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Old 01-10-2018, 10:14 AM
Nontypical Buck
Strut&Rut's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: SW Michigan
Posts: 1,905

Captain Belly -

Based on how you worded your question, I'm guessing that (1) you're ONLY calling in hens, (2) you're not calling in gobblers or having gobblers follow the hens, and (3) that this is in the Spring when you can only harvest bearded birds.

A few things come to mind:

1) As RR mentioned - you may just have too many hens in the area and they're coming to your call because they think the gobbler is already with you.
2) Hunting pressure. Too many hunters sounding like hens, which makes the birds wary.
3) Depending on the state you hunt, you're hunting during a 'lull' where the gobblers will 99% of the time just not come to a call. There are points in the Spring where a tom will NOT leave a hen they can see for a hen they can hear, no matter how 'hot' you sound - period. Oh, he'll gobble his brains out hoping that you'll join him, but most of the time and most days - in those mid-season lulls, the birds are content to just follow the actual live hen they can see...
4) High predator population and you're calling from 'thick' areas. Many times the pasture edge seems like a great set up, but if you're calling from inside the briar edge - that's really thick and can hide natural predators. Turkeys quickly learn to become call shy and avoid thick areas, especially on lands that hold large numbers of bobcat, coyote and lion.
5) You're simply calling too much, too loud, or your calling cadence is noticeably wrong. If you're not already practicing this - I think one word of advice that every successful hunter would agree with - once you call that hen into eyesight, just shut up completely. Let her do ALL the calling, and if there are any gobblers or jakes in the area, they should investigate.

I'm sure there are other scenarios, but from my experience hunting turkeys in multiple states in the NE, NW and Midwest - those typically are the 5 primary reasons you call in hens and don't see gobblers.

A few questions:
1) What is the bird density in your area?
2) When you travel the backroads, how many longbeards do you see in gobbler flocks in the early Spring, before they break up and start mating?

If you're seeing decent numbers of birds, and 5-6 longbeards in small flocks, then unfortunately the primary problem is most likely something that you're doing wrong (i.e., overcalling, hunting the wrong area, wrong time of day, etc.). On the other hand, if you're just not seeing mature birds, then you may be doing nothing wrong, there's just not many birds to hunt - in that case, the best thing to do might be to move and find different land.

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