Getting a Gobbler to Swim to You!

There are times when something awful happens — You are on one side of a creek/stream/river and the tom is on the other side!  Is there any way to salvage the situation?

Yes, there is.  

However, you have less than an even chance. Let’s be clear about that.

If there aren't any hens closer, you may convince a tom to fly or swim across water to you!

The Situation 

When the current is too swift for wading or too deep for walking across, you will have your work cut out trying  to convince a gobbler to fly or swim across. However it can be done.

What to Try

The only way I know to convince a tom to come across a moving body of water, is to convince him that he is missing out on a great party!  He has to believe that there is more excitement on your side of the water than on his!

A tom may have no interest in flying to your party if there is only one hen.  So, using a diaphragm call, a slate call and box caller, just might convince that tom that there are 3 or more hens calling him, wanting to breed.

Change your calls:  you will need to do cuts, excited yelps and cackles. *

Remember to make other sounds that gobblers expect to hear from hens.  More info about these sounds is at:  Bagging the Hung-Up Turkey  (look for “Why Might These Work?” – near the bottom of the post).

Two Things to Remember 

  • It may require extensive calling to convince that gobbler to fly over to you.
  • As long as that tom stays and continues to gobble, you have a chance!


*For audio of these calls — clicking on the underlined words will take you to the National Wild Turkey Federation’s site.


‘Proud Crowd’ used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics


Thanks for stopping by; hope you will join us again soon! 


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Published in: on April 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm  Comments Off on Getting a Gobbler to Swim to You!  
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Another Mistake Turkey Hunters Make

I’m about 1/2 way through the ways hunters make mistakes when hunting turkey.  This is an ongoing series of suggestions for modified hunter behavior – so you can snag a spring turkey.

Turkeys are quick to jump and run, so it is up to hunters to disguise their actions, so gobblers aren’t spooked.


Only those Gobblers that learn to recognize human movement live to see another day!

Errors Hunters Make in Walking

Walking is so much a part of us that we don’t think about it.  However, gobblers are listening very carefully.

If you take some time to watch turkeys move about (during this period before turkey season), you will learn to avoid the mistakes of many hunters.

Learning to Walk Like a Turkey

Turkeys spend much of their time searching for food.  They don’t march from Point A to Point B with a purposeful step, but take their time, scratching for food.

Remember, if you don’t sound like a turkey, you can only sound like a human.  And humans are trouble.

Thus, when you are walking, you must make turkey noises, not human noises. Turkeys move erratically.  When you are walking, it is important to vary the number of steps and the speed of your walking.

Take two steps, wait, take a step, wait, take 4 steps, wait, etc.  Cluck and purr softly while moving.  Scratch the leaves with your foot occasionally.

Watch Turkeys Scratch in Pre-Season

It’s valuable exercise to watch turkeys scratch while they are moving.  There is usually a cadence (rhythm) to their scratching.  Often it sounds like:  scratch; scratch-scratch; scratch.

You may also see contented hens scratching the earth, looking for food.  They usually make soft clucking and purring noises as they feed.

Vary Your Walking Patterns According to Terrain

If you are walking through a pine tree area, turkeys move more quickly than in a field of acorns and oak trees.

Around acorns, turkeys move slowly because they are looking for food, scratching for insects, etc.

Copy their behaviors for a more successful turkey hunt!


‘1000 Minnesota Turkeys’ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics


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Published in: on March 15, 2011 at 9:21 am  Comments Off on Another Mistake Turkey Hunters Make  
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The 3rd Mistake Turkey Hunters Make

This is an ongoing series on mistakes turkey hunters make — and how to correct them.  Today’s is a problem we have all faced at one time or another….

The turkey has one of the smallest ‘killing zones’ — specifically the brain, head and neck. A turkey’s brain is the size of a walnut! Have you checked your shotgun's scatter pattern yet?


When a Turkey Catches You in a Bad Position

The first inkling that you have that a turkey is close, is his gobble-gobble-gobble.  Suddenly, your realize you are about 40 yards from a big tom.

When this close, only give soft purrs. *  Rub your shirt against a tree, to copy the sound of a hen brushing against a tree as she is feeding.

Scratch the leaves and ground lightly — to sound like a hen scratching for food.

When the Turkey is Gobbling from his Roost

In this situation, you will want the gobbler to come to you from his roost.  Never shoot a turkey out of his roost.  The entire herd will immediately vacate the area. They may move miles away.

You can know where the roost is, just don’t shoot into it.  Your goal is to get the gobbler out of his roost and on the ground.

This is the time to call aggressively, using the cluck. ** Effective use of the cluck will hopefully bring the tom flying down from his roost, looking for that waiting hen.

Let the Turkey Tom Be Your Guide

If the tom is close and only calling a little, you do the same.  Purr softly, scratch the ground, rub against a tree.

If he doesn’t respond in 15 to 20 minutes, try more aggressive behavior.  Get some serious clucking going.  You want him to think he’s the only one NOT at the party!

Hopefully, curiosity will overcome his natural skittishness, so you can get a shot!


* Listen to the purr audio on this page, so you can perfect yours!

** Practice the cluck sound (first one in the list), so you can assure the gobbler that you are a hen waiting just for him.


Next time: Another Mistake Hunters Make While  Trying to Snag a Turkey!


“On the Move” used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics


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Published in: on March 14, 2011 at 7:25 am  Comments Off on The 3rd Mistake Turkey Hunters Make  
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Turkey Hunting: Getting Ready

With Valentine’s Day upon us, can turkey hunting season be far behind?

I’ve read about the ‘Americas before Columbus’ and I was surprised by one fact.  What were the 2 largest domesticated animals at the time of Columbus in the Americas?

The Europeans brought pigs, horses and cattle.  The llama and turkey were already here!  Turkeys have a long history in the New World.

Turkeys, Like this Threesome, Don't Have a Great Sense of Smell. But their Other Senses Work Just Fine, Thank You Very Much!

Getting Ready for Spring Turkey Hunting

It may seem a little early to talk about turkey season since most standing water is frozen rock solid.  However, there are lots to do to prepare for hunting turkeys.


  • Find possible hunting sites or areas,
  • Get a topographical and/or other map to understand the ‘lay of the land,’
  • Check out field locations in early hours for gobbling or turkey tracks/spore,
  • Look for places where turkeys may take water – along creek beds and river bottoms,
  • Work on your calling skills.  You will need to learn a variety of calls before the season starts. Go to this article to get free help with turkey calls:  Talkin’ Turkey: Typical Behaviors
  • Try to go to your hunting site regularly so you can learn the terrain and hone in on turkey roosts and feeding areas.
  • However, if you spook the turkeys too much, they will move away from your proposed hunting site before the season starts.
  • Start looking over your camouflage clothing for the new season. Your clothes will need to match the foliage where you will be hunting.
  • Take your shotgun and check the pattern of the shot.  Here’s more info: Turkey Hunting: Choosing the Right Load for Your Shotgun

Opening a New Can of Worms

If you are new to the sport of turkey hunting, you may not be aware of the research related to turkey (and deer) eyes.  Essentially, new research indicates that turkeys and deer can see some colors.

In low light (early morning and dusk), they can see the blue glow coming from some hunter’s garb.  It’s a longish issue.  You can read more here:


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Published in: on February 7, 2011 at 2:22 am  Comments Off on Turkey Hunting: Getting Ready  
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Turkeys: Tips on Nabbing a Silent Gobbler!


Before we get started, a priceless quip:

If at first you don’t succeed, failure may be your style.

– Quentin Crisp


After an hour, or so, of soft calls (every 15-20 minutes) with no response – now it’s time to make a decision.

Using Your Gut Instinct


Outsmarting the Silent Gobbler!


If the tom heard any noise that he couldn’t connect with a hen, he probably has “left the building” (a la Elvis)!

It may be best to move to another location and try again.

A Tom Walks Up Behind You!

Gobblers are notorious for being sneaky!  They also have an uncanny ability to arrive where you least expect.

Let’s say you hear a responding call or leaf rustling behind you; this is no time to turn around!

Remember, we learned from the study of what and how (both) deer and turkeys see, that they are watching for movement.

If you stay frozen in place until you have a chance at a shot, you have a tiny chance of getting the gobbler.  You are part of the scenery – until you shoot.

Hopefully, he will have to move around a tree trunk/brush/whatever, which will give you a chance to raise your gun and shoot.

If you move and prove that you are neither a hen nor part of the scenery, you have no chance of taking home that big bird.

When things get tough, remember that his brain is the size of a walnut!  Give yourself time — you can out-fox him — if he cooperates by making a mistake!


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Turkey Hunting: Tips on Nabbing a Silent Gobbler!

If you recall, in Turkey Hunting: Outsmarting Loners & Small Gobbler Groups, I mentioned how much easier it was to snare the young, talkative gobblers than the silent loners.

Today is “Better Advice” Day!

Instead of telling you how hard they are to catch, it would be more useful to make some suggestions about how to handle “the quiet ones.”

Experienced hunters know that toms can be silenced by the threat of a storm or when a cold front rolls into an area. Thus, just because you don’t hear turkeys, doesn’t mean that all turkeys have vamoosed!

Most of the wild turkeys harvested each year are 2 year old “chatterers.” Perhaps those that survive that first season learn to subdue their gobbling.

Changing Your Technique

When selecting a set-up site, it is important to find an area that has less-rather-than-more underbrush. With too much cover, the silent toms can sneak up and spy on you long before you see them!

While scoping out a spot, find one that is fairly level.  Without a doubt, the tom will pop up where you don’t expect him.  If there’s a rise for him to come over and startle you — he will.

Settling In Position

You’ve found a likely spot,  gotten everything settled — now let things get quiet. After a few minutes, softly call to a tom – just a short series.

If all remains quiet, try again in 15 minutes, or so.  Toms are often slow to respond, so don’t rush things. Plan to sit there, calling softly every 15 minutes, or so — for the next hour.

Otherwise, stay absolutely silent and still.

What We Learned From Studying Turkeys and UV Brighteners

After the issue of UV Brighteners came up a few years ago,  considerable time and money was spent studying how turkeys and deer see.

The topic is way too complicated for a quick explanation, you can refer to the following articles for more info:

What we learned is that turkeys aren’t notified of your presence by the “blue blob” of your UV brightened  clothes, but by the UV brightened clothes MOVING!

From that we know that stillness and silence are critical in hunting turkeys.


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