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How to run and gun?
So, i realized that I really don't know how to "run and gun".
How do you do it?
I'm sure there's more than one way to do it. I think it is just a catchy phrase for an aggressive, mobile way to hunt. I only wear a belt with a couple pockets and a pad. I rarely put out decoys. I like to be able to set up quickly, see how the bird responds, and adjust quickly if I think it will help my chances. Rather than parking in a good place and trying to bring birds to me or wait for them to wander by, I cover a lot of ground looking for that responsive bird.
I walk the ridge lines and call every hundred yards or so with a crow call or goose call. When/If I get a gobble I move in as close as I can, use a natural set-up, and begin my calling sequence. Pretty simple but it works. The important thing I think is to get that first gobble with something other than a turkey call. That allows you to manage the set-up before you start calling the tom to you. If you get a response from a yelp and move in on him and then call again then he thinks you are coming to him and is much more likely to hang up.
Not very efficiently with a bow and blind. For me to feel comfortable running and gunning with a bow, I need a lot of timber. Moving and showing yourself to turkeys in open terrain has proven detrimental to me over the years so I stay put when bowhunting. When I gun hunted I could kill out before I spooked everything while running and gunning. :)
When I gun hunted I moved along yelping similar to the way you would cow call or bugle blindly for bulls. When I got an answer, I got as close as terrain allowed and then called. I would do this enough times in a few days to kill 2 toms and be done. With a bow, it takes too long for me to setup quickly so I need to be more particular if I were to hunt this way. I would probably try to shock gobble turkeys with a crow call or something similar and only use turkey calls after having my dekes and blind in place.
I "Go & Bow". Heck with the gun stuff :o)
Either natural setup or lightweight swatch of leafy fabric draped between branches, etc. to enhance a natural setup. I move when and where I feel I need to.
I do similar to Bowfreak, but can get set up in just a matter of minutes. If for some reason I get a really close response, I may have to actually back off a tad to set up before calling.
But usually if I get a response ~100-yards I can be set up before the Tom comes a lookin'
Much like elk, I NEVER call unless I have a good setup right at hand and NEVER call if I'm in the wide open and can get busted by a close response.
That was my hard lesson learned last year ...
Never call unless your ready for him to answer!!
Run and gun or run and bow or go and bow is the epitome of hunting without limiting yourself to a certain strategy.
Locate birds with whatever method you prefer or whatever works at the time. Get as close to the bird(s) as you dare, trying not to spook it/them of course.
Then, set up for the final calling sequence utilizing whatever the local topography provides you for cover. This can even be as simple as kneeling down on the back side of a ridge as a bird crests over the top for a shot in timbered areas.
There are lots of variables of course. Throwing dekes into the mix often complicates things, but some guys are married to their dekes. Bowhunting with this method and no dekes is certainly not a walk in the park.
You've heard of "eagle=eyes" well turkeys have similar vision! I often hunt relatively open country and have spooked birds that spotting me stalking more than a 3/4 mile away! Use terrain and don't sky-line yourself similar to how you spot and stalk Western big game. The nice thing about turkeys is you don't need to worry about wind direction!
One consideration in regard to run and bow/gun is if you only have a limited number of acres to hunt you can possibly spook them completely off the property. From what I've observed with turkeys...they tend to move/migrate to areas with little hunting pressure. If your neighbor doesn't hunt and you push birds onto the adjoining property they may not return?
It's what makes spring turkey season so great. God Bless men
I am relatively new at this, but I'd rather run and gun than sit.
My issue is figuring out how far away they are, but that's getting easier as I blow setups :-)
Bob H don't forget as the foliage comes out during the spring, a turkey will sound like he is way farther away than he actually is. A big difference from opening day to the last day
What Frazen said but if I have a bow in hand I have a decoy. I need something to distract that bird when he gets close.
I hunt public land, but what I like about is the amount of acreage I have access to and it runs through a river valley so there are many fields, pastured woods, dense woods with ravines and draws.
To me, run and gun is a pretty broad term, but not staying put in a blind. But there are times I pick out a predetermined spot not near roosted birds, but where I expect them to show up. I don't have a problem sitting in one spot for a couple, few or several hours. I may also move a short distance, or I may pack it in and drive or walk to a new spot.
Sometimes I hear a Tom quite some distance away and if he's one of those birds gobbling on and off for a long period of time, I'll head over there and if he's not gobbling anymore I will scout the area, find a good spot, clear brush and make sure there's good back cover. If there aren't any good size trees I may pick a spot for a blind.
I try to avoid calling. I always hunt the mid and late seasons, so toms tend to be with hens, they lead the boys away, some have their strut zones and don't budge or they've heard plenty of calling. I have called birds in, but I've learned how to hunt without relying on them.
Also, if you leave the comfort of your blind to reposition your setup, you've run and gunned.
I can't edit my post from my phone. I meant to add that when I locate where a Tom hangs out and go over there, I may stay there and see if starts up again or shows up, otherwise I keep that spot in mind and may return a day or so later. So while I'm hunting I make note of where multiple toms are, especially the ones that start gobbling from strut zones later in the morning. I've noticed toms don't always roost in the same area night after night. This may be because I hunt the later part of spring, so some evenings they may be with hens or not because some of them may be on or near their nests, but the stut zones they go to when the hens leave them are more predictable. I really enjoy patterning the mature toms and playing chess with them even if I don't call them in.
Mostly how I like to hunt. Run ridges calling every 100 yards or so until I get an answer. Tough to do with decoys as often that answer comes from under 100 yards away and you have to duck for cover! It's better to shock call with a crow or coyote howl but sometimes I've found they won't shock gobble. The down side to this style of calling is you have to be okay with missing the birds that would've come in silently.