Editor’s Note: Longtime turkey hunter, Alex Rutledge of Birch Tree, Missouri, has hosted outdoor TV and radio shows and spends many days in turkey woods each spring.
The gobbler that seems like he should be the easiest one to take is the gobbler that struts and drums out in the middle of the field. You may see him out there every morning, but for some reason, you just can’t call him in to where you need him to go. He may be one of those old smart turkeys that flies to the roost from the middle of the field to feed and waits on his hens to come to him. Often both men and toms are crazy and want women they don’t have. One of the best ways to get that turkey out of the middle of the field, especially if he’s with hens, is to call softly and stay just out of sight of the gobbler. My Mossy Oak (www.mossyoak.com) camouflage helps me out then. You can set-up, so you can see the turkey, but the turkey can’t spot you.
A couple of key elements will help you take a field turkey. More than likely that turkey will enter the field from the same direction every day and leave and go in that same direction. Even if he flies into the field, he still more than likely will fly out of the field in the same direction from which he’s flown into the field. Too, you have to remember that a turkey has really-dark feathers, almost black. When he’s standing out in the field at about 10:00 or 11:00 am, and the sun’s high in the sky, he’s getting really hot. If you wear a black rain suit out in the middle of the field on a sunny day, then you’ll get hot just like that turkey does. At some point later in the morning, that turkey has to leave the field and go to a shady place to stay cool. So, if you know where the turkey exits the field later in the morning and the shady places he wants to stand in to stay cool, you can get to those places before the turkey arrives. Once you’re there, give only a few soft calls. Many times that bird will come walking to you.
One of the advantages you have with wearing a pattern like Mossy Oak Break-Up is that it has a lot of dark spots in it to make it blend in with shadows and shades where the turkeys want to be. Another advantage is if you’re sitting in the shade, while the turkey’s heating-up in the sun, you’ll be much more comfortable than that turkey. Many hunters will give up on a turkey that’s out in the field by 9:30 or 10:30 am in the morning. However, when the sun gets high in the sky, and the day’s really warm, before the middle of the day, that field turkey will be takeable.
To learn more about turkey hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ print, Audible and Kindle turkey books at https://johninthewild.com/books/#turkey. For a free copy of John E. Phillips’ “The Turkey Gobbler Getter Manual,” go to https://johninthewild.com/free-books/.