A fall turkey hunt is a different type of challenge than a spring hunt. Since breeding season has passed, birds are not as eager to respond or come to a call. Hunters must adapt new techniques if they are to be successful.
Scouting is always important to a hunter, but never more so than for a fall turkey hunt. Since birds are more silent and gathered in flocks instead of vocal and scattered throughout their habitat, a hunter must be able to pinpoint specific hunting locations rather than simply calling to locate a bird within an area. Winter roost sites are often traditionally used year after year, and hunters would do well to begin scouting near these areas, fanning out to find feeding areas, loafing areas, etc. Look for food sources such as acorns or feed fields, tracks, droppings and V-shaped scratch marks in forest floor leaves.
Once hunter have put themselves in a position to see turkeys, they may opt for an old-fashioned ambush. It takes a certain amount of stealth, endurance and patience to sneak up on turkeys and it may involve belly crawling and utilizing terrain and foliage to remain unseen.
Other hunter like to simply sit down, relax and watch a trail or crossing. Travel lanes, feeding areas and waterholes are good places to try this hunting method.
Another fall hunting technique is locating and breaking up a flock by flushing them in all directions. Since the birds' instinct to stay together in winter is very strong, they will almost immediately begin calling to one another - giving a hunter an opportunity to call birds and perhaps trick one into coming close enough for a shot. While most experienced callers and instructional tapes have their own version of what a proper call should sound like, hunters can simply listen to the birds they have just flushed, and then imitate the sounds they hear.
In some cases, turkeys can be taken with rifles in the fall, although shotguns are the more popular firearms. The fall bag limit is one turkey, but be sure to check the current hunting regulations to see which sex may be legally harvested in your county, and all other rules pertaining to this fine sport.