John's Journal...

Use Your Hands and Knees for Gobbling Turkeys

Day 2: Eddie Salter and David Hale Explain How to Move on Gobblers

Editor’s Note: Three secrets will help you to consistently take turkeys – location, location, location. Probably hunters bag 90 percent of their turkeys by sitting in places turkeys want to walk to anyway. And, calling to these birds may make the turkey decide to walk by that spot that day.

Click for Larger ViewEddie Salter of Evergreen, Alabama, a National Pro Staff Member of the Hunter’s Specialties Team, has won the World Turkey Calling Championship twice. Salter says, “If you’re going to crawl on your hands and knees for gobblers, make sure you know the property, and that no one else is hunting that property but you. Often when I've used everything I can think of to call a turkey to me, if I can move 10- or 15-yards away from where I've started calling, I can get in a better position to get-off a shot. Too, the gobbler may think his hen is leaving him, and he'll come to within gun range. I always make sure there's a bush or a tree between me and the bird. Click for Larger ViewThen the tom can't see me when I move. I like to have a terrain break between me and the gobbler, especially when I've got my belly to the ground. Even if I get wet, I'll move down a ditch or a creek bottom – whatever I must do – so that I'm below the turkey's line of sight. Terrain dictates how, when and where to move. Often crawling on hands and knees or on your stomach is the difference in having a turkey ride home in the back of your truck and not getting your bird."

David Hale, the co-founder of Knight & Hale Game Calls in Cadiz, Kentucky, and a master hunter, has called turkeys for many years. "I believe getting yourself into position to take a gobbler requires more talent on the hunter's part than just calling the bird to you does," Hale explains. "A turkey has a variety of reasons for answering calls without coming to them, including an obstacle he doesn't want to cross, an open place he's in where he expects to see a hen and doesn't and/or an area where he remembers a hunter has shot at him before or a coyote or another predator has attacked him there earlier. Click for Larger ViewTo take that turkey, you'll have to move to another calling position, as low to the ground as possible, and without making much noise. And, the quietest way to move may be on your hands and knees or stomach.

"I believe that to move on a turkey, you must be able to see 75 to 80 yards in every direction. The best time to move on a gobbler is when he's leaving one region and going to another, or when he's strutting back and forth and won't leave the place where he is. Click for Larger ViewIf you'll stay low, even if a turkey sees you, he'll think that you don't represent danger because you're below his line of sight. If the turkey spots you crawling, he'll see movement, often mistake you for a hen and come toward you popping and clucking. I've taken many turkeys in the past by shaking my hat or making some other kind of movement below the turkey's line of vision to get his attention and get him moving toward me to see what I am. I'm convinced that the edges of fields or flat open woods are the easiest and safest places to move on gobblers, and rolling hills and mountainous country on public lands are the most dangerous."

Tomorrow: Gary Sefton Explains His Hands and Knees Relocation Tactics

Check back each day this week for more about "Use Your Hands and Knees for Gobbling Turkeys "

Day 1: What to Consider Before Moving on Turkeys
Day 2: Eddie Salter and David Hale Explain How to Move on Gobblers
Day 3: Gary Sefton Explains His Hands and Knees Relocation Tactics
Day 4: Champion Turkey Caller Preston Pittman on Using a Ben Rodgers Lee Tactic – Stay Low to Move Close to Gobblers
Day 5: Avid Turkey Hunter Bo Pitman of White Oak Plantation on How Not to Spook Turkeys

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Entry 607, Day 2