Editor’s Note: Will Primos founded what is now known as Primos Hunting in the 1970s, and he says, “I love to turkey hunt.”
When a friend starts telling you about a turkey he's going to take you to and he's given that turkey a name, you know you're in trouble. When turkey hunters name turkeys, you automatically know that turkey has a reputation for being a hunter dodger. That turkey hasn’t earned his name by doing what turkeys are supposed to do. For this reason, if you decide to hunt that turkey with a name, you need to do all the research you can on that bird before you ever set foot in the woods.
I never will forget a turkey named Al Capone. Some “friends” put me on Al Capone, and it took me several days to finally figure out how to take Al Capone. To learn the secret for taking Al Capone, I interviewed everyone I could who had hunted this legendary turkey. Then I decided to hunt him differently than everyone else had hunted him. When you’re hunting a named turkey, the first mistake that almost everyone makes is to try and approach that turkey the same way all the other unsuccessful hunters have approached that turkey. For instance, if someone tells you, “Follow the trail behind the barn down into the woods. Go to the first old logging road you see that turns off to the right, until it drops off down into a bottom. If you’ll start calling from there, Al Capone will answer you.” This kind of information told me the way that all the other unsuccessful hunters had gone to that turkey. So, I decided to go in from another direction and call from a direction no one had used.
Next, try to find out what type calls everyone else has used to call to that turkey. If they’ve used mouth diaphragm calls, don’t plan to call him with a mouth diaphragm call. If they’ve used boxes, slates or glass calls, use a call the turkey hasn’t heard previously.
The third element and the most-difficult tactic for most turkey hunters to use to take a named gobbler is to identify from which direction the turkey flies to when he leaves the roost tree. Go, and set-up in that direction. Don’t say a word, and don’t call. If you think you see or hear that turkey, you may want to lightly scratch in the leaves, but don’t try to call to him. For instance, everyone who hadn’t taken Al Capone had called to him.
I did take Al Capone, and I didn’t call to him. Turkey hunters like to hear themselves call turkeys. They like to hear gobblers answer them. But many times – no make that most of the time – if you call or the more you call to a named turkey, more than likely you won’t take him.
Tomorrow: How to Unhang a Hung-Up Gobbler