Twelve Turkey Tips
Minnesota Turkey season runs April 15 through May 28. Divided into eight seasons, the first three are by lottery (applications due the winter before) and the last five are open for purchasing a license over the counter prior to the date your season starts.
http://dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/turkey/index.html is the website the MN DNR has set up to answer many questions on obtaining a license and hunting turkeys. On that page, you will also find links to mentored hunts for youth and adults.
There are two ways to harvest a turkey: archery and shotgun. Gun seasons are five or seven days long; archery season is much longer, overlapping several gun seasons. It is considered more difficult to harvest a turkey with a bow; the target areas are small and located in the body. For shotgun, the hunter shoots for the head/neck area.
Make sure to practice with your chosen shells to see what your pattern looks like at 10, 20, 30 and 40 yards. You can purchase a target or make one by sketching the upper body, neck and head. A “turkey” choke holds the shot in a tight pattern, but you can try more open chokes to see what pattern works best for your gun and the distance you expect to be shooting.
Turkeys fly up into trees in the evening to roost overnight. When on roost, you might be able to locate the toms by using a crow call, mimicking an owl, or blowing a loud horn. Early the next morning, try to be within 100 yards of the roosting spot, but be sure you can get there without bumping the birds off the roost.
Moving quietly and remaining still is critical in hunting turkeys. Make sure your boots are waterproof and you can walk quietly in them. Place your steps carefully with a pace like a large critter (deer or bear) instead of a human. Make certain your clothing and hunting equipment do not make noise.
For safety, wear some blaze orange when walking. Do not wear white, blue or red, colors that could be mistaken for a turkey. Do not stalk a bird you hear gobbling; they may be responding to another hunter’s call. When carrying a turkey or decoy, have some orange cloth on it. If using a blind, put orange cloth on the exterior or on a nearby tree.
In general, turkeys come to decoys better on flat ground or traveling up a hill. If using a gun, put your decoy 20-40 yards away so your shot pattern is broader. If using a bow, put your decoy at the distance you will be accurate.
Learn how to use multiple calls so you can change up and sound like there’s more than one turkey. There are many videos on YouTube to learn how to call. The box or slate call are the easiest to begin with, and then you can try a mouth call so your hands can be free when preparing for the shot.
Camo clothing can help you blend into surroundings. In wooded areas, look for a large tree you can put your back against while in a sitting position. In a blind, wear very dark or black clothing and face mask. For hunting in brush or more open areas, wear lighter tones. Using different camo patterns for pants, jacket, hat and gloves, breaks up your outline. A face net conceals plus helps keep insects from biting.
Toms don’t gobble unless they have to. In early to mid season, they may fly down and be greeted by hens. In later season, when fewer are available for breeding, they may be more likely to gobble in response to your hen call. Stay in your spot at least 45 minutes after you call in case a Tom comes in silently; some older males are not very vocal. Turkeys travel a great deal during the day, and can be very curious, so don’t get discouraged.
For more information and tips on turkey hunting go to National Wild Turkey Federation at