Photo Tips: Top 7 Wild Turkey Success Poses

You’ve killed a wild turkey and want to capture the scene with several top-notch photos. Here are seven of the author’s favorite poses.

Photo Tips: Top 7 Wild Turkey Success Poses
Shane Simpson
Shane Simpson

Each spring I love the many photos of successful wild turkey hunters that appear online. I enjoy seeing my friends smiling beside their birds, and after viewing a particularly stunning image this morning on Facebook, I decided to cover this topic in a short article.

To make this easier on myself, I’ll highlight images from just one of my hunting industry friends, Shane Simpson. You can follow Simpson on his Facebook page, Shane Simpson Hunting, Instagram “shane_simpson_hunting” as well as his YouTube channel. His DIY public land turkey and deer hunting content is both informative and entertaining.

Simpson is an outstanding turkey hunter, and he’s equally talented when it comes to capturing great photos of each adventure. In no particular order, here are my seven favorite wild turkey pic poses that I’ve seen this spring on Simpson’s Facebook page. 

1. Bark Background

One basic rule of photography is to highlight the subject, and with a gobbler, that usually means the tail fan. In the photo below, Simpson places the fan in front of a wide tree trunk, and he sits to the side. He’s holding the fan open with one hand, which isn’t easy. See the next paragraph for a trick on how to spread the fan wide in a variety of poses.

2. ‘Look Mom, No Hands’

Simpson has tied the legs of this gobbler to a horizontal log, but how is he spreading the fan? I’m not sure which product he is using in this photo, but one plastic device that works well is the Bone Collector Turkey Tool. Simply clip the tool to the backside of the fan and it holds the feathers open.

3. Gobbler Rock

In addition to the fan, it’s often nice to highlight a gobbler’s beard, and as you can see here, a large light-colored rock works well. I also like that the photo helps tell the story by showcasing interesting terrain features.

4. Blowdown Bird

Horizontal logs can be used in a variety of ways to showcase a wild turkey, and here Simpson and his hunting partner do so in an outstanding hands-free pose.

I also like this pose (below) over a blowdown. Here, the hunter is holding the fan. It’s different than the blowdown bird image immediately above, but I like it just as much.

5. Freehand Hoist

This pose works well, but it’s harder to pull off than it appears. In fact, I’ve tried it in the field on a couple of occasions and failed miserably. I can’t seem to fully spread the fan with one hand and make it look right. The next time I try it, I’ll be sure to use the Bone Collector Turkey Tool to help me. Note how Simpson drapes one wing over his forearm — this isn’t his first rodeo!

6. Solo Bird

At times it works well to shoot an image of the bird with no hunter. Below, Simpson killed a gobbler with traditional archery gear, and he highlights that fact beautifully in his pic. Again, a device such as the Bone Collector Turkey Tool would help greatly to spread the fan. You could use a stump, large rock or stick to hold the tool/tail in the correct position without it being seen in the image.

7. Classic and Clean

Even if you attempt one of the previous five poses, it’s always a good idea to shoot a couple of classic pics, where the hunter simply sits butt on the ground or kneels directly behind a gobbler and spreads the fan with two hands. This pose work best when the background isn’t busy, and the grass isn’t so long as to hide the bird’s head and beard.

Note that in all the photos shown here, it’s important for the photographer to be no higher than the subject, and even lower works well for several poses, too.


Photos courtesy of Shane Simpson Hunting Facebook


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