Aggressive Turkey Hunting- 3 Tactics Traditionalists Hate

Try these 3 aggressive turkey hunting tactics to fill your tags this season.

Over the past decade there is no doubt that the popularity of turkey hunting has grown by leaps and bounds. With more wild turkeys available, thanks to the National Wild Turkey Federation and other state and federal programs, many of us have been introduced to this once very secluded game animal.

That being said, many of us come from very different hunting traditions. Whether it is the boom of suburban and urban hunters or the influx of aggressive Whitetail hunters, turkey hunting tactics are changing. These three aggressive turkey hunting tactics are sure to make any turkey traditionalist cringe.

The Turkey Retreat

This aggressive turkey hunting method involves moving away from a turkey while continuing calling. You can leave the turkey blinds and decoys at home.

The idea is that by leaving a shooter stationary and the caller moving away from the bird, the turkey will essential “hang up” on the caller rather than the shooter who has been left in range for a harvest. The psychology behind this method is that toms fear that their potential lovers are walking away, creating movement through sound and a deadly ambush in the wait.


Recently the idea of “fanning” has become very popular. Sure to make most traditionalist turkey hunters cringe, this method has been criticized for its safety concerns. The idea of crawling through a field with a turkey decoy held in front of you is debatably a dangerous prospect in high-pressured areas and is probably one of the most aggressive turkey hunting tactics known. But the interesting part of fanning is that it is actually a very old hunting technique more recently perfected by such products as the ‘Turkey Fan.’

From a turkey’s perspective, that daring tom walking through the field is looking for a fight. This method proves to be fatal again and again to field birds often deemed “impossible.” Fanning has become a personal favorite technique of mine in recent years and is so effective it almost seems like cheating.

Driving and Gunning

As if running and gunning hasn’t driven enough patient turkey blind hunters mad, this method has been magnified by our suburban hunting paradises. Do not let the term “gunning” fool you, either; many hunters are packing bows and crossbows as they drive around suburban areas, stopping and calling trying to locate a tom.

This method makes for covering a lot of ground and often renders such methods as roosting the night before an afterthought rather than a coveted ‘Step One’ in turkey hunting. For those of us with demanding jobs, this aggressive turkey hunting method is one we find ourselves doing often, and it proves to be very successful to those near large towns and areas of access.

Whatever your aggressive turkey hunting method may be, we all enjoy the extension of hunting into the spring. It is imperative to understand that safety is something to always consider when turkey hunting. As a tradition coupled with the reality of loaded shotguns and hunters in full camouflage, it is important to be responsible and attentive. Make sure you are up to date and understand state hunting laws as well. As I always say with deer hunting: learn, adapt, and discover.

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Founder/Creative Director of Northwoods Collective. A.J. DeRosa is an American filmmaker most notably for the award-winning Project Upland Series. His first mark in the hunting industry was as the critically acclaimed author of the cult classic The Urban Deer Complex and more recently The Urban Deer Complex 2.0. A.J. has expanded a larger mission into the successful R3 vision of millennial hunters through cutting edge research and successful application across the Northwoods Collective brands. Now a passionate bird hunter you can find A.J. following his first bird dog a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, Grim through the uplands with his wife Sabrina and oldest son Marty McFly.

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