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Healthy Doses of Patience & Red Dots

April 13, 2023
Kevin "KJ" Jarnagin

When I start to think about turkey hunting in my younger days, I chuckle at what I didn’t understand. I never thought eyesight would fade or I’d have any issues with patience. How did I fix the issues? I rely on a heavy dose of patience, red dots and understanding turkey tactics to get by these days.

Run n’ gun was the tactic for chasing turkeys back in the day. Today it seems turkey reaping is the trend. I’ll pass on the reaping because it’s just not for old dudes with bad backs. But I do have some simple and advanced tactics that worked for years in the turkey woods.

I remember setting up with a beaded front sight while the turkey approached full strut into view. I’ve missed more birds with a beaded sight than I care to recall, but nowadays I rely on a sleek little Delta Point Pro.

A red dot is a handy tool to have in the turkey woods and one I don’t suggest leaving home without. The benefits of a red dot are often understated, but once you have one on your gun you regret not placing one atop your turkey gun.

The Leupold Delta Point Pro is typically thought of as a red dot for use on handguns and rifles in tactical or concealed carry applications, not much for turkey hunting.  

The Delta Point Pro features a 2.5 MOA red dot reticle that provides a precise aiming point for quick target acquisition, even in low-light conditions. There are times that turkeys light right in front of you in low light conditions, and you better be ready. The ability to see a sight in low light conditions is paramount when chasing birds.

I had a situation a couple years back that haunts the memory bank. I was set up in a blind, overlooking a beautiful wheat field in Western Oklahoma. The blind was dark as night, but shimmers of sun beams slipped through the branches. It was just light enough to see a big Tom in front of me and a little dark on the inside of the blind where I couldn’t see the front bead. You know the rest of the story. Boy meets bird, can’t see front sight, and bird struts away. Amazingly frustrating.    

The Delta Point Pro is also designed with a motion sensor that automatically turns the sight on when it is moved and off when it is stationary, conserving battery life. This is a great option when just sitting there on a mid-day sit and a bird creeps in unannounced.

The Delta Point Pro is built to withstand tough conditions and is shockproof, waterproof, and fog proof. In the south, fog proof is a big factor. The last thing we want is a clouded optic when conditions get rough.

Turkey hunting is a challenge but no matter your skill level it can be highly productive. Here are some tips and tactics that can help:

  1. Scout your hunting area: Before you go out to hunt, spend some time scouting your hunting area. Look for areas with turkey tracks, feathers, and droppings. Listen for turkey calls and keep a keen eye out for travel patterns and tendencies.
  2. Use decoys: Decoys can be a great way to attract turkeys to your location. Set up a decoy in an open area and call to the turkeys. A realistic decoy is effective, especially if you use it in conjunction with calling.
  3. Use calls: Turkey calls can be an effective way to lure turkeys to your location. There are a variety of calls you can use, including box calls, slate calls, and diaphragm calls. Practice before you go because you don’t want to be the odd turkey out.
  4. Use camouflage: Turkeys have excellent eyesight and can easily spot hunters who are not properly camouflaged. This is one species I chase that I don’t utilize solid patterns. I select something that blends to my environment. Turkeys don’t mess around in the eyesight department.
  5. Be patient: Turkey hunting requires patience. Sit quietly and wait for the turkeys to come to you. If you’ve got youngsters, it’s time to work from a hunting blind.
  6. Hunt during the right time of day: Turkeys are most active early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Hunt during these times for the best chance of success. However, midday creepers are always out there. Focus midday hunts where shade laps the edges of food or water. If it’s hotter head to water.
  7. Use the terrain: Use the natural terrain to your advantage. Set up in an area where you have good visibility and can see turkeys approaching from a distance.
  8. Hunt as a team: Hunting with a partner can be safer and more effective. It could also lead to more birds hitting the dirt. One hunter can call while the other shoots. Hunting in a pair also opens the door for different ideas and calling techniques.

These are just a couple techniques to consider this season. However, the greatest advice I could give is patience. The turkey woods can be a cruel mistress. She doesn’t relent her bounty easily. Turkey hunting is frustrating, especially on public ground. Extra time needs to be spent in the woods, learning patterns, roosting areas, dusting grounds, and feeding zones. Once you’ve got those locked down the shootin’ is easy, but don’t forget the red dot. ~ KJ

Kevin Jarnagin (KJ) hails from Oklahoma but quickly established Louisiana roots after joining the Gun Talk team. KJ grew up as a big game hunter and often finds himself in a different venture often. His early career had him working with one of the finest PR agencies in the outdoor industry – Blue Heron Communications. Before that, KJ molded the minds of business school students at the University of Oklahoma. Quickly learning he had to grow up sometime, KJ dedicated himself to the outdoors no matter what it took.

Sporting his flat-brimmed cap, KJ traverses the country in pursuit of the greatest game and best adventures. Whether it’s making his way to British Columbia for elk or training with pistols, KJ always seems to find a gun in his hands and adventure on his mind. KJ is a skilled communicator and connector in an industry that he has loved since a child.

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