John's Journal...

Setting Up on Gobbling Turkeys to Hunt More Efficiently

Day 4: How to Set Up on Turkeys Strutting in the Field and Walking and Talking to Hunt Them

Click for Larger ViewThe gobbler strutting in the field is often the easiest turkey to find but can be the most-difficult bird to set up on and call. Usually when a tom’s out in the field, he either has hens with him or is in a place where hens should come. The natural order of things is that when a hen sees a gobbler, she should go to him. There are three ways to set-up and take this type of tom.

  • A daylight field gobbler is a tom that flies from the roost at daylight, remains in a field all day long and then flies back to the roost at dark. He’s a difficult bird to kill. However, if the hunter reaches the field before daylight and takes a stand 10-15 yards in the woods off the edge of the field, he can confuse a gobbler and make him come to his call. Once the hunter has taken a stand, he can begin to call to the gobbler before daylight and before the tom has stared gobbling or any other hens have awakened. The hunter should begin his calling just as light is beginning to glow in the east. When the bird wakes-up and hears a hen calling to him from the field before fly-down time, he wonders if there’s a new hen moving into his area. He’ll often fly-down from the roost to meet her before the other hens wake-up.
  • Hens will leave a gobbler by 10:00 am to return to their nests, especially late in the season, which leaves the gobbler all alone in the field. If the hunter takes a stand 30-40 yards off the field and begins calling and using light yelps, clucks and purrs, he can get the gobbler’s attention and make the tom believe there’s one hen left to breed before the days over.
  • The hunter may have a chance to take a subordinate bird, if there are three or four gobblers in a field with a group of hens. Remember that since the boss gobbler claims the right to breed the hens, subordinate toms may not have had an opportunity to breed any of the hens in the field. Click for Larger ViewTherefore, if you set-up fairly close to one of these subordinate gobblers that’s not strutting, you may be able to call him to your blind.

Walking and Talking Gobblers:

Click for Larger ViewThere’s nothing more frustrating than to find a good gobbling bird, call to him and then listen to him walk off. In many instances, these turkeys are call-shy, because they’ve listened to so-much calling from other hunters that they know what a turkey call sounds like and don’t want any part of it. Or, maybe walking and talking gobblers just don’t like hens. They’ll gobble well but won’t come to calling. Two methods will help you bag one of these walking and talking gobblers.

  • Circle the gobbler, and take a stand in the woods where you think the turkey is going. Don’t call to the turkey anymore, and the tom should come in silently. For some people, this is a boring way to hunt, but this technique can be successful.
  • Use two hunters. The first hunter takes a stand close to where the turkey’s gobbling and then calls to the tom, just enough to keep the bird gobbling. The other hunter circles the turkey, gets in front of the tom and keeps-up with his location, as the tom answers the caller. This tactic too will pay gobbler dividends.

Click for Larger ViewTo learn more about how to hunt turkeys, click here, or visit, and type in the name of John E. Phillips’ latest turkey-hunting book, “Turkey Hunting Tactics,” that’s now available from Kindle books and contains information on all aspects of turkey hunting, including: how to set up on turkeys; how to hunt turkeys; what equipment is best; what’s the differences in western and eastern turkey hunting and how that influences the way you hunt and more.

Tomorrow: How to Set Up When Hunting Hung Up Turkeys and for Two Hunters on One Tom Turkey

Check back each day this week for more about "Setting Up on Gobbling Turkeys to Hunt More Efficiently "

Day 1: How to Set Up on Turkeys
Day 2: How to Set Up on a Gobbler Turkey with Hens
Day 3: How to Set-Up on and Hunt a Turkey that’s Across the Water
Day 4: How to Set Up on Turkeys Strutting in the Field and Walking and Talking to Hunt Them
Day 5: How to Set Up When Hunting Hung Up Turkeys and for Two Hunters on One Tom Turkey

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Entry 659, Day 4