John's Journal...

What to Do When a Turkey Hangs-Up

Give Him Your All

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: You won’t take a proud, mature gobbler with conventional calling tactics. TheseClick to enlarge bronze barons have attitudes. They consider themselves the finest birds any hen ever has seen. They feel so sure of their masculinity and superiority that they believe every hen in the woods will come running to them. They won’t exert any extra energy to go to a hen. You also can recognize a proud gobbler by his extreme caution. A proud gobbler will stop about 50 to 60 yards from where you call, gobble, strut and drum — but not come any closer. When a tom takes this position, most hunters say he’s hung-up. But you can take a bird that acts like this.

When a gobbler refuses to come close enough for you to take a shot, you’ve lost the game. So, give the bird every call and style of calling you have. I often will cut and cackle on a diaphragm call, cluck and yelp on a friction call and then fast yelp on a box call to sound like a flock of turkeys. I’ll call aggressively and subtly. I want that gobClick to enlargebler to think a harem of hens has invited him to a party.Click to enlarge

If the bird still doesn’t respond, I’ll throw in a gobble call to make the hung-up tom think the hens he’s heard calling have lured in another gobbler. Often the tom will come running in to chase off the intruding gobbler and pick up this harem of hens. Use a gobble call only on private lands when you have your back up against a big tree and can see in all directions.

I’ll also use the fighting-purr call to cause the gobbler to think a harem of hens has congregated at that location with one gobbler. Then I’ll try to make the tom think a second gobbler has come in and started a fight with the first gobbler. I’ll give cutting calls of hens at the same time I make fighting-purr calls and use my hand to ruffle the leaves to sound as though the fighting birds have beaten the ground with their wings. I hope to make the gobbler think that he has the opportunity to come in and steal one of the hens while the two toms fight. This strategy either will run off the bird or call him to you.

Tomorrow: Job ‘Em

Check back each day this week for more about "What to Do When a Turkey Hangs-Up"

Day 1: Put One Hunter Up and One Back
Day 2: Don’t Call
Day 3: Walk Off When You Call and Circle the Bird
Day 4: Give Him Your All
Day 5: Job ‘Em



Entry 399, Day 4