Back in April of 1984, I was a bona fide turkey-calling bad ass–or so I thought. Thanks to the National Wild Turkey Federation’s trap-and-transplant program, we finally had enough wild turkeys to hunt in southern New England. I had practiced calling for hours and hours with a simple peg and slate in anticipation of our first season, and on my first day of scouting managed to call in four adult gobblers. It was simple. It was a piece of cake. I yelped, they gobbled and came right in–four times. There were birds in every place I stopped and they all came as if on a rope. I was a turkey-calling God!
Imagine my trauma when I compared notes with outdoor writer and turkey hunting veteran Mike Pearce shortly after my heady scouting trip.
“Hell, my kid can call a turkey in three weeks before the season opens,” Pearce said. “They’ll pretty much gobble at everything and anything that even remotely sounds like a hen. And they’ll also come right in–it’s that easy. You didn’t spook them afterward did you? Calling birds in before the season can mess up your season.”
I’ve never forgotten our phone conversation. I came to learn that Mike was absolutely correct about the ease of calling in preseason gobblers. However, what I’m not certain about is if calling in gobblers before the season can impact your ability to call in those same birds once the game is on. In other words, can it make them call shy?
Frankly, I’m not a big believer in the call-shy turkey theory. If gobblers won’t come to a call one day, it doesn’t mean that he’s call shy. More likely is that he sees or hears a hen somewhere in the vicinity that you don’t. Whether you see or hear her or not, that tom is headed toward the sure thing and isn’t interested in a blind date somewhere off in the distance.
Bottom line? Calling in gobblers prior to opening day provides you with calling confidence in spades. Have at it and have fun. After all, isn’t that why we’re doing all this in the first place?
What do you guys think? Do you call in preseason gobblers?