With September 15 fall turkey seasons underway in much of the state, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game encourages turkey hunters to remember that safety should always come first, but hunting tactics need to change for fall hunting. During the fall, hunters will hear little or no gobbling, and gobblers collect into small flocks, while hens and young of the year are together in larger flocks that may contain 30 birds. It is not unusual to find two to three hens together with all their young. The basic hunting strategy is to find and break up a flock, scattering them in all directions. Hunters then wait as near as possible to the spot where the flock was first encountered. Young birds will usually return within an hour while an old gobbler may take three to four hours to come back. The sounds and sight of dozens of turkeys returning to you from all directions can be as exciting as calling in a spring gobbler. However, the fall turkey season has the potential to be more dangerous than the spring because either sex may be hunted. Therefore, less emphasis is put on positive identification. Fall turkey hunters also share the woods with thousands of camouflaged archery enthusiasts. IDFG encourages hunters to follow the basic rules of safe turkey hunting:
- Never identify a turkey by sound or movement. Be 100 percent certain you see the bird clearly before attempting to shoot.
- Never wave, whistle, or make turkey calls to alert an approaching hunter to your presence. Always shout to reveal your presence to an approaching hunter.
- Pattern your shotgun, learn its effective range, and learn to accurately judge distances. Always shoot at the head and neck and remember that 30 yards is about the limit for a clean kill.
- Never wear red, white, blue, or black in the turkey woods.