John's Journal...

Use Creative Tactics to Find and Take Turkeys Mid Day

Day 3: Tactics for Hunting Mid-Morning Turkeys

Here are some tactics and situations highly productive for mid-morning gobbler hunting.

If You Snooze, You May Win:

Click for Larger ViewWhen you hunt turkeys in a hunting camp with buddies, usually you'll spend the first night talking about the good ole days, the people you've known and hunted with, and what's gone on in their lives since you've seen them last. Often these conversations will last until the late hours of the night or the wee hours of the morning. When your alarm clock goes off at 3:00 or 4:00 am, you wake up tired. Then after eating a big breakfast and finding a gobbling turkey to work at daylight, my enthusiasm for turkey hunting usually supersedes my need for sleep. But by 9:00 or 10:00 am in quiet woods, I've learned a tactic that generally pays gobbler dividends.

I to go to the last region where I've heard a turkey gobble. I pinpoint a productive place to take a stand and sit down against a big tree. I'll give four or five series of clucks and yelps for the first minute or two after I've sat down. Then I close my eyes. Usually within a minute or less, I fall sound asleep. When I nap while turkey hunting, I don't think about moving. I'll sit still for a much-longer period when I sleep than I will when awake. Usually I'll wake up in 15 or 20 minutes. If I don't see or hear a gobbler then, I'll cluck three or four times and yelp one or two times softly. Then I'll go back to sleep. Using this tactic, many mornings the sound of vrrrrrrrrrm-vrrrrm will awaken me, and I'll open one eye to see a gobbler strutting in front of me. Then I'll open the other eye to confirm that the first eye hasn't lied. Watching the turkey carefully until I become fully awake, I'll start studying how and when to get my gun up to get the shot. Often at mid-morning, I'll bag a gobbler that has dodged me since he's come off the roost by simply taking a nap and letting the bird come to me.

When You Bump a Bird Off the Roost:

Click for Larger ViewSometimes you'll go to a turkey gobbling in the morning, think the bird has gobbled further away from you than he has and spook the turkey off the roost. When this happens, note your location, and plan to return to that same spot later in the morning. Since many times I hunt in unfamiliar woods, I carry a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver with me when I hunt turkeys. If I spook a bird, I’ll sit down and wait 2 or 3 minutes for the GPS to get a fix on the satellite and lock in my position. Next I'll mark that site as a waypoint and give that waypoint a name like SPOOKED GOBBLER or ROOST TREE. Then I'll play with my GPS for a couple of minutes, checking to see how far I've traveled from the car, camp and home. I want to spend at least 5 or 10 minutes sitting quietly by the roost tree where I've flushed the gobbler. Next I'll give three or four loud yelps and a fly-down cackle before getting up to leave the area. I want the gobbler to think that a hen has flown into his roost site after he's spooked. When I return in the mid-morning, that tom also will come back to the same area looking for that hen.

If You Find a Gobbler with Hens:

Click for Larger ViewIf you've called to a gobbler and heard a hen calling also, even though he may gobble to you every time you call to him, more than likely you'll find that tom henned-up. After cutting and cackling and trying to call either the gobbler or the hen to you, but failing to do so, then quietly slip out of the area. Before you leave, use your GPS receiver to mark the spot as a waypoint to enable you to find your way back. Later in the morning after you've attempted to take another turkey, come back to that same site, and start cutting and cackling with the same call you've used in the morning. Often by 9:00 or 10:00 am, especially late in the season, hens will leave their gobbler. Then that tom will come back looking for that aggressive hen he's heard calling to him earlier in the morning.

When You Chase a Gobbler Too Far:

Click for Larger ViewOften a tom not with a hen will walk away from you as you call to him. Although you may circle the bird, change-up your calling and use every trick you know, the bird still will keep going away from you until he finally shuts up. With your GPS receiver, mark the spot where you've last called to the bird. Then leave that section of the woods, and go hunt another turkey. Later in the morning, slip back quietly as possible to that last spot where you've called to the turkey. Sit down, give some soft yelps, and take a nap if you don't hear the bird gobbling. Often a mature gobbler that has experienced plenty of hunter pressure will return to the spot where he's last heard a hen when he thinks all the hunters have left the woods. Expect this gobbler to come in either drumming or totally silent. Because this turkey looks for a hunter as well as a hen, he'll likely come in hush-mouthed if he returns to you. You'll find patience your biggest ally. In states that permit the use of decoys, set out a decoy before you start calling. If a tom turkey can see what he believes to be a hen in the area where he's heard hens calling, he'll come to you more willingly.

When Birds Don't Gobble, Continue to Hunt:

Many times turkeys won't go as far or move as much as you think they will. Generally 8:00 or 9:00 am, most gobbling turkeys have quit gobbling. I believe gobbling must take a lot of energy, just like singing does. Perhaps turkeys that have gobbled and bred all morning simply will take a break, be quiet and loaf. Let's face the fact that breeding is hard work for an ole gobbler. Although a turkey will remain in the same area where he's gobbled, he'll stay quiet in the middle of the day. So, quit calling for 45 minutes to an hour, stay in place, and take a nap or sit still. About every 45 minutes, give a few short soft yelps, and go back to sleep. Usually, the turkey will start gobbling on his own around 9:00 or 10:00 am. When he does, just continue to give a few short, soft yelps to let the gobbler know you haven't gone anywhere. If that tom knows a hen that hasn't come to him has stayed in his area, he'll often go to her to investigate. Then you'll have the opportunity to take the shot.

To get John E. Phillips Kindle book “PhD Gobblers,” click here, or go to, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (AMA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Hunting Tough Tom Turkeys

Check back each day this week for more about "Use Creative Tactics to Find and Take Turkeys Mid Day"

Day 1: How to Hunt Opening-Week Gobblers
Day 2: Why and How to Hunt Brunch Time Gobblers
Day 3: Tactics for Hunting Mid-Morning Turkeys
Day 4: Hunting Tough Tom Turkeys
Day 5: You Can Take Turkeys by Crossing Mountains, Floating to Them and Hunting Land No One Else Can Hunt

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Entry 710, Day 3