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Calvin Perryman: Solve Turkey Hunting Problems

Calvin Perryman Hunts the Give Me Turkey Gobbler

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.

Calvin Perryman

In the 2020 turkey season, one of the members of my hunting club told me about a gobbler he had been hunting for five days and hadn’t been able to harvest. He told me about where the turkey was and where to park my truck, so I might be able to hear this bird gobble. I knew that since this fellow had been messing with that turkey for five days and hadn’t killed him that this bird was probably call-shy.

Because I could hear that tom from the road, I moved in fairly close and called to him on the roost. I was thinking he might be an easy turkey to take because he’d answered me from the roost. However, once he flew down, he just stayed around the roost tree for about 20 minutes. Finally, he gobbled walking away from me. When he was about 300 yards out, I knew he wouldn’t be able to hear or see me if I moved. I made a big circle around him and started calling after I made the circle and was about 200 yards away from and in front of him. 

I yelped, and when the turkey gobbled, he was much closer to me than I thought he was. I sat down right where I was. He was probably 100 yards away from me. Although I didn’t call to the turkey again, after a few minutes, he gobbled on his own. I could tell he had moved further away from me than when I’d heard him gobble. I yelped back to him, and he came to within about 75 yards of me. I shut up.

The next time he gobbled he had gone away from me again out to about 75 yards, I kept yo-yoing this turkey back and forth, but I couldn’t get him to come to within gun range. However, remember this turkey had been hunted for five consecutive days and called to by other members of my hunting club. I didn’t want to overcall to him and would shut up and not call after he gobbled back to the call I would make. I would only use hen yelps and soft clucks and occasionally scratch in the leaves. 

Perryman turkey callingI don’t know why he eventually broke his strut and came to within 40 yards of my stand. Maybe the other hunters had tried moving up on him when he would come back, but just out of gun range, and he would see them. Or, perhaps they would spook him, and that’s the reason he was yo-yoing. Finally, when he came to within 40 yards, I took the shot. His spurs were 1-1/4 inches long, and his beard was 10-inches long. He was at least three years old or older, I believe. I had finally taken him at about 7:45 a.m. that day.

What I Learned from the Give Me Turkey:

  • When somebody gives you a turkey to go hunt, is willing to tell you that bird’s approximate location and that he’s been hunting that bird unsuccessfully for about five days, you have to assume that that hunter has used all the obvious tactics most hunters would to try and take a bad turkey. 
  • When I circled around, got in front of the turkey and started calling to him, he’d gobble back and then walk away. So, I had to study the bird and determine why he was doing what he was. Once I went silent on the bird - thinking he would come in and try and find me - he didn’t. Although everything inside me was telling me to try and move up on the turkey when he walked away and then try and call him closer, I had to think to myself, “That’s probably what the hunter who didn’t kill him did.” So, I just stayed on my stand and every time the turkey would go out, I’d call lightly to him, and he’d respond by coming back closer than before. 
  • Once I thought about how I was hunting that tom, I believed there were two reasons I was able to take this Give Me Gobbler. When I didn’t move on the gobbler like most turkey hunters would, I was using a different tactic than the other hunter who had been hunting him probably did. Then I was patient, I didn’t try to force the turkey to come to me, and I didn’t move closer to him. The turkey probably decided that I was a real hen, and that’s why he broke and came to me within gun range.

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