Turkey hunting can make you a better whitetail hunter

Turkey hunting is so much fun, but at the end of the day, I am obsessed with whitetail hunting. Every year when I chase gobblers through the great forests of Pennsylvania, I explore new areas in search of whitetails. The two can go hand in hand if you like the run and gun style of turkey hunting that I’m used to. I remember my dad telling me when he was a kid that if you find an area with turkeys, there will be deer, but the opposite is not always the case. Turkeys require good food sources, but whitetails can live anywhere.

Find new Whitetail hotspots
If you’re a die-hard whitetail hunter, targeting the turkey gives you the perfect excuse to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. You should consider hunting turkeys in new areas where you have never hunted deer before. This allows you to look for the dollar sign while potentially bringing home some poultry for the freezer. Finding the time to cover all the postseason search ground on your list can be a challenge, so I look for those overflow spots I didn’t get a chance to visit after deer season was over.

In addition to finding new places within your home state, this is also the time to explore that place out of state where you wanted to hunt whitetails in the fall. Being from Pennsylvania, deer hunting in Ohio makes sense to me because of the relatively short trip and the quality of the deer. A weekend turkey hunt on public land will teach you a lot about deer hunting in the area. As you go from ridge to ridge, take your time and look for deer. If you go early enough in the season before everything turns green, you can still see scrapes, rubs, and beds looking fresh.

Focusing on the points of the ridges
In mountainous areas, the tips of ridges are excellent breeding places for deer and deer. Turkeys also like to hang out in these areas. They often perch on the lee side of the headland to stay out of the wind at night. Males tend to prefer lee ridges and points during the day to take advantage of winds and thermals.

Turkeys prefer open woods and fields over thick cover, such as whitetails. This means that you are likely to find turkeys in deer feeding areas. If you are not actively on a gobbler and find signs of deer around these feeding areas, look for nearby thick cover to scout for possible whitetail bed locations. Don’t forget to bookmark these points in your favorite GPS finder app to refer back to later.

When I turkey hunt in the hills, I work my way around the ridge tops and headlands instead of diving into the valleys. You can hear a turkey gobble much better from above, and whitetails love the top third of the beaks. You should find lots of dollar signs in these places.

honing your skills
Turkeys and whitetails are different critters, but you can learn things from turkey hunting that will improve your deer hunting skills. Turkeys have incredible eyesight and require you to be tactical with your movements. If you can consistently get into the turkey’s shooting range without being spooked, you’ll be much better off without scaring that turkey you’ve been looking for in November. Try bow hunting turkeys without a blind man on the ground if you want a challenge. Drawing over a turkey without alarming it and forcing it to take off is a remarkable skill.

Turkeys are obviously a much smaller target than deer. This requires precise arrow placement and a lot of target practice. Many hunters wait until the summer months to shoot their bow and prepare for deer season. If you are hunting turkeys with a bow, you should start shooting your bow well in advance to ensure that it is as deadly as possible. Since many 3D archery events haven’t started this time of year, I recommend purchasing a moving target with small aiming points, such as the Rinehart 18-1 or a 3D turkey target to be more accurate when shooting. It should feel easy when shooting your 3D deer target again.