Calling the Loner
The loners tend to respond better to soft, soothing calls. The exception to this is — a good hen fight. If you can call gobblers – indicating that a fight is on, even dominant males will move toward these sounds. Everyone loves to watch hens fight!
There are three other strategies to try on the experienced gobblers. Moving from one location to another, between calls — sometimes works.
These older birds have experience with hunters. Most hunters stay in one spot, once they start hunting. They are afraid of being spotted. By moving around, you are not like other hunters.
Also remember, dominant males expect hens come to them — obviously, they haven’t heard of “hen’s lib.” They are used to moving forward just so far — and no more.
When they call the hen and she doesn’t come, he is suspicious. Because he doesn’t believe in curiosity, he will move on if he doesn’t see or hear something tangible from the hen.
This might be a great time to scratch around in the leaves. This tells the male that the hen has stopped off for a tasty morsel, and is scratching for a bit more.
He may expect her to come to him, but he’s aware that she may take “her own sweet time about getting there.” This is a reasonable solution to his unanswered call.
Patience is necessary; gobblers often move in silence. Don’t be caught unprepared by letting a turkey sneak up on you!
One Last Try
Finally, you have to play the scene as it comes. Generally, dominant males don’t chatter as much as the other birds. If you do too much calling, he may leave.
If he calls back after each of your calls: Does he want more? Less? If he responds each time, this may be the time to get more aggressive and a bit louder.
If he’s not moving toward you and still waiting, this may be the time to get quiet. You might want to continue with a bit of scratching and cluck to yourself — seeming to ignore him. This may prompt him to move closer.
As you can see, catching a seasoned turkey is much harder than snaring one of the two year-olds.
* ‘Woodland Splendor’ is shown by permission of Vantage Point Graphics
This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com