By: Kirstie Pike
CEO Prois Hunting & Field Apparel for Women
I confess. I cannot sit still. Not at all. Even if I AM sitting still, I am not. In fact, I had one turkey guide nickname me, “Fidgets”.
This does in fact pose a problem when it comes to turkey hunting. I. Just. Can’t. Sit. Still.
Having spent a good amount of time pursuing turkeys this spring, it has become sport for me to keep on the run. While this technique of run and gun flies in the face of most methods of turkey hunting, it has become one of my favorite endeavors!
Ok, I confess. I can sit quietly early in the morning. Even if I have had 3 cups of coffee. I may be twitchy, but I can sit and wait for the gobblers to come down from their roost, round up their hens and get on the move. I can sit and call and be patient. I can sit and assess the movements of the birds.
Until they move away from me. Then it’s on like Donkey Kong.
All joking aside, this method of hunting can indeed be successful. With a bit of planning and a willingness to take a chance, you can indeed spot and stalk that bird.
- Understand the typical movements of the birds you are hunting: If you are familiar with their roosting patterns, you should also have an idea as to which directions they tend to move. Don’t be afraid to spend a few mornings and evenings just observing. Once the birds are on the move, it is often easy to plan a quick route to cut them off.
- Have a good understanding of the land and cover: Be aware as to where the water sources are. Know where the brush breaks are and where your best routes are located. This enables you to get into a new location quickly, efficiently and quietly. Nothing is more frustrating than being on the move only to be stopped by impassible obstacles. Spend time scouting the areas before the season. Once you know the best routes, it becomes quite easy to run and gun once the birds are on the move.
- Do not over pack. I am perpetually amazed when I see turkey hunters laden down with huge packs and vests. While taking a bit of water is a necessity, taking 3 litres for a 4 hour morning hunt is a bit more than necessary. While it is entirely unconventional, I suggest not wearing a pack. At all. I have found that carrying my calls in my pockets and lumbar compartments is most efficient. I am a minimalist- I carry my calls, my phone, my license and very compact flashlight. All of this fits in my pockets. I carry my shotgun shells in my cargo pockets and I am off. A huge bulky pack or vest is noisy and a hindrance to any sort of quick movements. Just try running with a turkey vest. You’ll see what I mean. Now, when it comes to decoys, I prefer to take one hen decoy that is very sleek and portable and can be carried while on the run.
- Be willing to take a chance: Why not? So you’ve sat and the birds just aren’t coming in despite all of your efforts. Now, moving in or around on birds is not without potential risks. Turkeys can be educated quite easily and moving about recklessly through their grounds can cause them to re-pattern. The key is to know the best routes to move behind or around the birds without being detected.
While this method of turkey hunting is not at all for everyone, I have found it to be fun, entertaining and quite challenging. It works with my caffeine fueled inability to remain still.