It’s halftime in the turkey season for a lot of hunters, and the period when some hunters start seeing turkeys using their walnut-sized brain for some stunning avoidance strategies. And if it's not happening to you yet, it surely will at some point.
Are the turkeys in your hunting location clamping their beaks shut, walking the other way or simply gobbling back, but wearing cement shoes? It’s time to toss the garter and see where it lands. Put your turkey-hunting book on the shelf and try a new angle.
Shut up. It’s that simple. If you keep calling to a gobbler and it answers, but doesn’t budge, it wants you to come to him. Be quiet and sit patiently. Let curiosity kill the turkey. I once had a pair of gobblers going hoarse as they gobbled at my calls, but they wouldn’t commit. I shut up and 15 minutes later the duo walked silently into range of my T/C. Game over.
Walk away. Like going silent, you can also spark movement by continuing to call, but moving in the opposite direction or even circling around the gobbler. Stay in thick cover and make a move. I pulled this trick on an open-country gobbler and, when I dropped down into a deep draw, he almost ran me over trying to catch up. Unfortunately for him, all he caught was a beak full of 5s.
Come back later. Mornings are tough and not because you didn’t have two pots of coffee. Gobblers hit the ground with a posse of girls, so they really don’t need to come to your calls. Midmorning and even early afternoon (if legal) are great times to fire up a gobbler that has lost hens to nesting chores. My wife and I left work at 5 p.m. one spring and by 6 p.m. were turkey hunting. A gobbler returned my H.S. box call yelps and we set up on the spot. Ten minutes later a strutting gobbler with a hen walked within 20 yards of her shotgun. Boom. End of story.
Go get them. Sometimes you have to take the love to the turkey. If you have thick cover, move toward the gobbler and then set up before you blow the stalk. In open country you may have to crawl closer to cut the distance. Last week my daughter and I couldn’t get three mature toms to leave a wooded bottom. We crawled closer in an open pasture and one spotted me. I immediately raised our decoy and the gobbler nearly strutted on top of us trying to get a date. Yes, she sent him to the oven with a 9-yard shot. I’ll post that exciting video next week.
Have you tried any oddball or unusual tactics for tough turkeys?
Post your comments and share them with other frustrated members.