Brain Versus Bird

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Published on: Apr. 2, 1999

Last revision: Nov. 2, 2010

a turkey doing that!

"You want to call just loud enough for a gobbler to hear you, and just often enough to keep him interested," he adds. He warns not to call too loudly or too often, saying that if you do, the bird may hang up on you. He'll stop 60 yards out and won't come any closer.

When he has a bird gobbling on the roost, Griffen says he will yelp a couple of times and then shut up. "If he doesn't have hens with him, he may drop off his tree limb and come right in," Griffen says. "You have to feel that bird out, listen and see what kind of mood he is in. If he is feeling his oats that morning he will be more receptive. If he gobbles only once or twice on the roost, he will probably be hard to call in. If he is gobbling his head off, he is more apt to come in to you."

Don't worry about sounding a sour note, he says. "You don't have to be a competition-quality turkey caller, and a bad note is not going to hurt anything, because some of the most terrible sounding turkeys are the real hens. Develop a rhythm and cadence in your calling and be consistent with it. That's what's really important."

If you need to learn how to call turkeys, find an accomplished hunter to teach you. If you can't do that, buy, rent or borrow a commercial tape or video and practice as much as possible.

Early Morning Scenarios Griffen suggests that when starting the morning near one of the roosts you have found, you set a decoy up about 20 yards away. If a tom on the roost begins to gobble, don't answer him immediately. When you do call, use some of what Griffen calls "tree talk"-soft, monotone yelps. You are trying to sound like a sleepy hen.

If the tom does answer instantly, give him a few moments to gobble again before trying a series of tree yelps one more time. Throw in some clucks, and he may gobble back at you again.

"Just before you think the birds are going to fly down, hit him with some real exciting yelps or cutting," Griffen says. "I like to call to him and cluck, and then take my gloved hands and beat them against my pant legs. That mimics the wing beats of the

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