Enter your gun dog. Hunting fall turkeys with the aid of a dog is legal in most states (not allowed in the spring). There are two ways I’ve used Echo, my nearly 3-year old Pudelpointer to get on fall turkeys.
1. The Point
•Find a flock of turkeys feeding uphill into trees or cover. Turkeys have a hard time taking flight when moving uphill, and they can’t fly if they’re in brush or a low canopy of trees.
•Send the dog in to pressure the birds once they hit cover. They’ll usually hold in the nearest brush, like a covey of quail. Some will run, some might fly, but often times the whole flock will hold, at which time your dog goes on point.
•The scent left by a turkey is incredibly strong and your dog will love it!
2. The Flush
•If a flock is spotted in open terrain, wait for them to move near cover, within 100 yards or so of it.
•Send the dog in to bust up the flock. Some birds should take immediately to the air, landing in the nearest trees, others may run a while. Let the dog stay on them until the birds are scattered.
•Bring the dog back in and get set up, dog by your side (sitting or laying). After 15-20 minutes, or when you hear the flock starting to call to reassemble, start calling. A mix of kee-kees and yelps are all you need.
•When the birds start gathering (coming to your call) make sure your dog is restrained, for the slightest movement can botch the hunt.
Dogs offer speed in both of these situations, which is the key to catching a flock by surprise. If the hunter is out of sight the whole time, the birds simply dismiss the dog as a natural predator, giving the hunter a distinct advantage.
To learn more about turkey hunting the West, including fall turkey tactics, order signed copies of this book, here.