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Michael Leslie Turkey Hunting Tips

Michael Leslie

Q: Can you give me a few general tips on how I can be more successful this spring?

A: Hunting in the spring is one of my most favorite times of the year. There’s nothing like the first “gobble” in the morning as the sun is just creeping over the mountain peeks, hearing Mr. Tom talking from the tree top. The most successful tip that I can give is to scout, scout, and scout. Find the birds, and put them to sleep. Back out of there with no noise and set up 2 hours before day break within 50 yards from where you watched them roost the night before.

Q: How much scouting should I do before the season?
A: As much as you can without pushing them out of your area. Find groups of birds in a few locations. Nothing is worse than going to your public grounds on opening morning and finding a truck already parked in your spot. The hard work before the season will pay off when the time comes and you know you have a few sets and different possibilities.

Q: Is there a best call to use?
A: I have a few favorites but if I had to only bring one call, I would choose my go-to call. For me it’s my “Penn Woods Waterproof Wizard.” It works as a locator call, but also, it has a very nice raspy sound. This call does it all and is very easy to use from beginners all the way up to the die-hard. With this call there is no need for chalk and it can be used in all weather conditions. My close second to use is my “Enticer Raspy Classic.” This call has unbelievable sounds and will purr like no other. As for mouth calls, I stay close to Primos Signature Series. It’s very easy to use and great sounding.

Q: Do I need to learn to use several different calls?
A: Need? No, a simple box call kills more birds than any other call. But, it’s always handy to pull out another call when you have a bird hung up at 50 yards and is very hesitant to come any closer. This is when your time practicing with other calls will help you seal the deal.

Q: What do you do to take care of your calls?
A: All of my mouth calls stay in a Primos call case and I use reed separators after each use. Keep your box calls chalked up and your strikers cleaned.

Q: What is a common mistake that turkey hunters make?
A: One of the biggest mistakes that we make is leaving our set too soon. Wait it out. A lot of my birds have stayed quiet the whole time. Just because they’re not responding does not mean they’re not there. Blend into your environment. Don’t wear your deer hunting camo; wear mid-light colors with lots of bright green like Mossy Oak Obsession. This pattern is the ideal pattern for the spring season. Also, don’t forget that decoy!

Q: Do you use decoys? If so, how?
A: Yes, decoys are one of the most important tools I use. It takes the turkey’s eyes off you and onto your decoy. This allows you to draw your bow or settle in for your shot. I like to set up one strutting tom and one hen in the ground. This setup has worked the best for me.

Q: What should I do if I go out and don’t hear any gobbling?

A: Try different calls, stay quiet and relax. Some of the best birds come in very quiet. These birds are smart and may have been tricked before. Stay on them and don’t give up. If you know they are there in the area, they will come.

Q: If I can hunt all day, is there a best time to hunt?
A: I still like the mornings. It’s very peaceful and there are no distractions. The worst is to be working a bird and then somebody drives by and sees birds in your field and slows down, scaring them away. Get to them early and slap a tag on him. Pattern that gun with different types of ammo. Continue to shoot that bow and practice often. Hard work will pay off. Have a safe and happy hunting season. Good Luck!
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