Brain Versus Bird

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Published on: Apr. 2, 1999

Last revision: Nov. 2, 2010

field or a fallow corn field that hasn't been fall plowed, or a bean field. He'll be strutting, trying to get his hens gathered there in the field."

If a gobbler leaves his roosting area without giving Griffen a shot, his strategy is to move and get ahead of the bird. "It's really effective if you can set up for him in his strutting area. Put out your decoy and call to him. A lot of the time he will answer and then you just shut up and pretty soon there he comes, following his hens or looking for other hens."

Calls "Fill your pockets with turkey calls," Griffen says. He carries at least three different kinds of calls while hunting. He likes diaphragm (mouth) calls because they require no bird-scaring movement on his part and leave his hands free to raise and sight his gun when a gobbler comes into range. He thinks, though, that slate and box calls make more realistic sounds. He also thinks turkeys on popular public hunting areas are overexposed to mouth calls. He reminds hunters using friction calls to keep them roughed up with sandpaper or they will squeak at the worst possible moment.

Why carry three different kinds of calls? Griffen says one day the sweet tones of a slate call will get a gobbler "fired up like crazy," while on another day he might ignore a slate call but will answer a box call. "Box calls sound especially good for purrs, cutts and clucks," he says. He also uses crow and owl calls for locating turkey gobblers.

He also likes wing bone and suction calls, saying they make great tree yelps and clucks, but admits they are hard to learn to use. If you use a mouth call, he suggests carrying ones with double and triple reeds or splits. "Each one sounds a little bit different," he says, "and one may get a response when another one won't."

There are three sounds a turkey hunter should know how to make-a cluck, a purr and a four-note yelp. A hen may give soft tree yelps, then cutt when ready to come down to the ground. A cutt is a string of loud notes.

"Cackles and cutts," Griffen says, "are icing on the cake to get a bird excited, but you can overdo it and scare a bird off. Do a four-note yelp and cluck and purr in between-you'll kill

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