Ontario Fall Turkey Hunting Season Tips

Ontario Fall Turkey Hunting Season Tips

Ryan Simper
Ryan Simper, Marketing and Communications, Shooter’s Choice Inc.

Ready your arrows for a smaller hunting opportunity come October 1st in many parts of Ontario.

For deer hunters, sleepless nights have been a regular occurrence since late Summer. Scouting camera photos are displaying bucks in near full antler growth. Stands and blinds are set. Your plans are made for a possible three-month mission to fill the freezer for Winter.

Putting a turkey in the freezer should be a part of those plans

The Fall season for wild turkey is overlooked in WMUs where it is open. Most often, a game seal is present in the pocket of a deer hunter ‘just in case’ a turkey happens to walk by. Now that turkey hunting season begins on the same day as deer hunting season and lasts a month (archery season), deer hunters can focus on harvesting a bird at the same time as harvesting a deer. Or, since ‘prime time’ for deer occurs more towards the end of October, harvesting a wild turkey can be the primary focus.

A Different Hunting Experience

Spring gobblers are vocal. Those who have many years of experience hunting turkeys are baffled when the same tactics that harvested a Spring gobbler don’t work come Fall. Don’t worry. A couple changes in technique and patterns, as well as your set-up, will get you in range.

First, stop trying to sound like a hen if targeting Fall toms. Focus on sounding like a tom, or jake, looking for a fight, or in one. Fighting purrs and simulating the thrashing of wings during the Fall turkey season is akin to simulating bucks sparring during the rut. If a dominant tom is around, he’s going to become curious.

The hen that busted you in the Spring is quarry come Fall hunting season, and make for better table fare.
The hen that busted you in the Spring is quarry come Fall hunting season, and make for better table fare.

Target hens with assembly calls like the kee-kee-run, a high-pitch series of yelps which a lot of hunters produce by mistake during the Spring hunt when they work a pot call too close to the edges. Hens can also be targeted by using the same series of yelps and clucks used during the Spring.  Be aggressive. The boss hen that dragged a tom away from you during the Spring will produce the same vocalizations in the Fall. But, this time, she’s quarry. Roasting a boss hen that bested you in the Spring can make for a satisfying meal come Fall.

Leave the decoys at home. As much as you would love to haul your Avian-X or Primos turkeys out, they are better-suited to simulating a breeding situation during the Spring hunt. The Fall turkey hunting season is about socialization. Toms and Jakes will form bachelor groups. Hens will form groups with their Poults preparing for their first Ontario Winter.

If moving through the woods pursuing wild turkeys is your preferred tactic, move slowly and stop to simulate a feeding bird scratching away leaves while using a call to create soft clucks and purrs. Hunting turkeys in this manner is very challenging. Drawing a bow while in the open can lead to being spotted by a wild turkey very easily. Since there are more hunters in the woods during the Fall, with multiple seasons open, wearing orange in the form of a hat, at least, is not a bad idea.

Mark Your Distances

If hunting from a tree stand, shot placement and knowing your distance will be key to successfully harvesting a wild turkey. Using archery equipment to hunt wild turkeys is challenging due to the difficulty of making an ethical and effective shot. Hunting from an elevated position increases the difficulty of harvesting a wild turkey with archery equipment significantly.

Shot placement is key when hunting wild turkeys with archery equipment.

Use a range finder to ensure distances are marked correctly and flag trees at those distances or place stakes in the ground to ensure you are taking a shot that you are capable of. Wild turkeys are resilient animals and an improperly placed shot with an arrow can lead to a lost bird. Even veteran turkey hunters who harvest birds with archery equipment keep their shots within 20 yards.

Use the same archery set-up that you would use for hunting deer. If you have grouped your arrows with broadheads and are satisfied with how they are flying, there’s no reason to change. If you are seeking new broadheads, or a new bow, our sales associates in our archery department can set you up with the right product.

The two-week Fall turkey hunting season for hunters that prefer to use a shotgun still exists. But, deer hunting season and turkey hunting season opening on the same date for archery hunters, combined with turkey season lasting until the end of October, could result in more wild turkey harvests with archery equipment during a season that has seen a low harvest rate the past few years.

See the Ontario Hunting Regulations for details regarding hunting wild turkeys this Fall in your WMU.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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