As the saying goes “Roosted ain’t Roasted” but following this plan should tilt the opening days odds in your favor. You’ve got the gobblers located and even know the spot you want to start your season from. Let’s make sure things go smoothly from here.
Pop the Blind Early
If you will be working out of a ground blind for an early morning hunt get it set out and ready the day before. Ideally in the early afternoon. This avoids a predawn dance with your pop-up as blinds are much easier to set up in daylight. It also gives the area, and any birds you bumped, time to settle down before roosting. Be sure to get the blind into the best-possible position and make a path to the entrance so you can access the door more discreetly in the dark.
Early season turkeys will be grouped tight. Whether hunting old-school from the base of a tree or from a blind getting within 100 yards of the roost is ideal. Any extra distance between you and them just gives the gobblers more chances to do anything but come to your setup. Get there early, be sneaky and avoid drawing any attention to you until its time to call.
If you have decoys. Bring them. There aren’t many times better to use a group of turkey decoys than early in the season. Real hens are usually in big groups right now and if a tom has to choose between your sorry looking single and a flock of lovely ladies – his decision is simple. Don’t go overboard, but a small group with at least one gobbler-fake mixed in to make the real thing jealous will help. Realism in turkey decoys pays off, too.
Go Raspy for Early Gobblers
Cannot explain it but for some reason early season gobblers seem to respond better to raspy hen calls. Box, slate or mouth calls can all get pretty raspy. Go with what you are comfortable with. However, the edge goes to some of the aluminum or glass “slate” calls. They can start soft for turkeys just waking up on a chilly morning. Then get nasty-raspy once the gobblers are hammering away in the sunlight.
Just remember to cancel your permit before the picture session starts…