John's Journal...

Some of Turkey Hunting's Toughest Questions Answered

Gobblers Across a River, Gobblers That Get Hung-Up and No-Gobble Gobblers

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: If you haven't experienced frustration when turkey hunting, you must have fallen asleep before you've called a bird in to you. If you hunt turkeys often, you'll encounter situations where you'll wish you have expert advice to help you best a bronze baron. Just think of how beneficial a turkey hunter would find an electronic rolodex about the size of a credit card if in any turkey-hunting situation, he could type in a turkey-hunting problem. Then instantly he could receive an answer as to how to solve the problem from one of the best turkey hunters in the nation. For example, you could enter the problem, "The bird's walking away from me, now what should I do?" An expert could give you four or more different tactics to try on that gobbler. You'll find this article the next best thing to an electronic rolodex full of turkey-hunting information. Fold the article, and place it in a Ziploc bag in your pocket. When you meet a bad bird or find yourself in a tough hunting situation, pull the article, and try the tactics of these turkey-hunting pros.

How to Hunt a Gobbler That's Across a River:Click to enlarge
Editor’s Note: Walter Parrott has won more national-calling championships than any other caller on the professional calling circuit today, including three World Championships and about every other major calling contest in the nation.

"Often a hunter will automatically think a bird won't come when he finds a turkey across the river," Parrott comments. "Usually a hunter won't allow the gobbler enough time to make up his mind to fly across the river. Often after you've called to the bird for 20 or 30 minutes, and he hasn't flown across the river, if you quit calling, the gobbler will begin to wonder where the hen is. Then he'll go ahead and fly the river. If after 15 to 20 minutes the bird doesn't fly the river, begin to give some soft clucks and purrs like a disinterested hen that's just feeding. Play the role of a coy hen. Many times playing hard to get will bring a bird across the water."

When the Turkey's at 60 Yards, Hung Up and Won't Come In:Click to enlarge
"When you have a bird strutting and drumming 60 yards from you, and the bird won't come in, quit calling," Walter Parrott advises. "If he goes to a place where I know he can't see me, I may give him a few soft clucks and purrs. However, generally the best thing you can do is sit still and do nothing. That gobbler can see you better than you can see him. He knows where you should be, and if you move, he'll spot you. Either the bird will come to you so you can shoot him, or, he'll walk away from you. But if the bird walks away from you, and you know for certain that the turkey can't see you, then walk toward him. Attempt to reach the spot where the bird has been hung up and gobbling without his seeing you. Then start calling to him again, using the same calls you've called him with before. You want the gobbler to think you're the hen and that you've finally made the decision to come to the spot place where he'd been gobbling. Many times that will bring the tom back to you."

What to Do When No Bird Gobbles:Click to enlarge
Editor’s Note: Steve Stoltz of St. Louis, Missouri, won the 1993 World Turkey Calling Championship and finished one point from the winner at the 1994 World contest.  He holds various turkey-calling championships across the nation.  During each spring, Stoltz hunts several states.

"I go to an area where I've seen turkeys before," Stoltz reports. "Even if the birds aren't gobbling, I'll call to them as if they've gobbled. I go through the same routine that I will when a bird gobbles every breath. I first call softly, just in case the tom is close. Then I'll give loud locator calls. Next, I'll soften my calling and call less. Finally I'll quietly give feeding calls as though the turkey is standing 50 to 60 yards away. If you'll call to non-gobbling birds just like you do to turkeys that are gobbling, many times you can pull in one of those silent gobblers and get a shot at him. I've named this tactic ghost calling. I call, pretend the ghost gobbler has answered me and continue to work the ghost gobbler. This strategy works best when you're limited to that property and when none of the turkeys on that land are gobbling. If you have a large block of land that you can hunt, then I suggest using locator calls like cutting and cackling to cover a lot of territory and find a turkey that will gobble."

Tomorrow: Missed Gobblers, Gobblers in the Rain and First-Time Hunters

Check back each day this week for more about "Some of Turkey Hunting's Toughest Questions Answered "

Day 1: Beat-Up Gobblers and Gobblers Across a Property Line
Day 2: Gobblers Across a River, Gobblers That Get Hung-Up and No-Gobble Gobblers
Day 3: Missed Gobblers, Gobblers in the Rain and First-Time Hunters
Day 4: The Toughest Turkey I’ve Ever Faced and What I’ve Learned
Day 5: The Toughest Turkey Ever


Entry 448, Day 2