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Location of blind placement a key to hunting spring gobbler

Published April 21. 2012 09:01AM

Focusing hunting efforts on the area of the primary food source of the species one is hunting is always solid strategy, but sometimes an even more effective tactic for taking a spring gobbler is to target the primary source of water.

Using this plan of attack is especially productive during springs with low-to-moderate rainfall, and with today's Pennsylvania Game Commission Youth Spring Gobbler Hunt getting the season underway, this certainly qualifies as a "dry" spring. It is doubtful that conditions will change from now to next Saturday, which is the opening of Pennsylvania's spring gobbler season.

A general hunting license allows hunters to take one bearded bird, and those who purchased a special conservation tag may take a second bird. This year, spring gobbler season has two different sets of legal hunting hours, as were introduced last year.

From opening day through Saturday, May 12, hunting is from one half-hour before sunrise until noon. From Monday, May 14, through the close of the season, Thursday, May 31, hunting is from one half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset.

Only shotguns and archery tackle is legal to use for hunting spring gobbler, unlike fall turkey season, which allows the use of rifles in some areas. As a result, using blinds is becoming more popular among spring gobbler hunters, but - as is true with all equipment it is important to understand the proper use of blinds to use them effectively.

Much like the operator of a sidewalk hot dog cart, the most important consideration for a turkey hunter using a blind is selecting the location. Erecting a blind along the edge of a field is good; erecting a blind along the edge of a field near a creek bottom is better; erecting a blind along the edge of a field near a creek bottom that divides a field is best.

Very often, when turkeys pitch off the roost they land in a field before taking care of turkey business in the woods. Sometimes, a decoy or two will entice a gobbler to visit before leaving with its hens, but it is more likely to file the information and plan a return visit later in the morning - which can be encouraged with some low-key calling done sparingly.

Setting up along the edge of a field, with a blind or sitting against a tree, should be done only after finding the area turkeys have been using. Look for telltale signs of scratching, feathers from dusting and droppings.

While hunting the edge of fields from blinds can be productive under any weather conditions, hunting on rainy days increases the odds of success for a hunter. Turkeys will come to a field to strut and dry their feathers and also come to open fields in the rain for safety, as their ability to hear approaching predators is reduced in the woods by the sound of water pelting overhead leafs.

Most of the new blinds or the market have dark interiors to help conceal a hunter and their removable mesh windows are easily replaced - allowing for shots to be taken through them with bows or shotguns. If the windows are removed, it is best to sit far enough away from the opening so the movement of raising a bow or shotgun is not detected.

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