Fall is here and it’s time for a fowl ball of feathery fun.

I take my spring turkey hunting very seriously, scouting for weeks in advance, practicing my calling, then plotting a plan of attack to lure in a longbeard. It often means rising well before dawn and enduring hours of discomfort and fending off hoards of hungry mosquitoes.

But when fall rolls around, I take a more casual approach based more on having fun.

I’ll do a bit of scouting, but that’s difficult with early goose, expanded archery and bear seasons, soccer games and various other activities vying for my attention. And if I find a band of longbeards exhibiting any sort of pattern, I may lie in wait, hoping they’ll wander within bow range.

But a more typical fall hunt involves rising with, or even after the sun, piling into my truck and riding the back roads in search of potential prey.

Fall flocks generally consist of either family groups of brood hens and their young of the year, adult hens that either were not bred or that lost their eggs or young and failed to re-nest, young males (jakes) or adult males (toms).

It is the brood flocks mostly that I’m targeting in the fall for several reasons. One, there are more of them — more flocks and more birds in them. Two, they’re easier to locate, and three, they’re easier — and more fun — to hunt.

The traditional fall method goes something like this: Upon locating a flock, you try to get as close as you can — or let them get close to you. That need not be within gun or bow range, for you’re not going to shoot yet.

When you feel the distance is short enough, it’s time to make yourself known in no uncertain way. Leap to your feet and charge at the birds as quickly as you can, waving your arms and yelling at the birds as you go.

You may think I’m sending you on some type of daytime snipe hunt. I assure you I am not. This is not only a legitimate technique, but it is widely considered THE traditional method for bagging fall birds.

The purpose of this mad dash is to break up the fall flocks, and the key is getting a good break. You want to scatter the birds in as many directions as possible. Otherwise, they may congregate at some distant location.

Get it right and they’ll want to regroup right where you are.

So far it sounds like fun, but the best is yet to come.

Take a seat against the bole of a tree, much as you would on a spring hunt. Then take out your calls and make as much noise as you can. Calling is an important part of spring turkey hunting, but you have to be so careful and conservative or you’ll blow the hunt.

In the fall you can let it all hang out. And the instruction book is fairly simple. Imitate what you hear.

Soon the brood hen and her poults will attempt to locate one another by calling. It starts out soft, sparse and distant, but if you busted a big group, before long the woods are filled with a cacophony of calling, consisting of the coarse lost yelps of the brood hen, repeated over and over and over, and high-pitched kee-kees and kee-kee runs of the wayward poults trying to relocate their momma.

Try to outcall them. If you’re successful, before long you’ll have birds coming in from every direction, including some naive youngsters. If you miss, you may get another shot. And if you have multiple hunters, it’s even possible to bag multiple birds.

If it doesn’t work out, go find another flock and try again.

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