My First Year Turkey Hunting in New Hampshire

I purchased a hunting license this year for the first time since 1993. I was inspired to get a license when my friend Kurt offered to take me Turkey hunting. Back in 1993 the State of New Hampshire had just started stocking Turkey in the Upper Valley so I never had the opportunity to hunt them.

Spring Turkey hunting seems different from other types of hunting. You can use owl calls, crow calls, turkey calls and decoys to locate and bring the Turkey to you. However, Turkeys have fantastic eyesight and good hearing so hunters must dress in camouflage, sometimes use a tent blind, and be quiet and still while calling them within range of your shotgun. It’s easy for hunters to screw up by moving (unless you are in a blind) or making sounds that could scare the Turkeys away.

Hunters can tip the odds in our favor (compared to other forms of hunting) by becoming skilled in locating and calling a Tom Turkey in to your ambush zone for the kill. The box call seems to be the easiest to learn. The glass or crystal call for imitating a hen seems to be the most useful for calling a Tom once you have set up the decoys around your hunting site.

I had to get up at 2:30 am in order to meet Kurt and hit the woods by 4:30 am. It was already light by 5 am when we arrived at our hunting spot. We wasted no time setting up the decoys and finding a spot to sit that had good cover yet had enough of a view to shoot. Once Kurt started calling we heard a gobble in the distance, which meant the Tom Turkey heard the call. Judging from the direction of the gobble, the Turkey must have been in the woods at the far end of the field. After an hour, a Tom and two hens came out of the woods a couple hundred yards away. It was pretty intense as we had to remain still and quiet as they crossed the field to the decoys.

Naturally the bird approached the decoys way over to my right. This meant I had to swivel around (and move which could scare them all off) and shoot through a very small opening in the brush. It turns out that I made a good head shot that blew him over, broke a wing, and killed him quickly. I have no doubt that the real skill of Turkey hunting is in the calling and scouting skills. My new goal is to learn to call for next season.

Turkey hunt May 24 2015
20.5 pound Turkey with a 1 inch spur and an 8 1/2 inch beard shot by Mark Karl.