21 Maine Spring Turkey Hunting Tips That Work

Maine Turkey Hunting Tips
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During my two decades of turkey hunting in Maine I’ve discovered a handful of Maine turkey hunting tips that work. I’ve learned most of these tips through trial and error.

These are my best Maine turkey hunting tips. I wish I had these tips when I started. If you follow these tips I have no doubt you’ll increase your spring turkey hunting success in Maine.

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Tip #1. Northern vs Southern Maine Turkey Hunting Tips

Turkeys can be found from southern Maine to the northern parts of Maine. Understanding the turkey densities in different parts of Maine is critical for designing the hunt you want.

Northern Maine Turkey Hunting

When I talk about northern Maine I am referring to the parts of Maine located north of the visible development on aerial imagery. In this region of Maine turkey numbers are much lower.

You will want to find pockets of turkeys that are residing closer to the limited development and farm country. These areas provide enough food for northern Maine turkeys.

Turkey hunting can be harder in the north because there are less birds, but if you can find pockets of birds in the north, you will likely have them all to yourself.

With minimal hunting pressure, these birds will decoy and come into calls better than southern Maine turkeys which get more hunting pressure, especially later in the season.

Southern Maine Turkey Hunting

Although hunting pressure is higher in southern Maine, there are still great opportunities for turkey hunters.

Southern Maine winters are much easier on turkeys and they find plenty of food. For this reason, there are a lot more turkeys in southern Maine. The trade-off is that there is also more hunting pressure.

The first week is usually really good as birds aren’t pressured much. After the first week you can expect birds to be more weary and finding those less pressured pockets of southern Maine will make for more enjoyable hunts after the first week.

Tip #2. Turkey Hunting Pressure in Maine

Compared to other states Maine has fairly low hunting pressure, however, that does not mean there aren’t areas of high turkey hunting pressure. Knowing the hunting pressure of certain areas of Maine is a big part of having a successful turkey hunt in Maine.

You can often get an idea of how heavily turkeys will be hunted by how easily visible they are from a road, and how busy the road is. Other hunters are taking notes too. Don’t discount these areas, but do your best to find turkeys away from high human traffic areas. It’s always best to find them in areas with very minimal to no traffic.

Competing for Turkeys

You don’t want to be competing with other people for the same turkeys if you can help it. In my opinion, it takes away from the fun of having a 1 on 1 battle with a group of turkeys. Other hunters can be discouraging because turkeys may go to them instead of you. Especially if they have more knowledge than you and are better at calling.

That said, don’t give up if a hunter shoots a turkey near you. Although turkeys may not be talking much after the shot, there could easily be other turkeys roaming around and may come into your decoys within an hour, you just never know. This is especially true during the first week of the season when they’re not wise to the hunting pressure yet.

Turkey Hunting Pressure & Calling

Additionally, knowing the hunting pressure will allow you to adjust how much calling you should do. If the turkeys you are hunting are not pressured at all, you can get away with a little more calling even if it is a little bit unnatural compared to real hens.

The effects of hunting pressure get worse as the season continues, this means turkeys will often stop gobbling altogether except for when they’re in their roosts. This means you should mimic this behavior when you’re calling. This will be more realistic to the turkeys.

Often that means the best tactic is to never call. It sounds counter-intuitive but pressured birds will often go to the hunter that does not call over with a hunter that is calling.

Tip #3. Travel To Less Pressured Areas of Maine

If the season progresses and you still don’t have your turkey, start scouting new areas. Specifically, areas that might be overlooked or that don’t have much hunting pressure. These can be great late-season honey holes. Sometimes you just have to give up on the turkeys you’ve been hunting to find easier turkeys to hunt.

You can head north, but there are plenty of opportunities to find overlooked honey holes in southern Maine.

Tip #4. Take The First Week Off From Work

If you’re serious about bagging a Maine turkey there is no better way than to spend most of your time hunting during the first week. Hunting pressure will be in full effect before long and you’ll want to take advantage of non-pressured birds for as long as possible.

I’ve found that after the first week, birds become smart to hunters and are harder to kill. If you spend most of your time hunting when turkeys are less call-shy and timid, you’ll have better luck. Plus it will be more fun because turkeys will be more apt to be gobbling their heads off.

Tip #5. Maine Turkey Hunting Gear

The Maine turkey hunting season starts around May 1st, and ends in the first week of June. In Maine, May mornings are cold especially early in the season. The afternoons get quite warm though, so you’ll want to have the right clothes and be prepared to shed layers.

I’ve written a more in-depth article for Best Turkey Hunting Gear For Beginners which you may find helpful. This article is applicable to Maine turkey hunting because it is the exact gear that I use when hunting turkeys in Maine.

Tip #6. Plan For Maine Insects/Bugs

Ticks and mosquitos can be a real problem when hunting turkeys in Maine. Ticks are at full-force in May. For this reason, I prefer to use a ground blind.

I also use Rynoskin to deal with ticks and mosquitos. It is a chemical-free baselayer that keeps ticks from getting to your skin and helps reduce the number of bites from mosquitos.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, you can check out my review. There is a certain way to use it to its full potential which I go over in that post.

Tip #7. Scouting for Turkeys in Maine

I can’t express how important scouting is for turkey hunting success in Maine, and frankly, it’s not that hard to do since turkey gobbles are easily heard and turkeys are quite visible. Especially in fields just before hunting season, before hunting pressure starts.

Scouting for turkeys is often an overlooked aspect of turkey hunting, you will be ahead of the game if you do.

Pre-Season Turkey Scouting in Maine

Pre-season scouting helps tremendously for early success. You’ll want to put a tag on a turkey as soon as possible because as the season progresses turkeys become warier and will be harder to see, call, hear, and find.

Scouting Maine Turkey Roosting Areas

To find roosts, it is best to drive around areas where turkeys are known to hang out and listen 30-min before daylight while they gobble before getting out of the trees.

This can also be done in the evening right at sunset but in my experience, it is not as effective because turkeys don’t gobble for as long so it can be hard to check multiple places in the same scouting session.

Another tip is to drive around early morning and about an hour/hour-half before sunset and find the turkeys that are making their way back to their roosts.

If you see turkeys in fields at these times you can be their roosts will not be far away. Mark these locations on your GPS and come back to find where exactly they are roosting.

Tip #8. Hunt Multiple Locations for Turkeys

My favorite tactic is to find a handful of roosts before the season starts so that you can hunt multiple areas during the first week of turkey hunting. Having multiple areas in your back pocket is very helpful.

Many times you’ll find out that one spot you were planning to hunt gets too much hunting pressure. These areas can be frustrating to hunt and makes hunting harder. By having different places to hunt you can stay in better hunting situations.

Tip #9. Hunt Turkeys Near Roosts

After you’ve located a few roosting areas, watch where these birds naturally want to travel in the mornings when they get down out of the roost. When you hunt, position yourself between the roosting turkeys and where they naturally want to go to intercept them.

Take advantage of their natural patterns. Turkeys will often use the same travel corridors when getting down out of their trees because they will likely be heading to the same morning food source each day.

Just make sure you don’t get too close to their roost because they may fly out of range when getting out of the trees in the morning. I like to be about 75 yards from the roost in the direction of travel.

Tip #10. Hunt Turkeys All Day In Maine

In Maine, you can hunt turkeys all day long. This wasn’t always the case though, quitting time was at noon which is common in other states. Now that you can hunt turkeys all day, this makes Maine fairly unique and a great place to turkey hunt.

Hunting all day is an excellent way to put the odds in your favor. You might think there are no turkeys are around or that they have moved on after the morning excitement, but if you’re in an area where turkeys frequent chances are you will see some action. 

Keep your eyes peeled, they can come into the decoys silent. Oftentimes though, once a gobbler gets within a 30-yard ‘bubble’ they can’t help themselves and will gobble, often startling the **** out of you. These situations really get the heart pumping as they are least expected but if you stick it out will happen more often than you think.

Tip #11. Bring Comfortable Gear

I started seeing more success turkey hunting success when I bought a camo pop-up blind and comfortable lawn chair. This enabled me to move around a lot and not be seen because the blind was enclosed. It also gave me the comfort of staying in the bling for hours longer than just sitting against a tree with a cushion.

It also helps keep you warmer and dryer on windy or rainy days, not to mention keep the ticks and mosquitos away which is worth every penny in my opinion. Bring a good book, or binge-listen to podcasts or audiobooks, whatever it takes to stay longer. If you’re patient in an area where turkeys frequent, you will eventually have success.

Blinds Are Effective Pieces Of Turkey Hunting Gear
Blinds Are Effective Pieces Of Turkey Hunting Gear

The pop-up blind I use is the Ameristep Care Taker Ground Blind which offers enough room for two hunters. It has adjustable shooting windows with removable mesh screening. It’s very easy to put up and to take down. It’s completely blacked out on the inside, so hunters stay out of sight. My favorite aspect of this blind is how easy it is to travel with because it comes in a carrying case similar to that of a lawn chair. Also, it’s very easy to set up because it pops up in sections similar to an umbrella. I’ve linked to it above if you’re interested.

All turkey hunters will appreciate a fully adjustable and swiveling blind chair. The legs of this chair adjust which allows for a perfectly leveled sit. This is key for maximum comfort. Additionally, the chair swivels 360º so that you can shoot out of any window of a blind easily at the approaching turkeys. A comfortable chair is key for success because when you’re comfortable you can last longer in the blind.

Tip #12. Be Patient

Patience is key to turkey hunting success. Morning in the turkey woods is often exciting, the turkeys are often gobbling and the anticipation of success is high. But if the gobblers don’t do what you were hoping then hope can die quickly.

But don’t give up, be patient. Birds are usually still nearby you just have to wait for them to make their rounds. A good time to be hunting is when they’re done with their breakfast and are looking to get a little frisky. The toms will be out looking for hens.

Don’t Lose Hope If They’re Not Gobbling

Morning in the Maine turkey woods is often exciting, but sometimes they just won’t gobble. Or they will stop gobbling altogether once they leave their roost. These birds may be over-hunted and are weary, or the weather may not be right for them to be gobbling.

You may think there isn’t a turkey for miles, but don’t lose hope. Just because you don’t hear them gobbling doesn’t mean they haven’t seen your decoys and are coming in. Give them time and your patience may be rewarded.

Tip #13. Turkey Hunting Weather in Maine

The Maine turkey hunting season starts around May 1st, and ends in the first week of June. In Maine, May mornings are cold especially early in the season. The afternoons get quite warm though, so you’ll want to have the right clothes and be prepared to shed layers.

Sunny Days are Best

Sunny days are the best days to be turkey hunting. Especially, if the few days prior were not good. This will often have birds out running around and gobbling their heads off.

Turkey Hunting in the Rain

Turkeys are on the move in the rain and you can have great luck on rainy days. However, you will likely not hear any gobbling and you should not call much yourself. Your best bet is to set a decoy out in a highly visible spot and just wait. Also, there is nothing more beautiful than a dry turkey, but a wet turkey is uglyr’n hell.

Turkey Hunting in the Wind

Turkeys are on the move on windy days too. Again, you will hear less gobbling and you should not call much yourself. Your best bet is to set a decoy out in a highly visible spot and just wait. your decoys will look more realistic with the wind adding some life to them.

Tip #14. Don’t Call Too Much

Beginners often call way too much because they love getting gobblers to call back to them, who doesn’t! I highly suggest resisting this urge, there is a fine line here, don’t overdo it.

When you call too much, it will start to seem unnatural and the gobbler may lose interest. Pay attention to how often and how loud real hen turkeys call and try to mimic that. You’ll notice they’re often not all that loud and that they don’t call very much.

Tip #15. Play Hard To Get

Once I have a gobbler fired up and talking back to me after every call I make. He will often stay out of range because he is trying to get the hen (my decoy) to come to him. To counter this, I will stop calling as often and pretend to lose interest.

Turkey Hunting Tips For Beginners - Play Hard to Get This Maine gobbler kept gobbling but would stay out of range. I had to play hard to get in order to get him in the decoys.

I do this by making the gobbler call 2-3 times before I respond with some light yelps. Often, toms will get frustrated that you’re losing interest and will often make their way to your decoys. Playing hard to get pays off big-time. This process can take hours so don’t overdo the calling.

Tip #16. Let The Gobbler Go

There are a couple of tips you can implement if you find yourself struggling to pull a gobbler in that sounds fired up and interested. First, you should implement “Don’t Overcall” then “Play Hard To Get”. The next step is to just let them go. If a gobbler just won’t come in don’t try to force it by calling more. This will just make things worse and he will figure out that your decoys aren’t the real deal.

Very often, especially for mature birds, just let them go. Toms get mad when they can’t convince you to come to them. They will keep you in the back of their minds while they go about their business. Often, after they’ve had some breakfast they will come back to see if you’re still around. They often come in silent, but they will be more apt to come right in because they are impatient and tired of waiting. Be ready!

Tip #17. Blind Call Sparingly

Blind calling is when you call even when you don’t think there are any turkeys around. This can be an effective tactic because it can bring birds in that are in earshot. If you’ve been calling at a fairly normal volume, it is not a bad idea to throw in an unnaturally loud call to see if you get a shock gobble once in a rare while.

However, I’ve had the best luck calling at a natural volume even if I feel like turkeys are not around. I will give a short calling sequence every 20 minutes just in case something has moved into earshot. You’d be surprised how many turkeys are actually around, but just aren’t calling back.

Tip #18. Turkey Decoy Placement

Different decoy combinations are used in different situations to get the gobblers to do what you want. Turkeys are territorial and lustful, you can use decoys to play on these weaknesses. Try to visualize and anticipate how and in what direction gobblers will approach decoys. 

Toms will often hang back from hen decoys 15-20 yards as they get a read on the situation. But they will have no problem approaching another tom or jake decoy. I often place my hens off to the side of my blind and the male decoys close to where I want to shoot but only about 10 yards away. This makes the gobblers cross in front of me so I often create shots 20 yards and under.

Tip #19. Maine Turkey Decoy Setups

1 Hen

Unless you plan to be highly mobile (running and gunning), you’ll almost always want at least one decoy with you. Even then, I will often still bring one decoy. This should always be a hen decoy because when you call you’re mimicking a hen. So to not have a hen decoy in your decoy setups will look unrealistic to turkeys. Also, gobblers are looking for hens at this time of year, so there is almost no reason for not having a hen decoy.

I like this setup when hunting pressure is high, I feel like a single decoy seems more legit to real turkeys because other hunters are often using more than one decoy.

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1 Tom + 1 Hen

A hen is used as an attractor for toms and jakes. They can be used alone or with other male decoys. When placed with male decoys, a jealously and territorial trigger button will be pushed within male birds making them want to come into the decoys.

A tom turkey in strut when placed next to a hen decoy is used to get another dominant tom fired up and aggressive so that he will want to attack the decoy, thus bringing the bird into shooting range. Jakes will often be scared of a tom decoy so keep that in mind. Less aggressive toms may also shy away. For this reason, I rarely use this setup.

1 Jake + 1 Hen

A jake turkey decoy that is semi-puffed up or even better – in full-strut – with hen decoys will make a tom want to put the jake in its place by letting him know who’s boss. This will make the tom angry want to come in and take the jake out of the picture so he can have the hen (your decoy) to himself. Additionally, other jakes will feel comfortable coming to join. This jake decoy can bring in any age male turkey. I use this setup a lot.

Turkey Hunting Tips for Beginners - A jake turkey with a hen decoy will make toms angry
A semi-puffed jake decoy with a hen decoy will make toms angry and is a decoy layout I use when turkey hunting in Maine.

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2 Hens

Two hen decoys are good for larger groups of gobblers because a bigger group of male turkeys will feel more comfortable coming to a party of two. Two hen decoys are very non-threatening so you can attract any male turkey. However, although not threatening, a single male turkey may be intimidated and feel outnumbered, especially jake.

Tip #20. Practice Your Turkey Calling

Calling is an important part of turkey hunting. Especially when it is more effective at the beginning of the hunting season when turkeys are not as badly pressured by hunters. I suggest listening to real hens calling on YouTube, taking mental notes, and practicing your turkey calling my mimic these turkeys. I like slate calls myself. Just remember that knowing when not to call is just, if not more important, than knowing how to call well.

Tip #21. Be Mobile

Although there is a lot to be said for being patient. Sometimes you’ve just gotta take the game to the turkeys. A good strategy is by walking around and calling periodically until you hear a gobble, then try to get close to the gobbler and set up a single decoy and try to call him in.

A gobbler will often want you to go to him which is a tricky situation, sometimes it pays off by walking in the opposite direction and calling or calling quieter. This will make you sound further away and will make the tom angry and will start coming to you.

Final Thoughts On Maine Turkey Hunting Tips

These are the best Maine turkey hunting tips that I’ve learned through years of trial and error. I hope you’ve found some value in these tips. I have no doubt you’ll increase your Maine turkey hunting success significantly by following these tips.

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Article Written By: Jason Tome

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