5 Turkey Hunting Mistakes

Outdoors Allie • July 02, 2023

Hi, folks! My name is Allie D'Andrea. Today I'm going to be talking through five common turkey hunting mistakes. I have been hunting for just about a decade and, over that course of time, I have made a lot of mistakes while turkey hunting. This list is just five -- there's a lot more, but hopefully this will help you decrease that learning curve and you'll walk away with some extra knowledge going into this turkey season. So, without further ado, let's jump right into it.

Pattern Your Shotgun

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First things first, you need to pattern your shotgun. I'm talking about the exact shotgun that you plan on hunting with, the exact choke and the exact ammunition--and you need to do that from 20 yards all the way out to the distance that you plan to shoot to; your maximum range. Patterns vary drastically, depending on these three variables and how you play with them (shotgun, the choke, and the ammunition) so it is vital that you shoot and pattern your gun before going to the field.

No Junk Decoys

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Use Quality Decoys

The second mistake is having junky decoys. Generally speaking, a crappy, cheap, broken-down decoy is going to do you more harm than good. I have seen turkeys be scared away from junky decoys, so, if you don't have a good quality decoy, just don't use one at all. It's better to go with nothing than something that could potentially scare the birds away and MidwayUSA has a lot of different decoys to choose from. Avian-X makes a lot of really great ones, so you can definitely find something that'll work for you on the website.

Calling Before Setup

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Don't Call Until You're Ready

The third mistake is not being set up and ready before you start calling. All too often, you get in the woods, you're really excited, you start calling and immediately you're getting calls back. You're scrambling to set up because the bird was way closer than you were expecting. The bird comes in and busts you before you are actually set up and ready. This has happened to me so many times, so what I have learned is to not call until you're ready. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean sitting down in position the moment that you call, but it's having some awareness while you're actually hunting as to where you could potentially set up if a bird happens to be close by.

Not Hidden Enough

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Camo = Not Just a Gimmick

This leads me to my next mistake, which is not being hidden enough. I used to hear this from people all of the time that it was really important to wear a camouflage, it's really important to stay hidden, but when I first started I thought that that was kind of a gimmick. I didn't think that it really mattered, but as time went on I've learned the hard way how important it is to stay very concealed and I'm talking about camouflage. I'm talking about potentially using a face mask or face paint to help take away some of the shine of your face, even going to the extent of if you're wearing glasses, maybe choosing to wear contacts just to avoid some of the potential glare that could happen from your glasses. This also goes into the type of structure or blind that you're using to hide in. Are you using a ground blind, are you using a mesh blind, are you using a natural blind? Whatever it is, you really want to make sure that you are as concealed as possible, because turkeys have fantastic eyesight and they really pick up on movement. So, if you're not perfectly concealed when you go to shoulder that shotgun, it may be just enough movement that will bust the bird and ruin your hunt. Stay concealed.

Calling Too Loud, Too Often

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Don't Overdo the Calling

The fifth and final mistake is calling too loudly and too much. Now, turkey hunting does vary based on location, based on the particular birds in your area, but generally speaking, a lot of beginners tend to call really, really loud, really aggressively. I know I did this when I first started. It was so exciting to get a response back, to hear a gobble every time that I called. Sometimes I would get so caught up in that excitement that I would just call back and forth, back and forth with the bird, thinking that I was doing a great job when I was actually blowing my cover. I was making this bird too smart and as soon as he popped off the roost, he'd run the the other way. And so, the takeaway is just to keep in mind to preserve your calling a little bit. You don't have to call as much; you don't have to call as loud as you may think. And that is it for this video! I hope you were able to take something away from this video so that you will have a more successful turkey season. If you need any type of turkey hunting gear, definitely check out midwayusa.com. They have got everything that you need for this season. Good luck!

--Outdoors Allie