TURKEY FANNING - SAFE OR STUPID?
Native Americans have been using this type of hunting technique for hundreds of years. That being said, they were chasing turkeys with sharp sticks, not shotguns. In the meantime, the past several years has seen turkey fanning become a “thing” in the hunting world. In case you aren’t familiar with turkey fanning, it involves belly crawling with specialized decoy components to lure turkeys to your position instead of seeing them run away before a shot comes into range.
Is your favorite turkey spot becoming harder and harder to bring toms in upon? Have the turkey become call-shy and decoy-shy to you? Are you considering a new game plan to bag those rotten, experienced turkeys that all seem to be making a mockery of your hunting skills? Turkey fanning might make sense in theory, but a thorough exploration of the technique and the associated dangers is something that every desperate hunter should be thinking about.
While it may seem second nature to some hardcore hunters to get into the trenches with the animals they are stalking, the idea of crawling on your stomach with a fanned-out set of feathers to position yourself as the target of an angry, territorial tom might seem counter-productive to most. But some hunters are tagging out their limit with this controversial technique.
Turkey fanning can work. The great eyesight and territorial nature of a tom during the strut can certainly provoke it to run right into the barrel of your shotgun, bringing hunting success. One should consider the potential price of that success. Dressing up like a turkey and acting like a turkey where there could be other hunters can position you, as a human, in an unusually dangerous position.
We urge you to carefully consider the safety concerns around turkey fanning. As educators and promoters of safe hunting, it is our duty to prevent hunting casualties, and fanning can absolutely lead to hunting casualties.
Our stand? Never fan turkeys. Period. No matter how desperate you want that longbeard, you cannot predict or know who is hunting around you and could mistake you for a longbeard of their own. In the heat of the hunt, it may not feel like it—but your life is much more precious than that of a crazed, out-of-control turkey.
So work on your technique. Keep calling. Move slowly. Scout. HUNT! But most importantly, hunt safely!