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So I am completely new to turkey hunting. This is the first year hat I have ever gone out, and have only been out two mornings so far. Many of the threads have been very helpful, but I'm looking for some beginner advice as well. My big questions were whether to roost birds the night before, whether to move around all day or sit in one spot, how often to call, and whether sitting on a field edge or on more fresh sign in the woods is better? Answers to any of these questions or anything else you think is important to know would be very appreciated! For now I'll just keep gong by trial and error and annoying the heck out of my family and teachers practicing mouth calling :)
 

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I hunt mostly small wood lots (40-100 acres) interspersed with ag fields. I rarely roost birds because 90% of the time, they roost on the neighbors. But I know the areas that they like to hang out. I'll often spend 1-3 hours at a spot before moving. Sometimes I'll sit a field because of the visibility to watch where birds are going. Sometimes I sit the woods because I want to watch all the little birds and other animals. Some days I move more than others. It really depends on my mood and how much I want to nap. ;)😁
 

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Patience will kill as many or more birds than anything. Woodsmanship is next on the list...stealth, use the terrain to your advantage in your approach and setup. Don't be afraid to try things...failures are your best teacher. If you make a bad call, don't stop, finish your sequence. You should have heard the hen I argued with this morning. Hunt with a good turkey hunter for some tips, pointers, & knowledge. The most important thing is simply being out there...enjoy the addiction...
 

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It's great to learn everything on your own but it's invaluable to hunt with someone experienced..

If you have a friend that hunts turkeys utilize him. It would be fun as long as educational.
 

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Stating the obvious, but if you pair up (even with a very experienced hunter) make sure to keep safety top of mind. I say this because I paired up with a guy trying to help him get his first gobbler this year. I trust him and his judgement or I wouldn't hunt with him. We have had extra communication in the dark setting up after getting a gobble on the roost, etc. In the real world when running and gunning approach you cannot know exactly where one is setting up in the darkness. Make sure not to get excited and communicate....know where each other are and which direction is safe to shoot and what direction equals no shooting for the both of you.

Opening morning I could have shot a gobbler 3 dozen times.......but he had split us perfectly and my shots were all right in the direction of my partner. I waited and waited and he did swing around, but at 12 yards he saw something on me he didn't like and ducked straight down the gulley slowly out of sight. In hindsight I could have taken the shot safely.....but we don't have hindsight.
Off my soap box don't mean to lecture. It's just been several years since I paired up and you can't stress safety enough in the field.

And Luke I'm not qualified to teach anybody to turkey hunt and have only tagged a few. But I've had real good success getting on birds the last few seasons by getting in nice and early and hiking to a ridge top in an area I know turkeys will roost (just general areas and I don't know for sure IF or WHERE they are). Before fly down they always start talking so I listen. I'll do the owl hoot with my hands and it has worked, but I usually just relax until I hear something (you don't always of course). If I hear something (hen or gobbler) l'll do very light return and see if I can locate. I sneak to where I believe I am say within 150 yards. I certainly don't always get this right.....I've set up practically on top of them and too far away, but try to get 100-150 yards. From there I'll try to work the birds. Even just the hens if I don't have a gobbler I try to get the hens my way. If I have a gobbler and he won't come it just depends on the lay of the land etc. Sometimes you just need to move (this is tough from the deer hunter in me). For instance I was on the west edge of a ridge top with a gobbler to my east on the next hill over. He would not come. After 90 minutes I finally got up and slipped only 50-60 yards to the east side of my ridge top. 10 mins after the move I had him and a silent gobbler that was with him at 30 yards. I screwed up and didn't get a shot off but that was on me and another story!

There is no replacement for experience. Get out there and just know you will screw up and not everything will go according to plan, but you will learn from the birds. Even experienced turkey hunters I talk with have moments of uncertainty - should I make a move, etc. As you evolve you will feel more confident and comfortable in the turkey woods. I'm finally to the point I feel confident in the woods myself and it took me a handful of years. Good luck buddy!
 

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Patience will kill as many or more birds than anything. Woodsmanship is next on the list...stealth, use the terrain to your advantage in your approach and setup. Don't be afraid to try things...failures are your best teacher. If you make a bad call, don't stop, finish your sequence. You should have heard the hen I argued with this morning. Hunt with a good turkey hunter for some tips, pointers, & knowledge. The most important thing is simply being out there...enjoy the addiction...
I’ve heard live turkeys that initially I swore would have been amateur hunters. They make some strange sounds at times. Good advice above
 
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