Now don’t get me wrong here. Deer hunting is my passion. Heck, maybe even my obsession. If I had to pick a single animal to chase around the woods for the rest of my days on this Earth it would unquestionably be the whitetail deer. However, there are some things about deer hunting that can simply drive me batty. Thankfully that’s where turkey hunting comes in. So many of the things that wear you down as a deer hunter are the things that make Spring turkey hunting most enjoyable.
#1 – It’s Warmer
By and large the best deer hunting takes place in a roughly 30 day span from shortly before Halloween until around Thanksgiving. Depending on where you live the weather can get downright brutal at times. Sitting in a treestand for hours on end with temps below freezing and a stiff breeze in your face can often make you question your sanity. And while not all turkey hunting is sunshine and warm days, there’s something refreshing about being out in the Spring after a long winter. In places where turkey hunting extends well into May the temperatures can even get downright hot at times. And I love every second of it.
#2 – No Scent Control
From October through the end of the year I can pretty much tell you the wind direction, by hour, for the next 48-72 hours at any given point in time. I shower in scent-free soap every day, wear scent-free deodorant, keep all of my gear in scent-free tubs and bags treated with ozone and obsess about which stands to hunt based on wind direction. Much like the weather, this level of intensity tends to wear on you after a time. When it comes to turkey hunting you don’t have to worry about any of that. I have to admit, there’s something strange about wearing my hunting clothes in the truck and not carrying a wind detector with me. And I love everything about it. For a few weeks out of the year I can truly forget the wind and just hunt.
#3 – It’s More Interactive
Deer hunting can be a long, lonely grind. And while many of us use grunt calls, rattling antlers and even decoys to lure a buck within range by and large we tend to lay in wait to ambush our pray. This means long hours in a stand or blind, hoping we made the right decision that day, and waiting for something to happen. Turkey hunting is just the opposite. In most cases you’re always on the move – calling, glassing, walking and calling some more. The freedom to get up and move and truly go on the offensive is a much needed break from the monotony of sitting in a deer stand. I suppose this is the reason that spot and stalking or calling for Western big game is also such an addicting method of hunting.
#4 – It’s More Social
For me, deer hunting is a more solitary sport. It’s usually me against the deer. Mano-a-Mano. Turkey hunting tends to be more social. I get together with a buddy or a small group of guys and we work together towards a common goal. Sometimes we hunt together, one person calling for the other, or we enjoy some relaxing time in a ground blind where we can kick back and tell a few hunting stories while waiting for a bird to respond. Whatever it is, there seems to be something about turkey hunting that’s much more light-hearted and not so serious, which is another refreshing break from the pressures of deer season. Nobody ever seems to get mad when someone shoots “their” turkey – unfortunately the same can’t be said for deer. The bigger the rack the bigger the problems. Turkey hunting certainly seems to have less drama.
#5 – It’s Just Easier
Now I’m not saying turkey hunting is easy by any means. Killing a wise old gobbler is certainly no easy task and it’s an accomplishment any hunter should be proud of. However turkey hunting, as a whole, lends it self to quicker and more consistent success than deer hunting. There is no need to spend hours or days looking for shed antlers, hanging and trimming stand locations, planting food plots or obsessing over which stand to hunt when and on which wind direction. Sure, some scouting certainly doesn’t hurt. But there’s a huge difference in glassing for turkeys in a field or using a crow call to locate a bird the night before a hunt than preparing for deer season. There’s little question that turkey hunting is certainly easier on the wallet and the family.
BONUS – We Don’t Name Turkeys
Thankfully there hasn’t been a trend of naming turkeys based on sightings and trail cameras just yet. I tell ya, if I see another post about a deer named “Stickers”, “Splits”, “Zeus” or “Daggers” my head may just explode. And the first person who posts a picture of a turkey they named “Willie Robertson” or “Jelly Head” is certainly being unfriended and maybe even blocked.