Turkey Hunting: They Said It...

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When we first began the journey known as Wild Turkey Report over a year ago, our main goal was to inform other turkey hunters on how to become better turkey hunters.  What we did not anticipate was that by interviewing some of the top minds in the sport of turkey hunting, the Wild Turkey Report staff would learn as much about our beloved sport as our readers.

Each hunter has ‘x’ amount of turkey hunting knowledge in their brains at any given time.  It is not possible for one hunter to know everything about the sport of turkey hunting, and we’ll freely admit that it would take decades for us to attain the level of knowledge that guys like Harold Knight and Fox Haas have about the sport, if at all possible.  But by interviewing a wide variety of “the pros,” we have come across a wealth of knowledge, including some info that we had honestly never considered.

So we have listed some of those “aha” statements that some of the folks gracious enough to let us pick their brains have passed along.  Here are some of their theories or tactics that we found interesting.

Larry Shockey: “I had an old timer ask me one morning in Alabama how many turkeys we had heard.  We replied with three or four, and he asked how many times they gobbled.  When we said 15-20 times each, he said ‘well you won’t kill them in the morning.’  What he meant was that southern turkeys give you one shot to kill them, which is usually the first time you hunt them.  I found this to be true in my trips down south.”

Alex Rutledge: “On those cold mornings, try to focus on your sunny hillsides, because turkeys will want to strut and loaf on them to warm up.”

Sadler McGraw:  "The excuse of 'call shy birds' has been used to death.  Turkeys do not get call shy, they only get people shy.  All turkey hunters need to study and learn from real turkeys, and they would be surprised at just how vocal many hens are in the spring.  I have been asked numerous times  'Do you really do that in the woods while hunting?'   My response to them is 'Turkeys do it, why shouldnt I!" 

Billy Yargus: “Mark Drury told me once ‘If you put a good turkey hunter on a gobbler, and the next day send another good hunter after that same turkey, both hunters are apt to sit by the same tree.’  Good turkey hunters tend to think alike.”

Harold Knight:  “When I am hunting public land, if a turkey gobbles at me twice, I will go to him.  If he only gobbles at me once, I will keep driving.  I don’t waste time on public land turkeys that just give you a courtesy gobble.”

Larry Norton: “I don’t think people understand the impact predators have on turkeys.  When you have a turkey coming up a ridge to you and he all of the sudden hangs-up, who is to say that he did not have a run in with a predator there?  You can go one ridge over and he will come running, but for some reason that one spot spells danger for him.”

Scott Wilhelm:  “I hear people say ‘that tactic doesn’t work’ or ‘that will just scare the birds off.’  If you’re fishing and a bass doesn’t bite a white spinnerbait, are you just going to throw that bait on the bank?  Of course not!  Every turkey is different, so you have to willing to try it all to see what they may ‘bite’ on that particular day.”

Toxey Haas: “A lot of times we think that we are dealing with a ‘bad turkey,’ but many times it is actually the hens that are the stubborn ones.  You think about it, how many times does a given gobbler see his buddies get shot at, or he himself?  Maybe one or two times.  A given hen, on the other hand, may see numerous gobblers get shot at.  So the hen may actually be the one who’s more wary.”

Mark Drury: “Keep in mind that our calls can sound completely different from different spots.  If you have a buddy stand in one spot, and you make a big loop around him, calling all the way, at certain spots he is going to be able to hear you better than others.  This may explain why turkeys you think should have heard you at your last spots all of the suddenly respond-they finally are able to clearly hear you.”

Josh Grossenbacher: “Most mouth callers can call loud, but few can bring the volume down to a whisper.  This is where I think competition callers excel in the spring woods; they are able to call soft when that turkey is in that critical ‘eighty yards and in’ range.  This is the part of the game where the gobbler is looking for the hen, and when you can call soft, the turkey has a hard time coursing you, forcing him to come a little closer.”

Wild Turkey Report Staff
Wild Turkey Report is the internet's new destination for information on the sport of turkey hunting. Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wildturkeyreport and on Twitter @wildturkeyreprt!
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