Fanning Toms: A method of turkey hunting that gives solid results

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Story and Photos by Buddy Boyett

Get ready!” Terry said as multiple gobbles reverberated from over the hill. “If you don’t shoot the lead bird he will attack me.” He warned.

I was about to call “Bull” when five long beards topped the knoll and headed straight for him on a string.

Terry was squatting down with the tail feathers of a prior killed turkey held out in front of him. He was tipping the fan forward and back in an aggressive rocking motion and it was driving the gobblers insane. He may as well have yelled at them “Yo Momma wears combat boots” the way they were reacting.

I was off to Terry’s right “hiding” behind a small oak sapling. At 6’4” and 250 pounds it was like trying to conceal an elephant with a broomstick. However I believe I could have had a neon sign hanging around my neck flashing “HUMAN” and they wouldn’t have noticed.

I shot the lead bird at a distance of 10 yards. Before the other toms could react Terry grabbed his gun and blasted the second gobbler in line. My bird weighed 23 pounds and had a 10 1/2 inch beard. Terry’s weighed 20 pounds with a 10 inch beard. Only me and the wash woman will know how excited I was.

Fanning turkeys is a new and exciting way to hunt these beautiful and elusive birds. The idea is to crawl or squat down with the fan out in front of you and aggressively challenge them in the wide open instead of hiding and calling them to your concealed location. The turkey fan can be from a prior kill as in our case or it can be purchased from a local sporting goods store. Caution should be taken however if you are hunting on public land, so that other hunters don’t mistake you for the real thing. It is also not a good idea to try it in the thick woods for the same reason.

The preferred method would be to set up on private land in the open when you know there are no other hunters in the area. So grab your tail feathers and get out there and fan yourself up a big ole Boss Gobbler. The season is upon us!

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