Turkey Hunting Whether it's spring or fall doesn't matter to this bunch. Great tips on calling, bustin flocks, using blinds and more.

calling

Old 04-29-2009, 06:38 AM
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Default calling

how do you choose to call???

what i mean is...what makes you go from soft sporadic calling, just enough to let the bird know theres a hen in the area, to agressive, loud, excited yelps and cutting and that sort of calling??

my buddy was hunting the other day and said he had 2 birds 150yds away..he was calling soft and not real hard...they would answer but werent real fired up or anything serious...but then another hunter moved in...he could hear the other hunter going nuts cutting and yelping hard and loud and excited...those birds bee lined to the other hunter and he killed one...


thats one part of turkey hunting i really dont "get" yet....ive always went with "less is better" and clucks and soft yelps and leave scratching is really about all i do. i just have trouble figuring out when getting excited and agressive will pay off..

any thoughts? tips? anything...im sure theres a time and place for each type of calling...i just never figured it out....


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Old 04-29-2009, 01:30 PM
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Default RE: calling

I like to match the gobblers intensity at first. If he refuses to come in after that I will typically start to get aggressive whether he likes it or not. Feel the bird out though, if he is into the hard stuff, I'll go hard, if not, then go easy.
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Old 04-29-2009, 01:38 PM
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Default RE: calling

Here is an excerpt from the hunting book I wrote, that might help.

It is however, just one of my ways, and one of many ways.

Spring Calling
When I hear the first sounds of the turkeys in the spring, just before daylight, I tree yelp softly to get their attention. If there are hens roosted nearby they may respond with their own tree yelps; toms often gobble. If you aren't fully awake yet the sound of an early morning gobble can really get your heart pumping. From here on it's a matter of experience and personal tactics. I try to imitate all the sounds that a tom is likely to hear from other turkeys. In the morning the tom expects to hear the sounds that a hen or flock makes on the roost; the tree yelp, pit and cluck. When the birds fly down they yelp or use the flying cackle. If the tom is close enough he expects to hear flapping wings too. I use all these sounds to convince the tom there is a hen or flock in the area, and to get him to come my way.

My first call is a tree yelp, and if I get a gobble I yelp a little louder. I may or may not get a response, but either way I have to make a decision to do something. I usually wait until I hear the turkeys moving, then I use the flying cackle and the Flapp 'n Tom or Wing Thing flapper to simulate the sound of a hen flying down. The combination of these sounds usually gets the attention of the tom and gets him fired up enough to gobble, and often to come in.

If the tom doesn't answer my calls, or is reluctant to come in, I make the sounds of birds feeding on the ground. I start out slow and easy with soft yelps, purrs, whines and clucks. I rustle the leaves with my hand, simulating scratching and feeding turkeys. If I get a response to my call I keep doing it, letting the tom set the tempo of the calling. When he gobbles, I wait awhile then gobble back. As long as he keeps answering and seems to be coming my way I keep it up. When it comes to calling my motto is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

More times than not the bird will "hang up" and not come in. Maybe he is with a hen, maybe he is detouring around some obstacle, maybe he is spooky or alerted, or maybe he just doesn't want to come in. This is when I try something different or get aggressive, this is when experience helps and the game begins. There is no set routine to get a reluctant tom to come to your calls. This is the time to experiment, fail, and learn.

When a tom hangs up I use a loud assembly yelp or lost yelp, trying to imitate a hen looking for other hens. These calls work well on most toms and jakes, because it means there are hens nearby. If they don't work I use a series of loud hen clucks, imitating a hen trying to get another bird to show itself. If that doesn't work I use the fast cluck or cutting, the sound of a bird telling the other bird that if they are going to get together the other bird will have to do the walking. This call is very effective on reluctant dominant toms; it does not work well on subdominant toms and jakes because it may scare them.

When I use the fast cutt I make sure the call is loud and insistent, telling the other bird "come on over here". If the tom still won't come in I use the deep cluck or yelp of a jake, along with the hens cluck, to get the tom to think there is a young male with "his" hen. This may cause the tom to come in to establish dominance, ready to fight the jake for the hen.

If these calls fail, I resort to the fighting purr of two birds. This call appeals to a turkey's curiosity, it wants to know which birds are fighting and why. Just like teenage boys fighting in the parking lot after school, they just have to go and watch. Turkeys watch to see if a dominant bird is defeated, leaving room for them to move up in the hierarchy and gain dominance. The fighting purr works especially well on dominant toms because they want to know which birds in "their" area are fighting, and why; the fight may be over a receptive hen and the tom wants to breed.


I hope that helps.

If you have questions - fire away --- I'll do my best to answer.


God bless and good hunting,

T.R.
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Old 04-29-2009, 07:47 PM
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Default RE: calling

On the other end of the spectrum, I called like crazy at a gobbler who gobble like crazy right back at me, but he would never come in.

So I gave him the silent treatment and 20 minutes later he gobbled about 100 yards closer, but out of site. I did a soft yelp and he spotted my decoy and came right in. Too bad my trigger man missed him clean, he ran off lookin' back at us with full functionality of his head and neck.
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:38 PM
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Default RE: calling

Many times people think that tom's gobbling is a good thing when it really isnt. Bottom line, if that bird is gobbling, then he isnt doing much moving. Sometimes it is good to get aggressive, but if you continually call aggressive and he continually answers, he is most likely staying in the same spot and he wants you to move toward him. If you're in that situation, switch it up and go with content purrs and clucks. If he still doesnt come, back up 50 yards and try again. If he thinks you are moving away, it just might be what he needs to start heading your way.
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Old 04-30-2009, 01:59 AM
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Default RE: calling

Mauser...Do you bass fish???

If so, this might make sense...Some days the dang fish want a plastic lizard or worm just crawled along the bottom, sometimes they will clobber a fast moving buzz bait...It's all about their attitude...

I have called toms in with just a couple of yelps and scratching in the leaves and I've had toms hang up at 80 yards no matter what I did...In this case, I usually back off and wait until another day or hunt more in the middle of the day or evening...

Turkeys are unpredictable, that's what makes it so special when we do finally connect...

I will say this, as I get older it seems that once that tom answeres me and he seems to be coming my way, I shut up...I think too much calling makes him suspicious...I can hear my neighbors cranking down on their box calls and it's almost comical...
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:31 AM
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Default RE: calling

Fingerz

You are dead on right

It might have been my next post on turkey behavior - but ya beat me to it... [:@]


Hawkeye,

Good post.



God bless,

T.R.
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Old 04-30-2009, 01:26 PM
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Default RE: calling

thanx alot guys! i appreciate all the info and more is definitely welcome! its a subject that isnt discussed much, but yet is critically important...

seems i am doing things alright...i employ all the tactics suggested...

my typical morning working a bird will be a soft tree yelp or 2...then a flydown cackle and wing flap when i start to hear birds on the ground..my favorite is to do it seconds before he flys down..hard to time, but when i get it right, i can tell. if i mess up and get in too close i wont call a peep till he is on the ground...i do not hunt with decoys. they have their place, but right now, its not in my vest! just me...i enjoy pounding them without the decoys...

after i "hit the ground" i do some soft yelps, clucks, purrs and leave scratching...just enough to let him know im there and milling around...theres times i think i dont call enough...or not agressive enough...but ive never seen hammering a call do much good...sure if you fire up a group of jakes or maybe 2yo's they might eat up that loud, aggressive, non-stop type calling...but ive seen it hang more birds up than come in...

if he hangs up i wait..i'll give him the silent treatment..if he continues to stay put gobbling, and i know he isnt litterally hung up on a fence or creek or something like that, i will either back up, or my favorites is flank him to a side or move in. most guys are afraid to do it. but ive had as much or more success with either moving to a different side, or moving in a bit as i have had backing off...i had a bird hang up and gobble his head off..nothing worked..got agressive and he gobbled harder..i shut up and he gobbled harder..so i moved in and flanked him to a side..moved more to the side than i closed distance, but i still closed some distance...he was going nuts at my footsteps and was actually on his way to me just on foot steps alone...i had to jump to a tree to setup quick..he was coming that hard..i setup and gave him a soft series of yelps and he went bonkers and was on my lap in a few seconds...

my "success" isnt pulling the trigger...its getting birds in. ive been at this 11 seasons now..only killed 4 spring birds..7 of those years i been solo...ive been 4 for 7 since then..4 for 6 if you dont count this season that i only got to hunt 2 days of...im not a "great expert" turkey hunter...but ive put atleast a couple birds into my gun each season...wether or not i shot was upto me...

patience came for me when i started hunting alone...and that started putting even more birds into my setup than when i hunted with dad...he was a run n gun type hunter and liked blind setups when nothing would locate but he never sat more than a half hour..hour tops...with him, we spook a ton of birds coming in silent or slowly making their way in...saturday we busted 2 lol...i still run n gun some..love the quick paced action that usually comes with it...but ive worked the same bird till 830 or 9am from the roost and killed them or had them into my setup too...i like that alot...thats "playing the game"...you mess up that setup and chances of seeing that bird arent very good...

i love huntin birds...its my favorite season...
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Old 05-01-2009, 07:56 AM
  #9  
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Default RE: calling

always remember we are trying to do the opposite of nature. in the real world the hens go to the toms. so when he is gobbling he isnt saying "here i come" he is saying "come here."
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:13 AM
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Default RE: calling


ORIGINAL: mohunter82

always remember we are trying to do the opposite of nature. in the real world the hens go to the toms. so when he is gobbling he isnt saying "here i come" he is saying "come here."
I can't argue with that statement.

But, often, toms will go to hens that are calling - especially if the tom is not with hens.


... I'm looking for a little axiom I came up with - while I was doing my turkey research ...

I know it is on this computer somewhere ...

Ah ... there it is:


T.R.'s Tips: Turkey Calling, The 1, 2, 3 Rule (this was published in the NRA's American Hunter magazine - a few years back.

1. If a tom gobbles 0 times per 1 minute, and it is at a strut, there is probably a hen present. You can: 1. sneak up on the bird, 2. figure out where the bird will go after it leaves and get there before it does, 3. wait until the hen leaves, hope the tom stays, and then try call it in.

2. If a tom gobbles 1 time per 1 minute, and it's before sunrise, it is probably on the roost. You should set up: 1. at a nearby strut the tom uses, 2. between the tom and any nearby hens, 3. between the tom and the nearest strut.

3. If a tom gobbles 1 time per 2-3 minutes, and it is before sunrise, the tom is probably on the ground and moving. There are several things you can do: 1. if the tom is moving toward you call just enough to keep it coming. 2. if the tom is moving away from you try to get it to change it's mind, but you have to realize it is probably headed toward a hen, a group of hens or a strut; 3. figure out where the tom is going and get there before it does.

4. If a tom gobbles 2-3 times per 1 minute, and it is at a strut, there is probably no hen present. You can: 1. try to get it to leave the strut, which it is probably reluctant to do, 2. try to sneak up on it, 3. figure out where it will go after it leaves and get there before it does, 4. wait until another day and get to the same area before the tom does.

I cannot say that this formula is applicable in all areas, or with all subspecies of turkeys. But, if you watch and listen to the birds in your area you should see some pattern that will help you determine where and what the toms are doing.

God belss,

T.R.



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