By Jen Hirst

Rhode Island

I’ve developed my own turkey hunting philosophy of the Six Ps.  When you are positive, persevere, participate, prepare, and properly place you are increasing your probability of plating your turkey.

The turkey that ran out into a driveway that would gobble to box calls.

Being positive is essential.  It is easy to become disappointed when you leave the field empty handed.  You are not Elmer Fudd.  Be patient. Set an attainable goal for your hunt such as observing other wildlife; learn a new area; or take pictures of farm animals you see on the side of the road.  You will transform disappointments into achievements.  Remember, you are building skills and experiences each time.

Perseverance is necessary.  You may feel pressure as the season close approaches.  I realized that the only person that was putting pressure on me was me.  Do not give up.  

Participation in skills building and networking opportunities is a wonderful way to improve your knowledge while keeping motivation high.  There is always room for more knowledge.  Many online resources are useful. Groups like Artemis creates fellowship which in turns helps keep you positive and persevere.  

Preparedness is fundamental.  Familiarize yourself with the regulations. Consider your physical fitness level, firearms, chokes, shot shells, and call types. Determine what you will do with a harvest.  Practice calls and scout locations in advance of the season. Know the terrain, weather, and habitat. Dress for the conditions.  Bring water, snacks, first aid supplies, and communications at a minimum. This year, I purchased canvas overalls and new boots. It has made a huge difference in how far I can travel through woods. The more comfortable you are, the more successful you will be.  Before, I would get snagged up in prickly woods making passing virtually impossible. This gives me added confidence.

Placement involves more than shot patterning. Are you at the right place and time? Where will decoys be placed? What is your position in relation to the target ? Do you have cover? Consider the proximity of structures.  Always know what is beyond your target.  The OnX app has helped with research.

Several years ago, I was on our property.  The turkeys came through our meadow.   I was underneath the only available cover, a large bush waiting for the turkeys to position themselves directly in front.     I heard this awfully loud noise surrounding me.  Trespassers on ATVs entered causing the turkeys to flee. When I set up on our other land, a six foot racer snake was in my spot sending me into poison ivy.  Last year,  my calls brought in two circling hawks over my head.  

All the different things you can see when scouting locations.

This year, I went out with a professional guide and came up empty handed. Even with a professional guide, success eluded. At that moment, I came up with the Six Ps to guide me.  Last week, as I was driving away, one ran in front of me.  He stopped in a  long driveway near a house.  I was able to get him to pose for a photo and he gobbled a few times when I struck the box caller. Keep focused on the hunt itself and not the harvest.

When you are positive, persevere, participate, prepared, and have placed yourself in the proper position, you are increasing your probability of success.   I will head out to the field tomorrow anticipating success. I’ve had a wonderful season of seeing Canadian Geese, Deer, Turkeys, Birds, Cinnamon Fern Fiddleheads, Fox, Squirrels, Rabbits, Heron, and Egrets.  I have not been disappointed with nature showing me all creatures great and small. Good luck Fall Season isn’t that far away. It’s not too soon to start preparing.