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Myth of the Call-Shy Gobbler

April 20, 2011
Myth of the Call-Shy Gobbler - 0

What's wrong with your turkeys? As I mentioned previously, not a thing—they're just being turkeys and going about their turkey business. But to understand why they're not gobbling and why they're not racing to your every call, it pays to have a bit of an understand about the wild turkey and they're habits.

Take pecking order for instance. Every turkey has a role in the the social hierarchy of the flock. When a dominant hen hears a new voice (a hunter calling) she’s either curious or furious and it is the dominant hen’s business to find out where this new voice fits in the pecking order. So by calling to these dominant hens and playing to their natural instincts she can’t help but come to investigate--possibly bringing her boyfriend in tow. So what call do you use to get this hen interested?

"Listen to the turkeys," my grandfather once told me. "They will tell you want they want."

I never stopped listening to the turkeys and still follow this simple, but sage advice. Whatever the turkeys are doing, imitate it, but with more intensity and emotion.

Learning how to call from the experts–the wild turkey—there is no better teacher than the experience gained by interacting with the wild turkey.

Stack the Odds

Here's one final note worth mentioning as you get ready to hit the woods. Make a concerted effort to roost your birds.

I love to roost birds with hen yelps rather than an owl hooter or crow call, and I have done this for thirty some years. I like to get him a little worked up before he goes to sleep. I want to be the last thing he hears at night and the first thing he hears in the morning. Find out where he is pitching up from, where he is roosting, not only the tree, but the limb he is sitting on. Locate the spot he pitched up from and be set up on that spot next morning. Chances are he will pitch down to that same spot if he thinks the girls are there waiting for him.

So what’s wrong with the turkeys? The same thing hunters have known for decades. They are the most frustrating bird there is to hunt on the planet and that is one of the main reasons we love to hunt them.

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