You have been on the lake for a couple hours and you have not had a single bite. As you dig through your tackle box figuring what to throw next, you toss some random lure at them and BAM! You got a bite. Next cast the same thing.... Turkey hunting can be much of the same. There are a ton of calls that will work to locate and call turkeys in but sometimes you need to test them to see what “they” like.
There is something about a sweet-sounding box call that demands a tom to give you an answer. There are two situations that almost always have me reaching for a box call.
Dang it man! The turkey season opener is long gone. “Birds are shot up, and they have all been educated.” Might as well go mow the lawn and paint the fence instead of taking in after an old gobbler this weekend…… Wrong. DEAD WRONG. Late season can be deadly.
Bugling for gobbles, WHAT? Several years ago, while chasing bugling bulls in some of Idaho’s front country I was moving toward a distant bull elk in the grey light of early morn, and I found myself standing under a turkey roost tree. Though it was September, every time I would bugle the tom roosted above me would crack off. It was so loud I had to put some distance in between that rank old bird and myself just so I could hear the bull! Bugling for birds might be a stretch but picking the right locator calls will definitely keep you into gobblers.
Let’s face it. We don’t find amorous toms cutting loose a hundred yards from the truck EVERY TIME. Wind, barnyard noise, vehicle traffic, etc. can really decrease the way we hear responses to our calls. Whether the calls aren’t permeating far enough into the dense forest or background noise is overshadowing it, knowing how to maximize your locator calls is paramount.
I often get the question- "How often do you use an external cow call"?
I use elk calls from the archery elk season opener, to the last day of rifle season. To me, elk hunting is elk calling. I use diaphragm elk calls throughout the year 90% of the time. The other 10%, I'm blowing an external reed cow call. You may ask; why? Here's my take.....
There are so many sounds that turkeys make, and all of them are necessary to learn if you plan to enter a calling contest, especially a cluck and purr.
Phelps Game Calls has some fantastic new Pot and Peg calls that make these sounds effortlessly. With a little practice, even a beginner can produce masterful clucks and purrs with our new sweet sounding calls. With practice this can also be perfected with a diaphragm/mouth call.
Turkey hunters often talk about "roosting a bird". This is done by going out in the evening to listen for turkeys flying up to roost, and the Toms (male turkeys) will gobble (vocalize) as darkness sets in. By witnessing this it will confirm where to go in the morning to set up in hopes of catching the birds flying down.
Setting up and enticing the Tom towards you with "soft calls", and "tree calls", or maybe just quietly setting up in the right zone to catch the turkeys unaware on the ground as they start their day, are typical scenarios.
Who is hunting pressured birds? It's not unusual when hunting pressured birds to have one come in and stay just out of range and out of sight, but gobble his head off.
Here's how we deal with those stubborn toms...