Hunting Yard Turkeys
By Toby Trigger

Posted: April 11, 2015

Every turkey hunter worth their turkey call knows how to roost a gobbler the night before, set up decoys predawn and purr softly when the strutting birds get close. But what if all the birds are living in between houses, driveways and highways? Surprisingly, these turkeys aren’t all that much different than their wilderness cousins, but the methods for hunting them are very unique.

Access to Residential Hunting Areas

As usual, gaining access to hunt requires a knock on the property owners’ door, only this time you’ll need to convince the owner that what you’re doing won’t wake them up from a dead sleep at 6:30 in the morning! Convincing them to allow you to hunt there may require you to put down your favorite shotgun and replace it with the much quieter bow – if you haven’t already. More and more turkey hunters are switching to the bow and arrow for spring turkey hunting, mainly for the challenge and excitement a bow harvest can bring. But for “front yard turkey hunting action”, it may be the deciding factor for a property owner.

Turkey Behavior

Turkeys are turkeys, no matter where you locate them. They have preferred roosting and feeding areas, strutting zones, travel routes and hideaway places that they prefer. They also possess a desire to be with other turkeys.   Pre-season scouting is just as important for front yard turkeys as it is for the more “wild” wild turkeys.

Concealment

Pop up blinds have made the task of concealment much easier but anything that will allow you to draw your bow unseen, will suffice. I once made a blind out of pine needles which had been conveniently raked up by the landowners. Old barns, wood piles and hedgerows have all aided me in my quest to take advantage of relatively undisturbed quarry.

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Shot Placement

There are probably more opinions on this subject than free roaming turkeys but I’ll throw mine out there anyway. Turkeys are well constructed arrow stopping shock absorbers. With fluffy feathers and rock hard wing bones combined with their propensity to move when hit with an arrow, careful consideration must be made when selecting equipment. The fastest bow in the world won’t get adequate penetration without the correct broad head design, arrow weight and shot placement. Choose a heavy arrow and cut on contact broad head for the best results.

I prefer to shoot turkeys straight on in the chest rather than from the side.  My reason is simple; results.

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New Hunting Challenges

Here in western Montana, turkey hunting is fast becoming a favorite springtime activity. Valley floors are filled with prime habitat in stark contrast to the adjacent snow capped mountains. I enjoy hunting turkeys and must ignore the human encroachment each spring to let out a few purrs and clucks in wait of a thunderous gobble.   As for the excitement of hunting America’s wariest game bird; I have accepted the challenge to observe turkey behavior and explore new hunting tactics even while hunting on the well-manicured front yards of western Montana!