Eddie Salter on Early Season Turkey Hunting

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Eddie Salter of Evergreen, Alabama, is no stranger to the turkey hunting community.  The 49 year veteran of the spring woods, and host of the new Turkey Man series on the Pursuit Channel, Salter has long been regarded as one of the most knowledgeable and accomplished turkey hunters in the industry.  Salter, who works closely with Down-N-Dirty Outdoors on their call development and video production, was gracious enough to sit down with us for an interview on a topic that all turkey hunters face year in and out: early season turkeys.

WTR: Eddie, where are you going to kick off your 2013 season?

Salter: “I will be starting off in south Florida around the first of March.  We hunted south Florida last year, and I tell you, the birds were right.  I think with the early spring we look to be having, it should be productive for us.”

WTR: Let’s talk early season turkeys.  Obviously, there’s certain advantages and disadvantages to hunting early season turkeys, with the advantages being unpressured birds and the disadvantages being the woods being bare and turkeys often being bunched up.  What is your general approach to hunting early season birds?

Salter: “A lot of times you encounter a big group of turkeys in the early season, and more times than not, that group has one or more dominant turkeys.  Many times you will be set up on that group and hear a turkey off in the distance gobbling his head off, and for me, that is the turkey that I want to hunt.  He is more likely to be flying solo and more eager to find a hen.”

WTR: Say the only option you have is that big group of turkeys.  Then what is your move?

Salter: “Well, anytime I feel like I have competition, I am going to call the feathers off that turkey and let him know that I’m the hen he needs to come see.  Many times you will get that boss hen fired up, and what I do is try to jump on her calls and challenge her.  For example, as soon as she cutts, I am going to cutt right back and try to get her to come looking for me.  Hopefully, the whole flock will be right behind her.”

WTR: Attitude is a big part of any phase of the spring turkey season, especially early season.  Do you think that having a positive attitude is important when hunting early season?

Salter: “Oh absolutely.  You have to believe in what you are doing, especially in the early season.  I tell people if you have the ground, cover it.  You want to go from one end to the other and prospect until you find a hot gobbler.  I also encourage people to hunt the middle of the day, because many times that gobbler will have lost his hens and will be eager to find a hen.”

WTR: Any off-beat tactics you try to use in the early season?

Salter: “If I have fooled with a group of turkeys for a few days in a row and they have whipped me, I will try to roost that turkey and ease in there and scatter them, much like you would in the fall.  Just like home field advantage is important in football, it is the same way for turkeys.  If you can move that gobbler out of his comfort zone and routine, your chances for success go up the following morning.  I get will try to get within 100 yards of him if possible, and will get really aggressive with my calling.  Many times, he will fly down and will act like a completely different turkey.”

WTR: In closing, do you think it is important for hunters to be able to run multiple calls in the early season?

Salter: “No question.  Take for example that gobbler that has been grouped up with numerous hens and you bust him off the roost.  He expects to hear multiple hens, so be able to use not only a mouth call, but also a slate or box to sound like a whole harem.”

For more information on Salter’s Turkey Man series or products by Down-N-Dirty Outdoors, visit www.downndirtyoutdoors.com!
Author:
Wild Turkey Report Staff
Wild Turkey Report is the internet's new destination for information on the sport of turkey hunting. Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wildturkeyreport and on Twitter @wildturkeyreprt!
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