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Brain Versus Bird

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Published on: Apr. 2, 1999

Last revision: Nov. 2, 2010

minutes. You may yelp quietly in case the bird is nearby. The next series, call a bit louder and maybe even cutt or cackle. When a hen comes off of her nest and she is ready to greet the gobbler again, she may make some clucks and maybe a long series of yelps."

In between these 20-minute calling sessions, Griffen suggests doing some quiet clucks and purrs-just in case a gobbler is sneaking in on you. That's the tough part of sitting until late in the morning; a bird can appear silently from any direction, and the slightest movement on your part may mean you just threw a whole morning's effort out the window-the only thing you are going home with is a great collection of seed ticks. "It's maddening when they come in silently like that," Griffen says. "You really need to keep your eyes peeled for any kind of movement out there."

Most hunters eventually tire of sitting and start moving around. A good tactic is to walk ridges and use a crow call or sound loud cutts on your box or slate call with the hope a gobbler will answer you. You may come upon a gobbler passing time in the middle of an old corn or bean field or intersect a bird that's just roaming the ridges with the hope of finding a hen-a blind date, of sorts.

Griffen has one tactic that's unique. If you can't call in a gobbler, he suggests you try calling in one of the hens with him. "Mimic the hen," he says. "Every call that she does to you, you want to turn around and do right back to her. That may be cutting, clucks, purrs... what you want to do is to get her to react to the idea another hen is moving in on her.

"She'll come looking for you. With luck, several hens will come toward you... with the gobbler following right along behind them."

Griffen limits his shots to 30 yards or less. He knows he is more likely to kill a bird that way, and he also knows it's safer. He suggests patterning your shotgun before hunting so you know right where it is shooting.

About one-third of Missouri's turkey hunters are successful each spring. Apply your gray matter to the subject like Griffen does and you may become one of them. In the meantime, keep reminding yourself you don't have to be the best turkey hunter in the woods-just one who knows the details of the neighborhood.

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