If you are going to be a part of Michigan's spring turkey hunting season, here are 3 tips that can help you bag that big old Tom.

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The Gobble of a Thunderchicken

A turkey gobbles during the spring mating season.

My hunting buddies and I like to refer to turkeys as "Thunderchickens" because of the male turkey's thunderous gobble.

In the video above you get a taste of the excitement of hunting turkeys when you hear the gobbles echoing in the woods in response to the hunter's calls. I remember back in my early days of turkey hunting the first time I heard a gobble that was reacting to my call, it was one of the most exciting sounds I've ever heard and to this day I can't get enough of it.

Communicating With Turkey

There are lots of animals that when you hunt them, you use calls to attract them to you but unlike duck, goose, and deer, there is a lot more communicating back and forth that goes on in order to bring a veteran Tom turkey close enough to make a good clean kill. The video above gives you some great ideas for the overall sport of turkey hunting with calls.

My hunting buddy Adam turned me on to this video and call many years ago and it totally changed how I hunt turkeys. It's from a company that is no longer in business but they made a gobble call that is called "The Haint." I am here to tell you it revolutionized turkey hunting for me. There were so many times I would get a giant gobbler talking back to my hen calls from box to slate, to mouth calls that just wouldn't come any closer to get a shot, until I got the Haint. If I could only take one call into the woods it would be this call. You can still find them online on eBay and some stores still have a few but if you can get your hands on one you will discover like I did that it is a game changer. All turkey hunters should watch the video above because it will forever change how you turkey hunt and succeed.

Using Decoy's to Turkey Hunt

Boston Globe via Getty Images
Boston Globe via Getty Images

When I started using decoys to hunt turkeys it was also a game changer. Now the birds had something to focus on rather than me when coming in closer and reacting to my calls.

Whichita Eagle/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
Whichita Eagle/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

It wasn't until I started using a Tom decoy that I realized these birds will react and want to fight my decoy. I've had multiple Toms come in at once to take shots at my decoy and I just pick out the biggest one and then boom. You can find Tom decoys that come with a fan but also allow you to use real feathers if you prefer (and I do) that can really help your game especially if you are using a Tom call.

The best turkey hunting decoy setup my buddy Adam turned me onto is the breeding pair. It consists of a male who is near a submissive hen decoy and it is just a fire way to hunt. I highly recommend the DSD Decoys by Dave Smith. There are two versions of this decoy setup. You can't use motion decoys in Michigan so don't get the motion pair but you can get the two decoys that are stationary. The video above gives you an idea of the setup but click that link in the last sentence and that is the pair to get. They are a bit salty but unbelievably realistic and you will have the most fun you have ever had turkey hunting using that setup.

Pop Up Ground Blind For Turkey Hunting


My third and final tip is a pop-up ground blind. You may already have one if you are a deer hunter but unlike deer (mature bucks) turkeys are not bothered at all by these blinds. Turkey has incredible vision and when you hunt next to a tree or in a bush, you make one wrong move and you can blow your hunt is a split second. You can get away with just about anything using a blind and not spook the birds unless you make noise plus you can hunt with a buddy or take your kids out with you and still go undetected. Turkey hunting is one of the best ways to get kids involved in hunting. Here is a link to a blind that will be my next purchase.

In summary, get a great gobble and hen call, a breeding pair of turkey decoys, and a great pop-up blind and you will have a lifetime of excellent turkey hunting. I have turkey hunted for 30 years and have shot a trophy bird almost every year but those three items I mentioned made it to where I expect to shoot a trophy bird every time I enter the woods. Good luck.

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