To Call or Not to Call

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Published on: Apr. 2, 2009

Last revision: Dec. 13, 2010

they never answered my calls. I had educated them. To avoid this problem, when turkeys don’t gobble, don’t call until 30 minutes after fly-down time. This reduces the chance of unwittingly educating roosted turkeys to your calling.

At first light when real hens are roosted close around you and calling. In this situation, you have little to gain by calling. You have real hens around you. Gobblers in the area probably recognize their individual calls. Let the hens pull a gobbler to you. If you call, chances are good the hens will see you and exit the area when they fly down.

What you want are those hens sticking around you when they fly down from roost. Then you have live decoys. When they fly down, it may pay to call in an attempt to hold them in your area. Other than that, it’s best to keep quiet.

During the quiet time. Gobblers in spring are far from predictable. But they do have routines. Often, they gobble in the roost. When they fly down, they gobble some more to attract hens. With hens in their vicinity, they go quiet—little to no gobbling. This time usually extends for two to three hours in the morning. You can call to the gobblers during this time, but often it’s of no use. This quiet time in the morning is typically the time for a hunter to also be quiet. Sitting in one place and calling periodically at this time does not mimic what the turkeys are doing. The hens aren’t calling. The gobblers aren’t gobbling, so do as the turkeys are doing. Be quiet.

The quiet time is a good time to take a nap. If you have hunted hard for several days in a row, a nap will be welcome. What of walking and calling at this time to try and get a tom to gobble? Most likely toms are not going to gobble at your calls, and walking about you are likely to spook turkeys you never knew were there. Take your nap. At 9:30 a.m. or so, start calling again. If you have done your scouting, and you are in an area that you know turkeys are using, best results come from sitting and not moving.

After a gobbler has answered your calls. When a gobbler has answered your calls, you have done your work. You’ve convinced the tom you are a hen, and he

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