First 30 Minutes of Turkey Hunting with Chris Kirby, Larry Norton and the Late Doug Camp
Day 1: Quaker Boy Calls and Mossy Oak Pro Staffer Chris Kirby Explains His Turkey Hunting Strategies
Editor’s Note: What you do in that first 30 minutes of a turkey hunt often determines if the turkey will come to your calling, if he won't come to your calling, or if you will or won't bag a bird that day. The first 30 minutes of any turkey hunt usually sets the tone for the rest of the hunt. Let's look at how avid turkey hunters approach that first 30 minutes, and what they do to bag their birds. Chris Kirby of Orchard Park, New York, the winner of the World Turkey Calling Championship, president of Quaker Boy Calls and Mossy Oak Pro Staffer (http://www.mossyoak.com) has won four U.S. Open titles, a Masters' Invitational Championship and seven New York State Championships and enjoys hunting turkeys.
The first calls I usually make when I go into the spring woods are no calls at all. If you start calling to turkeys before they're ready to gobble, then you may make them call-shy. I've found that if you'll let the turkeys gobble before you make any calls at all, you'll have a better chance of bagging a bird that day. Also instead of using locator calls, I'll let the crows, the owls, the freight trains and the whistles that occur naturally in the area where I'm hunting cause the turkeys there to gobble. Once I know where a turkey is and get close enough to call to him, I realize that the first sounds I make are the most-important calls I'll give that day to that turkey. My first approach to any gobbler will be a soft, quiet approach. I've been with hunters who've cutt and cackled to a gobbler on the roost. They've called so strongly they've blown the bird out of the tree, making that tom not want anything to do with hunters the rest of the day.
Remember, if you're within 100 yards of a turkey on the roost, he can hear soft tree yelping. The tree yelp lets the gobbler know where the hen is. That's all you want to do while the turkey is in the tree. After I tree yelp to the bird, I'll wait and let the turkey tell me what he wants me to do. If he's gobbling with every breath, I may not call to him any more. He knows where I am, and he'll be coming. If he doesn't answer my calling, I know he really doesn't want to talk to me. I'll wait 10 minutes by my watch before I call to him again. I wear a watch when I turkey hunt because 10 minutes without a watch goes by much faster than 10 minutes passes when you're looking at a watch.
If the turkey still hasn't gobbled after the 10 minutes, I may give a short, fly-down cackle, which won't be nearly as long or as loudly as I make in contest calling. Actually hens don't tear the woods up with their calling when they fly off the roost. When I finish the call, I'll ruffle the leaves on the ground to sound like a hen hitting the ground.
Next I'll wait. Although the turkey may fly from the roost in 2 minutes, 20 minutes or 2 hours, I won't move or call any more, until I hear him fly down, or he's gobbling on the ground. I need to know in which direction the turkey is moving before I call to him again. If he's coming to me, I don't want to call anymore. But if he's going away from me or gobbling in the same place, I’ll know he's hung-up.
To learn more about turkey hunting from the masters, get these Kindle ebooks by John E. Phillips, including: “The Turkey Hunter's Bible,”click here; “PhD Gobblers;” click here; “Turkey Hunting Tactics,”click here; and his latest eBook “Outdoor Life’s Complete Turkey Hunting,”click here, or go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the names of the books, and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer. Check back at www.nighthawkpublications.com after March 24th for a reprint of John E. Phillips’ popular, sold-out book, “The Turkey Hunter’s Bible” 2nd edition.
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About the Author
John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) 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.