Hiding in Plain Sight of Wild Turkeys

The key to avoiding the eyes of approaching wild turkeys is making sure you pick the right spot to sit.

Hiding in Plain Sight of Wild Turkeys

Because I spend a large percentage of my hunting time for whitetails sitting in a treestand or ground blind, I find it liberating — and just plain fun — to pursue wild turkeys run-and-gun style with shotgun in hand and very little additional gear. I always carry at least one lightweight collapsible decoy in my turkey vest, but I might not set it up. It all depends on the situation, and whether I have a hot bird that might walk within shotgun range thanks to only my calling.

Regardless of whether I place a decoy, there is one key to avoiding the eyes of approaching wild turkeys: You must pick the right spot to sit, and by “right” I mean one that breaks up your silhouette.

When possible, I sit at the base of a tree that’s wider than my shoulders (top photo). That way, when a turkey approaches, it has trouble identifying me as danger. I blend into the background, especially if I’m in the shade, which is preferable.

Depending on the terrain, I might not have the option of finding a wide-diameter tree trunk to lean against. This is often the case on turkey hunts in the central United States, Texas, and farther west. In some places, I have to hide in tall grasses, or find a spot with a clump of brush as a backdrop.

In these instances, I like to have a cushion with a built-in back support. Sometimes called a stadium seat or predator chair, they allow me to quickly find a hiding spot without spending precious seconds looking for a nearby wide-diameter tree that might not exist. Two of my favorite stadium seats for run-and-gun turkey hunting are the Alps Outdoorz Backwoods (MSRP: $29.99) and the Easy Chair ($36.99) from Sportsman’s Outdoor Products.

Alps Outdoorz Backwoods (left) and Sportsman’s Outdoor Products Easy Chair (right).
Alps Outdoorz Backwoods (left) and Sportsman’s Outdoor Products Easy Chair (right).

As you wait on an approaching turkey, keep your shotgun in a ready-to-fire position. Don’t lay it on your lap thinking you’ll be able to raise it to aim and fire after a bird arrives. A turkey has incredible eyesight when it comes to picking out movement, and it’ll bust you moving even if you’ve chosen an ambush with a decent backdrop.

Lightweight shooting sticks work well for keeping your shotgun ready. Two of my favorites are the 8-ounce Primos Steady Stix ($33.99) and the 10-ounce Swagger Stalker Lite ($69.99). The latter uses Flex Ready Technology that allows you to track moving targets such as turkeys, coyotes and deer without having to reposition the bipod legs. It’s a clever system that works well. Click here to watch a short video that shows this unique shooting stick in action.

Shooting sticks such as the Swagger Stalker Lite allow you to wait on a wild turkey and be ready to shoot without moving the gun the moment a bird arrives.
Shooting sticks such as the Swagger Stalker Lite allow you to wait on a wild turkey and be ready to shoot without moving the gun the moment a bird arrives.

If you don’t want to carry shooting sticks, then use a foam pad that can be placed between the shotgun’s forearm and your raised knee. One that has worked well for me is the Hunters Specialties Gun Rest ($9.99). This knee pad (below) has an adjustable quick-releases strap so it doesn’t fall to the ground.

As you prepare your gear for spring turkey season, make sure you have the tools necessary to run-and-gun most effectively. And when it comes time to find an ambush and call to a turkey, choose a spot that breaks up your silhouette.

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