There are many ways to bag a wild turkey during the fall season. If you’re planning a longbeard hunt this fall, you’ve likely studied and practiced your calling for hours and readied your hunting gear for the big day. There’s one way to hunt wild turkeys you may never have considered or tried: with a dog. Here, Steve Hickoff explains why you should hunt fall turkeys with dogs, and shares other helpful advice if you’re planning to turn your turkey hunting adventures into dog days.
Gregarious wild turkeys — once out of your hunting range — will often return to a flock-break location, and your nearby setup, coaxed there by your calling and that of other birds. Four-legged hunting companions can scatter turkeys better than you can, assuming they’re trained to the task. The birds want to be together, so they often (but not always) come back.
As a hunting tradition, turkey dogging combines the companionship and trained skills gun dog enthusiasts enjoy when pursuing other upland species, while also including the fall and winter turkey hunting component. There’s a real pleasure in watching your dog work.
Photos: Carrie Wilson, California Department of Fish and Game (top); Bob Inouye (above)