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March 16, 2009
Listen Up - 12

You've all been there. You cluck and yelp. The bird gobbles back. You think he's coming but he doesn't show. At least you don't think so. After 45 minutes you stand up to stretch. Amazingly the strutter flushes right behind your setup, and sails away like a Stealth Bomber. Busted. Not him, but you.

How can you rewind this frustrating scene and do better the next time? Here's how:

Had you listened for close-range drumming, the pfft-dumm sound a gobbler makes when he struts, you might have killed that turkey. Like the gobble, this sound attracts hens. 

Clucking, the pock sound when a turkey is close, asks: "Where are you?" If a gobbler goes silent, listen for that call too near your setup. 

Hunting gobblers that aren't gobbling adds to the degree of difficulty, for sure. Woodsmanship, a sense of the terrain you're hunting, and how turkeys might move in it, can also put a turkey in your vest.. Check out fields, old cuts, and power lines to make visual confirmation of silent strutters, especially near roosts or food sources.

Footsteps near your setup might materialize into a bird. First think that another hunter might be moving through the woods, simply for safety's sake, but be on the alert for turkeys approaching your position too.

Listen to crows concentrating in one area. They may be harassing turkeys. Squirrels barking might indicate a gobbler's approach. I've found turkeys under both conditions, and have killed several on different hunts when squirrels chattered as gobblers came silently to my setups.

All the turkey sounds are important, not just the gobble. Problem is we rely heavily on the primary vocalization of male birds in spring. It's important to key on hen calling. A strutter might be right behind her.

Kill him.

Comments (12)

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from bullridingbamaboy wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

Steve,
GOOD LUCK MAN!!! Just itching to get this season started,have my game plan ready,probably change it 50 times before Saturday.Ready to harass some thunder chickens.Going scouting.
Later,
BRBB

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Hickoff wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

Hey guys,

Off to Florida . . .

Stay tuned for a full report.

P.S. Good luck BRBB. I know you'll be out there too m.man. C-ya.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tony Williams wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

Heard my first gobble of the season on Monday. My "honey-hole" has yet another gobbler on the ridge!! He gobbled on his own a few times and then a dozen more to some crows going by. Can't wait to get on him when season starts.

Back to the article, I agree you need to absolutely be aware of what's going on around you once the gobbling stops. I've spooked so many that way over the past 28 years of turkey hunting, I can't count that high.

But I've also been walking through the woods silently and heard drumming of birds just over a rise. Happened when hunting with Strebbie on some public land two years ago. Couldn't get him to come our way as he was with a number of hens, but it was cool "locating" him by his drumming.

Tony

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from bullridingbamaboy wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

Didn't hear the first gobble this morning,but eased in on one strutten,about 9:30 this morning,on another piece of property,watched him for a few minutes,then eased out.Then about 1:30 this afternoon,glassed five hens and two toms on another place we have to hunt.Then this evening while checking on the cows,glassed about 10 or more birds walking around in the rain,nothing strutting,hard to tell if any toms where in that bunch.Things starting to look up around here.
Later,
BRBB

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from GerryBethge wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

Hey Dirty---YOU, my friend, are totally awesome.....have no idea how you can resist. Frankly, I'm in Ray's court when it comes to pre-season calling, but completely understand your perspective as well. Have yet to hear my first gobble of the season---I'm dying.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dirty wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

Truth Gerry- We had this conversation last year. Ray Eye was open to pre-season calling, I am not. I did'nt even hoot this morning, they hammered on their on. I'm goin nuckin futts!
Dirty

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from calyncokeboy wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

The silent treatment reminds me of a hunt with my brother in the Ozark National Forest about 4 years ago now. We had hunted this particular area hard all season and had been on a few birds there but nothing had panned out.
We were down to the last day of the season and a longbeard was booming at us from the roost. He fired off gobbles at everything until about 8 o'clock but just wouldnt commit. After an hour or so of calling and no answer my brother got up to leave and I told him to hit the crow call one more time. The big boy fired off directly behind us where he had silently circled. I decided to get real aggressive with hard cuts and loud yelps and it was more than the poor guy could take. I had never turned around the tree but just before my brother cut him down he was so close I felt his last gobble rumble in my chest so hard it nearly took my breath away. You know he is close when you hear a tom suck wind before he gobbles.....

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from OhioHunter wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Nice article!
I rely heavily on my hearing when out hunting. I can't seem to pick up movement all that fast, but let me listen for a few seconds and I'll try and pin-point what I hear moving around. Still amazing how little noise a 20 something pound bird can make when they do decide to come in.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Hickoff wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Hey guys . . .

Thanks BRBB. Man, that had to be a sweet hunt. Nice. Yep this snowbound turkey hunter is heading into spring . . .

Keep us all posted here on the SZ.

Thanks again,
Steve

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from bullridingbamaboy wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Steve,
Good article as usual.In my early years of Tom chasin,I'd be lucky to sit and wait for 20 minutes,but now with age and experience,plus the invention of the gobbler lounge and added cushions in vests,it makes life alot easier.I remember one bird I was working that went completely silent,then after approxitmately 40 minutes just blew up about 10 yards behind me,spitting,druming and gobbling and for the next 5 minutes I heard not seen the best show ever.Then big boy walked write into my gun sights at 12 steps out and the rest is history.But I do remember a little bit before big boy put on his show,the crows where about 20 yards behind me and just wouldn't shut up.GOOD LUCK this upcoming weekend down here in Florida.
Later,
BRBB

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from GerryBethge wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Okay, truth Mr. Dirty----how many did you call too? Just couldn't resist could you?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dirty wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

The ground shook at daybreak today, the thunder chicken is on the prowl...........
Dirty

+2 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

from GerryBethge wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Okay, truth Mr. Dirty----how many did you call too? Just couldn't resist could you?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Hickoff wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Hey guys . . .

Thanks BRBB. Man, that had to be a sweet hunt. Nice. Yep this snowbound turkey hunter is heading into spring . . .

Keep us all posted here on the SZ.

Thanks again,
Steve

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from calyncokeboy wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

The silent treatment reminds me of a hunt with my brother in the Ozark National Forest about 4 years ago now. We had hunted this particular area hard all season and had been on a few birds there but nothing had panned out.
We were down to the last day of the season and a longbeard was booming at us from the roost. He fired off gobbles at everything until about 8 o'clock but just wouldnt commit. After an hour or so of calling and no answer my brother got up to leave and I told him to hit the crow call one more time. The big boy fired off directly behind us where he had silently circled. I decided to get real aggressive with hard cuts and loud yelps and it was more than the poor guy could take. I had never turned around the tree but just before my brother cut him down he was so close I felt his last gobble rumble in my chest so hard it nearly took my breath away. You know he is close when you hear a tom suck wind before he gobbles.....

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tony Williams wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

Heard my first gobble of the season on Monday. My "honey-hole" has yet another gobbler on the ridge!! He gobbled on his own a few times and then a dozen more to some crows going by. Can't wait to get on him when season starts.

Back to the article, I agree you need to absolutely be aware of what's going on around you once the gobbling stops. I've spooked so many that way over the past 28 years of turkey hunting, I can't count that high.

But I've also been walking through the woods silently and heard drumming of birds just over a rise. Happened when hunting with Strebbie on some public land two years ago. Couldn't get him to come our way as he was with a number of hens, but it was cool "locating" him by his drumming.

Tony

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Hickoff wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

Hey guys,

Off to Florida . . .

Stay tuned for a full report.

P.S. Good luck BRBB. I know you'll be out there too m.man. C-ya.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dirty wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

The ground shook at daybreak today, the thunder chicken is on the prowl...........
Dirty

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from bullridingbamaboy wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Steve,
Good article as usual.In my early years of Tom chasin,I'd be lucky to sit and wait for 20 minutes,but now with age and experience,plus the invention of the gobbler lounge and added cushions in vests,it makes life alot easier.I remember one bird I was working that went completely silent,then after approxitmately 40 minutes just blew up about 10 yards behind me,spitting,druming and gobbling and for the next 5 minutes I heard not seen the best show ever.Then big boy walked write into my gun sights at 12 steps out and the rest is history.But I do remember a little bit before big boy put on his show,the crows where about 20 yards behind me and just wouldn't shut up.GOOD LUCK this upcoming weekend down here in Florida.
Later,
BRBB

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from OhioHunter wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

Nice article!
I rely heavily on my hearing when out hunting. I can't seem to pick up movement all that fast, but let me listen for a few seconds and I'll try and pin-point what I hear moving around. Still amazing how little noise a 20 something pound bird can make when they do decide to come in.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from GerryBethge wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

Hey Dirty---YOU, my friend, are totally awesome.....have no idea how you can resist. Frankly, I'm in Ray's court when it comes to pre-season calling, but completely understand your perspective as well. Have yet to hear my first gobble of the season---I'm dying.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from bullridingbamaboy wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

Didn't hear the first gobble this morning,but eased in on one strutten,about 9:30 this morning,on another piece of property,watched him for a few minutes,then eased out.Then about 1:30 this afternoon,glassed five hens and two toms on another place we have to hunt.Then this evening while checking on the cows,glassed about 10 or more birds walking around in the rain,nothing strutting,hard to tell if any toms where in that bunch.Things starting to look up around here.
Later,
BRBB

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dirty wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

Truth Gerry- We had this conversation last year. Ray Eye was open to pre-season calling, I am not. I did'nt even hoot this morning, they hammered on their on. I'm goin nuckin futts!
Dirty

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from bullridingbamaboy wrote 5 years 17 weeks ago

Steve,
GOOD LUCK MAN!!! Just itching to get this season started,have my game plan ready,probably change it 50 times before Saturday.Ready to harass some thunder chickens.Going scouting.
Later,
BRBB

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

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