Editor’s Note: Chris Kirby is a World Champion turkey caller and he has been a Mossy Oak pro for many years. He’s the president of Quaker Boy Calls and has partnered with Mossy Oak to produce the Turkey Thugs line of turkey calls.
As I mentioned yesterday (see Day 4), the natural thing to happen in the spring woods is for the turkey to gobble. Then the hen goes to him. Often when you’re calling to a turkey, he may stop 50 - 60 yards away from you and not come in, although he continues to gobble. You need to quit calling, because that gobbler expects to see a hen. When he comes into an area and thinks he should see a hen and doesn’t see a hen, he gets really suspicious. Many times, when you quit calling, the gobbler will come in silently to you, looking for the hen.
Another tactic to unhang a hung-up gobbler is to scratch in the leaves and sound like a feeding hen, possibly using some soft clucks and purrs. Just remember that gobbler is looking for the hen. If you are in the place that he expects to see the hen and can’t see her, he will be very suspicious. If you can back away from that turkey without him seeing you, move 50 - 75 yards to either side of the gobbler, and start calling again, then he may come to where you are.
To prevent the gobbler from being hung-up, if you’re in hilly country, set-up just on the opposite side of the hill from where the gobbler is. Then when he comes to the top of the hill to look for the hen, he’ll be within gun range of you. Another tactic that either will bring the gobbler in or run him off is to use a gobble call on private properties – never public lands. If the turkey that’s coming in isn’t the dominant gobbler in the region, when you gobble, he may run off. If he’s the dominant gobbler, oftentimes he’ll come in and try to run you off.
The final tactic to use to attempt to solve the problem of a gobbler not coming into gun range is to let the turkey walk away from you. When you know he can’t hear or see you, leave the area, and return the next day. Move close to the spot where the turkey was when he stopped calling, or hunt him from a completely different direction. Before you sit down to call, make sure the turkey is within gun range. No tactic always works on every turkey. You have to just keep trying different calls and setting-up in different places. Most importantly, learn where the turkey wants to be and be there first.