By: Larry W. Walthall
I hope everyone is having fun in the OUTDOORS of ARKANSAS. This is one of those times of the year for any of your outdoors pleasures, fishing, hunting, camping, hiking or any other thing you like to do outdoors. This week we are going to feature the turkey hunt. (Except, fish are biting on Blue Mountain)
I hope you have had an opportunity to do some of the things I suggested last week in preparing yourself for the up coming turkey season. If you have some of those ideas completed we will continue on. Last week I said that we would visit about turkey transitions. There are really different stages of transitions depending on where you are going to hunt. The transition information will explain what the hens are doing and how to hunt the gobblers. We will cover Transition #1 in this weeks issue and extend them out as the turkey-hunting season goes on. There could be a + plus or – minus in the days depending on the weather. Arkansas is probably one of the best and most fortunate states to hunt. I prefer it here but we are so close to Oklahoma and Missouri some of you might venture there.
Usually starts the later part of March and extends to the first week of April. This is when gobblers start leaving their winter homestead and start looking for and finding hens. This is when you can find large flocks of toms and hens as they begin to roam together. Most of the gobbling is while on the roost and not too much on the ground after they do their fly down, except for a once in awhile “shock gobble”. You’ll find that gobblers will spend most of their time strutting and just trying to show off around the hens. It is during this time of the year and transition gobblers will fight a lot.
Best way to hunt:
Hopefully you have scouted and spotted the birds roost early. Start by getting as close to the roost as you can. Begin to call softly then work your sound loud to draw the entire flock toward you. Use a friction call so you can go between a cut and a yelp sound real aggressively. This tends to make the hens mad and gobblers will trail along with the hens. If you understand and can use a fighting purr system, this also can be a call to create the sound of a fight. Gobblers will spend most of their time following the hens heading to feeding areas, but will return to the regular roosting area or at least close to it. You also can use hawk or crow calls to work your way close and listen for strutting or a soft hen yelp. The hens will be very predictable and vocal in this transition. Usually these hens will be gathered in flocks.
*The turkeys will be less call shy and they are more vocal during this transition.
*You can use numerous different turkey calls to sound like more than one hen.
*The less foliage around you the better the sound can carry, but put some good terrain around you and try to get as close as you can. Remember turkey’s can see far off.
* Remember to get the latest 2017 Arkansas Turkey Hunting Guidebook.
Next week we will present to you Transition #2. That will put you into the first week of turkey season. During the “Youth Hunt” April 8 –9 if you have a picture with a young hunter please share it with us.
Good Luck-Good Hunting-Be Safe and enjoy OUTDOORS ARKANSAS.