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Calvin Perryman Calls the Hen to Get a Tom Turkey

provided by John Phillips

Mossy Oak Pro Calvin Perryman lives in Troy, Alabama, and took his first turkey when he was 6 years old. Today, at age 30, Perryman primarily hunts private lands in Alabama in Wilcox, Dallas, Pike and Bullock counties. Originally from Camden, Alabama, he has some family land he also hunts there.

turkey with hens

This hunt took place several years ago on some property that had a ridge with cedar trees on it and a little knob at the end of that cedar ridge. Just at fly-down time I saw a gobbler with several hens fly down behind that cedar ridge. Although I yelped to the gobbler, he had his harem of girlfriends and wasn’t about to leave them. I was able to stay behind that ridge and move closer and closer to that flock of turkeys without their seeing or hearing me. 

I’d been hunting this place since I was a little bitty boy and knew the ridge was there. I also knew that as long as I stayed behind the ridge, I could reach that knob at the end of the ridge, possibly have a chance to call that whole flock of turkeys around the knob and maybe get a shot at the gobbler. I knew the gobbler wasn’t going to talk to me, since he already had hens with him, so I started talking to the hens.

The dominant hen in this flock got fired up when I started talking to her sweetheart. As the flock continued to move down the ridge toward the knob where I was set up, she called louder and louder. I wouldn’t let her finish her calls before I would start calling on top of her calls. That really made her angry. She began cutting on top of my calls, I cut on top of her cutting, and she and I went back and forth like two girls about to fight over a boyfriend. Since she was the boss hen, she led the rest of the hens toward the knob I was behind, and the gobbler stayed at the rear of the flock. 

Calvin Perryman Greenleaf calling turkeyI was wearing Mossy Oak Greenleaf. When the boss hen came around the end of the knob, she couldn’t see me. Next, the rest of the hens came out from behind the knob with the gobbler about 10 yards behind that small flock of hens. I was shooting a Beretta 3-1/2 inch 12-gauge and toppled that tom.

What I Learned from this Turkey:

  • I’d been hunting this property all my life and knowing where this cedar ridge and the knob at the end of the ridge were located allowed me to get behind that ridge quickly and move out to the knob without the turkey seeing me. Then I could set up an ambush to take the gobbler. 
  • A gobbler with hens can be tough to take, so if the gobbler won't answer your calling, instead of trying to talk to him, try to talk to the boss hen. When you start talking to her the way she’s  talking to you, you're mocking her. No woman or hen turkey can stand to be mocked. You're also telling that hen turkey that you're much more desirable than she is, and that you're planning to take her boyfriend away from her. Because of the pecking order of a flock of turkeys, wherever the boss hen goes, the rest of the turkeys in the flock will go to the same place. Since the gobbler knows he has two pair of eyes on every hen looking for danger in front of him, he’ll go to where the flock of hens go. If you’ll sit still enough, wear your Mossy Oak camouflage and allow those hens to all walk past you, then once the gobbler starts to come past you, you can take him. 
  • Another advantage to knowing the land you're hunting and having hunted that property for several years is most of the time where you find a gobbler one year there may be another gobbler in that same place the next year.

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