Good Advice? Ignore It!

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Published on: Apr. 2, 2002

Last revision: Nov. 12, 2010

ground-dragging beards. The other was a jake. You can figure a jake being hormonally addled, but not a couple of veterans.

Leroy named his newfound call The Tantalizer.

"I figured I had to do something," he said. "They were gone anyway, so whatever I did wouldn't be wrong."

It turned out to be eminently right. What does a gobbler think? That a hen has gone crazy with lust behind him? That a whole bunch of hens has gone similarly goofy? Only a gobbler can answer, and in that case the gobblers answered by coming back as if Leroy had them on a tether.

The only good advice I've ever gotten is, "Don't move." More gobblers are spooked by motion then by bad calling or any other factor. Good hunters (Leroy has done it) can call gobblers in while wearing hunter orange clothing. Another hunter I know tested the color/spook theory by hiding in a bright orange tent.

Gobblers came right in, mainly because the tent wasn't swatting mosquitoes or trying to get comfortable or scratching chigger bites.

Gobblers see color, but they see color throughout the spring woods. Redbuds, crabapple and a host of wildflowers all are colorful. Once I hunted some woods that had been marked for a timber sale. Many trees were tied with blaze orange strips, very similar marking to the blaze orange sash that I wrapped around the tree where I was sitting.

If gobblers were to spook at the mere sight of blaze orange, the woods would have been full of panicky turkeys. Instead I shot a nice gobbler-right beneath a tree that had my blaze orange sash wrapped around the trunk.

There's no doubt that turkeys are alerted by color or by anything they aren't accustomed to seeing. But if that color doesn't move, doesn't manifest itself into a fear-trigger, turkeys ignore it. After all, a gobbler does not have the brain of a nuclear physicist. It cannot reason that the color it sees might be a hunter's warning band, so it doesn't automatically flee through the woods every time it sees something colorful.

Actually, a turkey doesn't think at all; it reacts. Having reacted, it gradually (sometimes quickly) calms down and forgets whatever frightened it. That's why a gobbler can be called back. I know a hunter who knocked a gobbler flat one morning only to see it run off. The next morning

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