©Fieldofdreamstv2009

Stalking Turkeys 101

Friday, January 30, 2015
Nicole Larson
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I've been getting a lot of questions about my "style" of turkey hunting. People are stating that the birds must be tame or my photos are for sure photoshopped. 
Truth is, I've been "stalking" turkeys for years. Some of my friends call it "Fanning" or "reaping"-whatever you call it, it's a very exciting and fun way to hunt wild turkeys.


I first tried it years ago while on my way to work. I wanted to check a field where I heard a big tom gobbling. 
Within minutes I had an arrow in the big bird and the best part was he ran to me! I began reading up on it and discovered Native Americans used this method very successfully for centuries, the awesome part is they used it on deer, elk and bison too. I plan on using my DSD posturing buck on deer this year!
This truly is an effective way to hunt these amazing creatures. But extreme caution is required! Never EVER stalk turkeys with a decoy or fan on public ground or new ground. You could risk getting shot and killed.
Use extreme caution and try to only use your decoy or fan in the wide open. Never approach a turkey call, especially near a tree line or in the woods. As with any sport you need to be safe and play it smart. Toms can be aggressive and could easily hurt you. They are ninjas with Spurs! Be prepared for anything when stalking...
I usually will only go after a bird on private ground in an open field, after I've first spotted birds in a stalk-able location, and scouted to make sure there's no one else around. Yes there can be trespassing so you always must use caution!
People ask me all of the time how to do it- and really there's no exact right way. It varies depending on the situation. Is the tom strutting? Is he with hens? By himself? Just wandering and feeding? Are these birds heavily pressured? All birds react differently. Sometimes I use another person with me, sometimes I'm just by myself. Calling isn't always necessary but getting in the right position to get a good shot or get their attention is most important. Make sure they only see the fan, or decoy. Use it to peek over hill tops, and move slowly into their view!
If you approach the birds and they turn away- try getting closer and or finding another angle to come at them. If they still don't respond I'll try calling softly. If they still don't react it's better to find other birds then to push it too far. If you spot a tom is with hens, get close- as close as you can to him and keep moving in on his harem. Usually he will no longer tolerate your presence and he will try and run you off- if not, try and get close enough for a shot.
There's many different ways you can stalk turkeys. My favorite days are slightly breezy days, mid morning- and just after the rain. I prefer to wear black to match my decoy.
Be aware, the more times you screw up a shot or educate the same birds the harder it will be to get them to decoy again. Even though these birds have a 
"pea brain" I have learned from personal experience that a big old tom generally won't bother with you again for a few weeks if you ran him off with that fan or decoy. I've experienced it more than once. 
I love being mobile and stalking my prey. Deer, turkey, elk, bear- it doesn't matter. Stalking, to me, requires much skill and patience and can help you become a better hunter. 
So no. These birds are not tame. They are very wild. They come from all parts of the U.S. And I've tried it on multiple species with great success.
 Turkeys are a huge passion of mine and I really enjoy mentoring others in this sport. I also want to educate new hunters and veterans alike. Not everyone may agree with my style of hunting but it's how I do it, and I can do it well. No one will change my mind!
 
I hope you enjoyed my little piece on stalking wild turkeys. As it grows increasingly popular, I can only hope hunters are respectful and responsible. Hopefully it brings some success to you! enjoy the great outdoors...
Nicole Larson
FOD TV

©Fieldofdreamstv2009