All aspects of life are filled with myths, and turkey hunting is no exception. Here are 18 turkey hunting myths, and exactly why they are wrong. Gentlemen, start your keyboards.
1. One Call Will Always Do
Turkey hunters should always carry multiple calls. Sometimes, gobblers like and respond to the sound of one, but not another.
2. Roosted is Roasted
Just because a turkey is roosted, and you know where, and even get set up within range of the landing zone, doesn’t mean that bird will be dead. Oftentimes, it lives.
3. Birds Use the Same Roost Trees
Unless in an area virtually devoid of roost trees, the odds are most birds have numerous roost sites. Generally, these rotate based on conditions and situations.
4. Roosted Turkeys Don’t Change Roosts
Some people think roosted turkeys stay in the same tree all night long. Usually, they do. But sometimes, turkeys will move to a different roost tree due to hunters, predators, weather, etc.
5. Turkeys Hate the Rain
Most turkeys like the rain, especially during warmer weather. This causes insects to find higher ground (toward the surface) making it easier for turkeys to scavenge.
6. A Lot of Poults Drown in the Rain
Rarely do turkeys actually drown. (And they don’t drown by looking up at the rain.) However, they do sometimes die from hypothermia.
7. Hens Can’t Strut
Most hens don’t strut. At least, it’s so uncommon that it’s rarely seen. But they can, and sometimes do, show those tail feathers.
8. Hens Don’t Have Beards
Gobblers aren’t the only ones with beards. Interestingly, about 10% of hens have beards, too. That said, these are usually short and spindly.
9. You Can’t Call Fall Turkeys
Turkeys are almost as vocal in the fall as they are the spring. In some instances, even more so because they are in large social groups all the time. Therefore, they can be called to (and in) during the fall.
10. Henned-Up Turkeys Are Impossible to Call
Just because a gobbler has hens doesn’t mean it’s an impossible task. Sometimes, they can be called away from the real deal. Also, you can call to the hens and bring in the tom, too.
11. Calling Has to Be Pristine
A hunter’s calling doesn’t have to be great. It just needs to have a decent tone and realistic cadence. Do that, and it has the potential to work.
12. Turkeys Get Call-Shy
If turkeys got call-shy, they’d quit talking themselves, and wouldn’t ever respond to one another. And then there wouldn’t be any baby turkeys. These birds don’t get call-shy.
13. Toms Go to the Hens
By calling to turkeys, hunters attempt to reverse what nature designed. Usually, when toms gobble, the hens go to them. That’s why it’s so difficult to call in a longbeard.
14. Barriers Equal Game Over
Just because a gobbling bird hits a fence, waterway, or other barrier, doesn’t mean the gig is up. They just might cross. Oftentimes, they do.
15. Spooked Turkeys Can’t Be Killed
They can be killed. Give it an hour or two, and then swing around that turkey in the direction it went, and resume hunting it from the opposite side.
16. Warm Winters Trigger Early Breeding
Longbeards might begin gobbling sooner, but that doesn’t mean the action will. Breeding is triggered by daylight length (not temperature or weather), and this factor remains constant each year.
17. You Need Heavy Firepower
A hunter doesn’t need a 12-gauge to kill turkeys. They don’t even need a 20-gauge to do so. People are ethically, legally, and lethally shooting turkeys with .410s now. In fact, some of these little guns are patterning better than 12-gauge options of the past.
18. Max Yardage Is 40 Yards
Don’t believe the lie that a turkey can’t be killed outside of 40 yards. A turkey is in range based on how well your shotgun patterns, and how good of a shot you are. Not some arbitrary number.