Editor’s Note: Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland, Mossy Oak’s senior vice president of television and related media, probably has hunted turkeys as long and as hard as any man alive. He hunts for his own enjoyment, but in the early days of Mossy Oak, he was a cameraman, field producer, guide and caller. One of Cuz’s greatest joys in life is calling up a turkey for someone else to take. Cuz has hunted turkeys all over the world and in most states. When Cuz talks turkey, we all listen.
There are many more turkeys in the woods than hunters think. You can take turkeys if you’ll hunt later in the morning, after all the other hunters have left the woods. I love to blow a tube call that makes a loud, high-pitched, very-piercing sound. I use that call later in the morning to cause a turkey to shock gobble. If you’re walking down the road listening for turkeys, and one of your hunting buddies jumps out of a bush and yells, “Boo!” you will jump and holler. That’s what the loud, sharp-piercing tube call does to a turkey gobbler in mid-morning. Now you can have the same effect using a really high-pitched, loud box call. You have to remember that most turkey hunters will use a crow or an owl call to try and get turkeys to gobble late in the morning, but turkeys hear crows and owls all day long.
Before I blow my tube call, I look around and make sure that I can set-up by a big tree or a bush, if a turkey gobbles, especially if he gobbles close by. When I blow the tube call, if a turkey gobbles, I’m going to give him some hen calls to try and call him in to where I am. Even if I don’t call that turkey in, at least I know where he likes to stay in the middle of the morning. So, if I try and call a turkey off the roost, and I’m unsuccessful, I can go to the place where I’ve heard the turkey shock gobble and have a real good chance of taking the tom before lunch.
Many times I’ve been filming other hunters trying to call turkeys. After they’ve used their owl calls and their crow calls and cackled to try and make a turkey gobble, they’ll say, “There must not be a gobbler here. Let’s go to another place.” I’ll smile and say, “Do you mind if I blow my loud nasty tube call before we leave?” Many times I’ll make a turkey gobble close by that hadn’t answered any other call.
So my suggestion is: in the middle of the day, when you’re trying to locate a turkey, and you just can’t seem to get one to gobble, before you leave your calling site, either blow a loud, sharp-piercing tube call, or give some exciting yelps on a loud, high-pitched box call. I’m totally convinced that many hunters walk off and leave turkeys they may have called, if they’ve made them shock gobble. Make sure, if you hear a turkey gobble, that you have on your Mossy Oak gloves, pulled up your Mossy Oak face mask, and use your Mossy Oak camo to blend in with your surroundings.
Tomorrow: Shut Up and Listen (for Turkeys)