Turkey hunting can sure seem like hunting blind sometimes. Gobblers can appear out of thin air as though in a vision. Hens pop up behind you with peering eyes picking up on every out-of-place detail in the woods. If they find anything suspicious, they let every animal in the woods know it as they run full speed in the other direction loudly clucking all the way.

Which begs the often asked question, are there more effective ways to hide in the woods from wild turkeys? Keep the old turkey hunters statement in mind when considering this question, "a deer thinks every man in the woods is a stump, but a wild turkey thinks every stump is a man." That just about says it all.

 

Effective use of turkey blinds

"It is rather amazing how hunting strategies can change over the years," said veteran turkey hunter Ronnie Foy of Canton. "When I first started turkey hunting 40 or more years ago, using any kind of a blind was laughed at. Even guys who would crouch behind a fallen tree were frowned upon. You had to sit on the ground, back to a big tree, out in front of God and everybody waiting on a gobbler to stroll out to strut in front of you, without catching you moving."

Today there are many other options to hunt blinded rather than simply sitting out in the wide open.

"Today, hunters are much more likely to use many different types of portable, lightweight, easy to set up turkey blinds that shield the hunter from small movements or looking out of place in the woods," said Alabama turkey hunting veteran Eddie Salter, a Pro Team member for Down-N-Dirty Outdoors and a past seminar speaker at the Wildlife Extravaganza. "I regularly use a three-pole affair that I can pop up in less than a minute. It is no weight to carry and can be deployed quickly even on the run. Once it is up, I can sit down behind it and push up the leaves from around my seat to the bottom of the blind material. That way I can move my legs and boots around without rustling leaves. I lay my shotgun across my lap or prop it up on a bipod or tripod and I'm ready to go.

"I like to set the blind so the top of it is just about eye level or maybe a little higher. From a turkey's perspective, I don't want my head seen moving above the blind as I scan the woods. That is a sure way to get busted, but sitting behind a blind sure helps to cover those small, deliberately planned movements.

"If I'm hunting a gobbler that is already gobbling, then I set up like I would any other time in front of a tree wider than me facing the calls of the gobbler. Except now, I take an extra moment to set up my blind. It sure adds a measure of security, better than sitting out there like I was naked."

 

Are run-and-gun days over?

"I guess the two prevailing ways of turkey hunting are still pretty much the status quo," said Paul Ellis of Clinton. "It's either go after a gobbling bird full tilt, or sit tight to wait them out.

"Each has its pros and cons, I suppose, depending on the actual hunting situation, but its seems to me that the old run-and-gun style gets you busted more often than holding your ground attempting to coax the gobbler into a clear shot.

"Though I get the urge from time to time to do a long end run around a gobbler that is hung up in the woods, or strolled off with a harem of hens, my preferred method of turkey hunting is to blind up in a good spot known for turkey traffic. I will set up in the corner of a green field showing lots of tracks and dusting spots or just off a logging road winding along the top of a ridge. This way I can set up my seat, lay out my calls and gear, then pop up my blind just in the right position offering me nearly 270 degrees of vision.

"I might also walk the woods after a silent sunrise listening for impromptu gobbling. When I strike a tom cracking the morning sound barrier, I might ease forward trying to close some extra ground or I might decide to stand pat. Then I quickly search around for a good set up. As I try to calculate which direction the gobbler might approach when I start calling, I'm looking for a good tree to cover my back, and a bit of open space to set up my blind.

"As a turkey hunter, I guess I can be a bit fidgety and tend to move too much. A gnat or a mosquito can drive me crazy. I don't like holding up my gun for extended periods, so I let it rest across my leg. Then, if or when the gobbler is coming into view, I can ease it up cautiously. All this movement is hidden by my blind. That doesn't mean, of course, that I can bob and weave behind it, but I can certainly shift my seat, or get my gun up slowly and not be noticed. That's why I use a turkey blind."