There are about 90,000 hunters who are losing sleep the next few days just chomping at the bit to begin the 2012 firearm deer season. With all the hype about EHD, drought, etc. some have concluded it just was not worth it this year….Not so!
This is still going to be a phenomenal deer season. Kit Hams, our Big Game Program Coordinator, suggested this could rank in the top five of deer harvests in Nebraska which means to me things are still going to be pretty good out there. Now, as good as the deer hunting is likely to be, this may be the absolute best fall turkey hunting season Nebraska has ever seen. Due to all kinds of factors including agricultural practices, drought, good wildlife management practices, divine luck, our turkey population has maintained a healthy growth to the point that Nebraska is one of the top turkey hunting states in the Nation. That said, you are very likely to run into turkeys while deer hunting next week! Not only that, most of us will tag out early at deer camp and a turkey tag can make deer camp that much more fun.
Fall turkey hunting can be a lot of fun. Fall birds are actually more talkative than spring birds in my opinion. You are also likely to see much larger flocks and many more birds in the fall as the young of the year are in full swing not having had to survive the harsh winter yet. You also get to harvest two birds on each permit and can purchase up to two permits in the fall. That appeals to me.
Find the roost site in the fall and you may have a spot where several hundred birds will congregate each evening. Hunting travel routes to the roost site can be very productive while not disrupting the roost area. Same advice holds true in the morning.
Flock busting can be a lot of fun because it allows you to rely on good calling tor bring back birds. Here you simply scatter a flock and then take cover and try to call them back in. I realize it sounds counter productive but the gregarious nature of turkeys will be to immediately try to relocate each other and get back together. Throw in one camo hunter mimicking lost yelps, purrs or kiki run calls and you are likely to have success. Especially on hens. Toms generally take much longer to get back together.
Scouting large flocks and then setting up in a location they will move through can also pay off. Here again, soft calling can bring those birds in just close enough for the shot. Also, spot and stalk hunting can really pay off for the fall hunter. For some reason, fall birds just seem easier to sneak up on. Maybe its just the terrain in which I chase them?
Turkeys tend to congregate into larger flocks of hens/poults, jakes, and mature toms which makes fall hunting all the more fun. You are likely to see a lot of birds and hear a lot of really cool turkey talk which, if you pay attention, will make you a better caller for the spring. If I were you, I would have a fall turkey tag in my pocket before this weekend!
Get Em’ Out There