Let’s talk turkey.
The spring turkey-hunting season begins in Indiana on April 22 and continues through May 10. After May 10, the next hunting season, and nearly all Indiana hunting seasons, take place in the fall, including deer, fox and raccoon. The fall turkey season begins in October.
If you’re aiming for spring turkey, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources has set a limit of one bearded or male turkey kill per hunter. Permissible hunting hours begin 30 minutes before sunrise and continue until sunset. Here’s what else to have in your sights.
1. Make it legal
Spring turkey-hunting licenses are $25. Indiana hunting and fishing licenses are available in Greenfield at Angler’s World (1429 E. Main St.), Gander Mountain (2175 Barrett Drive) and Walmart (1965 N. State St.); in McCordsville at Cap N Hook Sports (6383 W. Pendleton Pike); and in Knightstown at McDonald’s Bait and Tackle (15 W. Grant St.). Licenses can also be purchased online at in.gov/dnr.
2. Know where to go
There are no DNR public properties open to hunting in Hancock County. Some nearby or popular properties open to the public for hunting during legal seasons are listed below. Visit in.gov/dnr for a complete list of public hunting lands or for more information on rules and regulations.
*Hoosier National Forest, 812-275-5987
Monroe Lake, 812-837-9546
Yellowwood State Forest, 812-988-7945
Harrison-Crawford State Forest, 812-738-8232
Patoka Lake, 812-685-2464
Brookville Lake 765-647-2657
Wilbur Wright Federal Wildlife Area, 765-529-9581
Province Pond Wetland Conservation Area, 765-529-9581
Atterbury Federal Wildlife Area, 812-526-2051
*At 202,000 acres, Hoosier National Forest covers several south central Indiana counties.
3. A good cluck goes a long way
Experienced turkey hunters abide by a variety of turkey calls, either by hand/mouth or with the aid of a commercial turkey call. Here are just three varieties of calls, as described by the National Wild Turkey Foundation:
The cluck consists of one or more short, staccato notes. The plain cluck often includes two or three single-note clucks.
It’s generally used by one bird to get the attention of another and a good call to reassure an approaching gobbler that a hen is waiting for him.
This is a great call while trying to encourage a gobbler to come into range if he starts to hang up. It can also be used while birds are still on the roost to subtly let a gobbler know you are there.
Purring is a soft, rolling call turkeys make when content.
It is a low vocal communication designed to keep the turkeys in touch and often is made by feeding birds.
This is not a loud call but is good for reassuring turkeys as they get close to your position.
The putt is a single or several sharp notes.
The putt is generally associated as an alarm and usually means the bird has seen or heard something and is signaling danger.
This can be useful when you have a gobbler in range but can’t get him to raise his head or stop. However, before putting at a gobbler, it is best to have your shotgun ready and on target. Once you raise the alarm by putting, you will have little time to shoot, and the bird will take off at the slightest movement.
Sources: nwtf.com, in.gov/dnr