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Turkey Hunting in the West with Wayne Carlton

:Some of Wayne Carlton’s 10-Most-Frequently-Asked Turkey-Hunting Seminar Questions

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: What many people don’t know about Wayne Carlton of Montrose, Colorado, is that for most of his life outdoorsmen knew him more for his turkey calling and hunting skills rather than hunting elk. Before Carlton moved to the West and started working for Hunters’ Specialties, he had his own line of calls and was known across the East as a very-good turkey hunter and turkey caller. For more than 20 years, Carlton also taught a turkey-hunting school at Vermejo Park Ranch, a 600,000-acre ranch owned by Ted Turner, just west of Raton, New Mexico. Wayne frequently does turkey hunting seminars in the West and still loves to call, hunt and teach turkey hunting.

Before I tell you about some of my most-frequently-asked questions and the answers to them, remember that I teach most of my seminars in the West. In many sections of the West, we’ve only been using shotguns and turkey calls for turkeys wClick to enlargeithin the last 20 years. Up until that time, hunters took turkeys with the same rifles they used for hunting deer and elk. Therefore, many of my most-frequently-asked seminar questions may seem a bit basic, but you have to remember that many western hunters haven’t had daddies, granddaddies or great-granddaddies that always have hunted turkeys or have taught them to hunt turkeys like some turkey hunters in the East have had. I hunt and teach hunters to hunt primarily Merriam’s turkeys, Rio Grande turkeys and eastern turkeys in the western states that have them.

1) What call should I use to call in a turkey?
Carlton: I usually ask the person who’s asking the question what time of day he’s planning to hunt. Early in the morning I use shock calls to make the turkeys gobble like crow calls, owl calls or the coyote bark. To call the birds in, I use a tree call, a fly-down cackle and a yelp. In the middle of the day, I’ll use the crow call and the coyote bark to locate the turkeys and a loud, loud, aggressive box call.

2) How close do I need to setup to call turkeys?
Carlton: In many parts of the West that have plenty of vegetation, especially in the mountains, you can get in as close as 60 to 70 yards before you start calling. But, if you’re huntingClick to enlarge on the sides of ridges or at the bottoms of canyons, the turkey may be able to see you a mile away. In most places, a turkey can see much further in the West than in the East, and a turkey will come to your call from much further in the West than eastern turkeys will. At some really-open areas in the West, you can set up about 500 yards from the turkeys to call. You can use the amount of cover or the lack of cover to set up to try and call a turkey, depending on the distance of the call.

3) How long do you stay put after a call, and when do you move?
Carlton: In the spring of the year, if you call to a turkey, and he doesn’t gobble back to you, that doesn’t mean he’s not coming. If I think there’s numbers of turkeys in the region where we’re calling, I’ll stay in that same area for 30 minutes before I get up and move. Just remember, if you’re hunting in wide-open country, and you start calling
1/2-mile away, that turkey knows where you are, and he’s coming to look for you. If you get up just because you haven’t heard him gobble, he’ll see you, and you’ll spook the turkey you’ve just called. Also, when you’re hunting in the West, especially in open country, I always carry a portable blind, so that I can use my hands with a box call, a slate call and a push-button call. I always use every type of cClick to enlargeall before leaving a site. The portable blind will keep the turkey from seeing you pick-up and put-down your calls, and then you’ll have a very good chance of taking him. Remember, even if you don’t call in the turkey you’ve initially been calling to, then more than likely, several different turkeys have heard you calling. Therefore, you may not even know about some turkeys that may respond. I believe that using a portable blind is much-more important to a western hunter than it is to an eastern hunter. I recommend that western hunters at least carry a half-blind to have some cover to keep the turkey from seeing them move when they’re calling.

4) Out of all the calls that every company makes, which one is the best one?
Carlton: I don’t believe there is a best one. I always have several diaphragm calls, a couple of box calls and at least one or two friction calls with me every time I go turkey hunting. My favorite calls are the Lil’ Strut Natural box call and the Ol’ Mama Hen box call. The diaphragm calls I use are the Alumistrut Cutt’n 2.5 and the Raspy Young Hen. For a friction call, I like the Black Widow Double Glass. On any given day, one call will be more effective for bringing in a gobbler than another call will, and you never know which call will work on what day to call in that tom. By having several calls with you whenever you hunt, you’ll have at least one call that makes the turkey call and walk.

Today's Video Clip



Will Primos answers: What's My Favorite Turkey Call?

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Tomorrow: More of Wayne Carlton’s Most-Frequently-Asked Turkey-Hunting Seminar Questions

Check back each day this week for more about "Turkey Hunting in the West with Wayne Carlton"

Day 1: The Western Middle-of-the-Day Gobbler with Wayne Carlton
Day 2: The Wet Oregon Gobbler with Wayne Carlton
Day 3: The Mariah Gobbler with Wayne Carlton
Day 4: Some of Wayne Carlton’s 10-Most-Frequently-Asked Turkey-Hunting Seminar Questions
Day 5: More of Wayne Carlton’s Most-Frequently-Asked Turkey-Hunting Seminar Questions


Entry 556, Day 4