy many times will enrage a mature gobbler to come in and take the hen away from the youngster.

There is also some practical preparation that needs to take place before heading afield.  That should start with the selection of shotgun and patterning shot shells that will be used.

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