Some of Turkey Hunting's Toughest Questions Answered
Beat-Up Gobblers and Gobblers Across a Property Line
Editor’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 Beat-Up Gobbler:
Editor’s Note: Larry Norton of Butler, Alabama, won the World Turkey Calling Championship in 1990 and 1991. Besides winning the Alabama State Calling Championship and many other national and regional contests, Norton loves to hunt turkeys.
"One of the worst turkeys to hunt is a bird that has been hunted by at least three or four other sportsmen during that hunting season," Norton explains. "This bird has been called to, spooked and taught most of the tactics that turkey hunters use. When you hunt this bird, call very softly. If possible, find out what types of calling devices other hunters who've hunted this bird before have used. Then try a different kind of call. If most of the hunters have called to the bird with a mouth-diaphragm call, use a friction call. If no one has called to the bird using a tube call, then try that.
"Also attempt to determine in what direction most hunters will go toward the turkey. Then approach the tom from a different direction. Shy hen yelps, including single clucks and soft purrs, will be your most-productive calls with this kind of turkey. I love to use a push-button call late in the season, which is generally when you'll encounter a bird like this, because very few other hunters will use push-button calls."
How to Hunt Turkeys Across a Property Line:
Editor’s Note: Preston Pittman of Pickens, Mississippi, has won the Open World Championship, the World Natural Voice, the World Gobbling Championship, the World Two-Man Team and the Grand National Gobbling Championship and heads up Preston Pittman Game Calls.
"When I find a turkey on one piece of property, and I'm set up on another, I'll leave the woods and go to the landowner where I've heard the turkey gobbling to ask permission to hunt that spot," Pittman says. "If I don't obtain permission, then the next time I hunt that same bird, I'll let the bird tell me how to call to him. For instance, if the turkey gobbles aggressively every time I call, I'll call and walk away from him like a hen that's leaving. Then I'll shut up and double back without ever calling and hopefully see the gobbler coming through the woods to where he heard the hen.
Tomorrow: Gobblers Across a River, Gobblers That Get Hung-Up and No-Gobble Gobblers
"Another tactic that I'll only use on private property when I know for sure that no one else is in the woods is to gobble back at the tom. If a gobble doesn't bring in the bird, I'll give a series of fighting purrs to imitate two gobblers fighting. If the turkey has already shown you that he won't come to hen calling, you'll lose nothing if you try gobbler calls. If I still can't get the bird to come to me, I'll go crawling on my hands and knees to the property owner and beg for permission to hunt that bird."