Tom's are beautiful, hens are not.
Tom's have a iradescent (sp?) color in their feathers...kind of a rainbow effect like water and gasoline - their feathers are shiny. Hen head are gray/blue, Jakes heads (toms under 2 yrs) are also gray/blue maybe with red, Toms have a lot of red in their head and a nasty little dangly thing that appears to be completely useless. If the grass is low you can see spurs but I always look for the beard. The beard will stick out like a sore thumb if it's a mature tom. It it's just barely poking out up to a few inches it's a jake. Another way to tell a jake is that the center 1/3 or so of the fan feathers are raised an inch or so higher than the fan feathers to the left or right. Bottom line - long beard (6" + will be a tom). If you see hens and no tom, many times it's because the tom is there but he's hanging back...even if there is a tom in the group a lot of times there's a boss tom hanging back. Since you've never taken a turkey don't be embarrassed to take a jake - getting a shot on your first turkey is tough enough.
It's been said that if a turkey had the ability to smell they'd be nearly impossible to hunt. They hear decent but they can see you blink at 50 yards. I've taken one step at 100 yards behind a tree before and gotten busted. Camo and stillness are key. Camo head to toe and move as little as possible no matter how much your butt hurts!
If you hunt later in the season in my experience the toms aren't vocalizing, but that doesn't mean they aren't coming so keep calling. I have killed the last couple of toms because they came into my call but never made a sound.
When you think your morning hunt is over give it another 30 minutes
Wear snake boots.
Bow - use the pics above
Shotgun - head shots - wait til he's in range and raises his head
Rifle - top of the leg or head shot will do the trick
If your in a blind keep the back windows closed, wear dark clothes (black or camo) and stay back away from the windows as much as possible - they won't see you. Plant your decoys 15 yards or so out in front of a tree line. Turkeys love to strut their stuff as soon as the sun hit's the tree line. So try to be on a tree line that will be lit first thing in the AM. Or close to one and start calling. A CD for calling can usually be purchased with a call of some sort. I prefer mouth calls - they keep my hands free. I can even yelp while drawing a bead on him with a mouth call.
Turkeys have terrible memories, if you take a shot and miss, settle down for a few minutes, start calling again slowly. After a bit you can start calling normal again. I've seen turkeys come back as soon as 15 minutes after I've shot one. They have NO long term memory. Especially if you're over a feeder -if they're hungry and haven't forgotten where the feeder is they're coming back.
If there is more than one tom and you take the biggest, quickly get ready for another shot. Many times a subordinate tom will jumb on the back of a dying or dead boss tom to establish dominance - might be an excellent opportunity to pull a double!
Best of luck! Once you start turkey hunting you'll have a new addiction!
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