It’s our favorite of the two turkey hunting seasons in California. The spring turkey hunting in CA is particularly fun because hunters are allowed to take up to three bearded turkeys. California actually has a tremendous amount of turkey so finding them shouldn’t be an issue. The bigger problem will be finding birds that are a decent size as California has a large amount of young thin turkeys.
Strategies and tactics for turkey differ from fall season to spring season. The biggest difference that I find is the location of turkeys. It’s also worth noting that the turkey mating season, if done correctly, can bring turkey in quickly, so be ready.
California Spring Turkey Huting Tips and Tactics
The following are a few turkey hunting tips and tactics to help you find success while spring turkey hunting. This is a shorter season, only 5 weeks or so long. This means using every advantage you can to bag some huge toms. Use the following tactics to give you a big leg up this season.
1. Hunt Turkey all Day
The season isn’t tremendously long, so using every minute of your free time to hunt is important. Tons of hunters will tell you they only hunt dawn and dusk but we believe this is a huge mistake. When you finally find the right spot to hunt, make your hours count.
2. Use trail cameras to scout Turkey
Using trail cameras is not something a lot of turkey hunters do. Why you wouldn’t use a tool like a trail camera to help you scout I’m not sure. There’s no need to use high-end trail cameras, the lower price point game cameras will work just fine. Feel free to use this guide to select trail cameras if you are interested in gaining an advantage this spring season. They will also come in hand when deer season comes around as well. I like to set my trail cameras up on the timber edges of smaller grass openings.
3. Lear to Listen
California’s spring turkey season means a lot of noisy turkeys. When in the woods scouting or setting trail cams, drop a pin whenever you hear turkeys. Using mapping software like OnX can provide a huge advantage when compiling data. Reviewing the pins after you get home may give an indication or clue as to where the birds are.
If nothing else, when you hear a turkey you know for a fact that you’re in an area that holds birds. After listening and setting pin, call out to the burd with a call of noise from a distance. By no means do we want to call these turkeys in and have them be startled. Just a simple quick call to see what the reaction of the bird may be.
4. Selecting Good Locations
This tip stays in the realm of scouting. When selecting the appropriate location to hunt turkey, remember they need diverse habitats. Look for areas with big mature trees and water. Using mapping software once again, select locations that are conducive to their habitat. Turkeys roost so they will need mature large trees. They need thick cover for nesting. Open areas for feeding and mating. Finding areas with these features can reduce the amount of time spent scouting for productive ground.
5. Cover Lots of Ground
Be prepared to cover ground in order to find the perfect turkey hunting location. Driving from spot to spot can be exhaustive but trust me when I say it time well spent. The best case scenario is that the first location you scout has all the necessary elements you are looking for, including turkey. Great look no further right? That’s the dilemma we face as hunters.
Good locations are really hard to find. In my experience, just because a location holds birds, doesn’t mean you will be able to call them in and get a shot off. What if you spook the turkey and the spot gets ruined for the day? That second or third location may come in pretty handy at that point.
California Spring Turkey Hunting – Final Thought
These 5 tips are just the beginning if you’re just starting to learn how to turkey hunt the spring season in California. There is no replacement for getting into the woods and scouting in person. If you put the work in on the scouting missions, the probability of bagging a turkey increase dramatically. You get out of it what you put into it.