They say if you can see the sun glint off the eyeballs of a game animal that you must be really close to it.

The gobbler was that close. In fact, he was no further than six man-sized strides from the well-hidden ground blind constructed on the edge of a freshly plowed field.

The big bird had no idea what was lurking in the shadows. His fan, beard and spurs on a wall mount in my office are a testament to his mistake.

A well-built turkey blind can fool a gobbler every time if done right.

"Well, two school of thought have always been mentioned when working a turkey hunting strategy," says veteran turkey hunter and guide Ronnie Foy of Canton. "It's both run-and-gun, or set up a permanent or flexible blind in a hotspot where turkeys are always likely to gather."

Any turkey hunter is going to apply both tactics as the situation dictates, but every hunter can benefit from using ground blinds either in a stationary set up or in a quick dash mode suitable for roaming from area to area.

Turkey blind set-ups

Of course, half the battle is picking some good spots to build a turkey blind in more permanent locations. While past hunting experiences on your particular property may tell you the best places to "blind up," don't overlook new options as turkey flocks change favorite hang-out areas.

The lease I hunt in Hinds County has one spot where I build a blind every year. It is in a fence row just off a cutover to the rear with an agricultural farm field in front of the blind. The far side of this small field corner is lined with big hardwood timber with a creek running right inside the woods edge.

Once the farmer plows and plants that field, the turkeys will eventually come out of the cutover or the big woods to plunder around in the field. It's been a consistent producer year after year. All I have to do is slip into the blind across the fence and get ready to hunt.

High-traffic feeding areas, assembly zones, strutting areas doused in sunlight or travel routes like narrow funnels such as an open gate between fields, or across a culvert or bridge crossing a water drainage, are all good places to consider erecting a turkey hunting ground blind.

A total turkey hunting strategy will, of course, consider multiple locations across an entire hunting property. Just remember one thing: Hotspots that have characteristically been very active in years past always must prove themselves worthy every season. When it comes to turkey hunting, nothing is a guarantee.

Blind options

A good ground blind can be an easy affair to make or a customized construction based on hunter desires or the time to commit to the project.

A simple blind can be made by laying old and fresh cut limbs in a sort of V-pattern or U-box shape. Sometimes natural downfalls on the edge of a woods or field can make a good starting place. Be sure to line the outside of the blind with fresh leafy cover to fill in any gaps where hunter movement might be noted by a wily gobbler. Also make sure all sides are covered, including the rear, for 360 degrees of camouflage.

Sit down in the blind and, if possible, direct a partner on the outside to cover in open holes. Make sure you can easily see over the top of the blind and also swing your shotgun inside the blind to make certain there are no obstructions or hang-ups. Clear out the inside of the blind of old leaves or anything restricting quiet movement in case you have to swivel in your seat to get a good bead on a flashing red gobbler head. Make the blind big enough for your kid to join you.

Many types of commercial hunting blinds are on the market, some specifically designed for a seat-on-the-ground set up. The "pop-up" type shield blinds are usually only about 3-4 feet high, just the perfect height for a ground hide. These can be quickly deployed even after a gobbling tom is located.

For fidgety hunters like me who cannot sit still any length of time, these blinds offer an extra measure of confidence and camouflage against the peering eyes of a hen-searching gobbler. The larger tent-type blinds might be an option, too, but these are somewhat more difficult to take down and move quickly.

The short-height wall blinds can also be used as the basis of a more permanent blind for select locations. Set up the ground blind and then enhance the area outside it by cutting small fresh saplings or tree limbs, sticking the ends down into the ground. If you pick a pine or cedar, these will stay green all season offering an extra layer of cover to the quick blind. Then if you want to move, simply pull up the blind stakes, roll it up and head for a new spot.

Ground blinds make great turkey hunting set-ups. Spending an afternoon hunt in a comfortable seat with calls, binoculars and other gear laid out for easy access is sure a neat way to turkey hunt in a hot area. Just be careful that some other hunter doesn't sneak up on you or even a gobbler that might come right up in your face to check out that hen call.