The Talking Turkey That Won’t Walk to You with Matt Morrett
Editor’s Note: Matt Morrett represents Zink Wild Game Calls, Avian X decoys and the Plano Company. He has been a Mossy Oak Pro most of his life. After winning his first World Turkey Calling Championship when he was 16-years old, he has stacked-up turkey calling championships higher than he is tall. During turkey season, he probably sleeps in Mossy Oak camo, so he can jump out of the bed before first light and get out into the turkey woods. We've asked Matt this week to tell us how he deals with some of the worst turkey-hunting problems.
If you turkey hunt long enough, you'll encounter this problem of a tom that talks but won’t come to you more than once. You have to remember that turkey has lived in this area of the woods where you're hunting him all of his life. He knows every tree, bush, creek and place where predators hide out. If that gobbler is more than 2-years old, he's also had plenty of encounters with turkey hunters. So, when you go into the woods to try to call that gobbler, you're attempting to get him to perform an unnatural act. During the spring of the year, when a tom gobbles, hens usually come to him. Rarely will he have to go to the hens. Therefore, when the turkey hears you calling and doesn’t hear you moving toward him, that gobbler is already suspicious.
Here are some things that have worked for me, but let me add this disclaimer. I've won national and world turkey-calling championships. Although I've hunted turkeys all over the United States, I realize I can’t call in every turkey I hear gobble. When a turkey gobbles and won’t come to me, I also know that I’m not always going to be able to take that turkey on that day, and you won’t be able to take this type of turkey either every time you hunt him.
But these tactics have worked for me sometimes to solve this problem. If you’ve turkey hunted very much and have a gobbler that won’t come to you, even though he's gobbling to your calls. Let your mind go back to a time when you’ve been watching hen turkeys, and a gobbler is gobbling, and they don’t go running to him. What were those hens doing? When a hen wants to get with a gobbler, every time he gobbles, she’ll often cackle and get really excited. So, try to put that same emotion that an excited hen has in your calling.
Unlike turkey hunters, hens don’t stand in one spot and continuously call to a gobbler. A hen will walk around in the leaves, and she’ll turn in different directions. So, scratch in the leaves, and change the direction from where you're calling. Don’t always call directly to the tom. If you're using a mouth diaphragm call, cup your right hand, and turn your head toward the left to cause your call to sound like it’s coming from the left. Then, put your left hand to your mouth, and call, throwing the call to the right side of the tree where you're sitting. Also, turn your head around, cup your hand, and throw your call behind the tree where you're sitting. Too, you can throw your call, if you're using a friction call like a box or a slate call. Just move the call to your left or to your right as you call to the turkey. After you call, scratch in the leaves with your right hand and then with your left hand. By moving the direction of the call and by changing the spot where you scratch in the leaves, you're adding much more realism to your calling, and you’ll sound much more like a turkey hen. Using these two tactics, you're drastically increasing your odds for taking the turkey.
If those two strategies don’t pull the turkey in, then my last-resort call is sounding like an intruder gobbler that has walked up to the same spot where the hens are. I’ll use coarse gobbler yelps and/or fighting purrs to sound like two gobblers about to get into a fight. If the gobbler I'm trying to take still doesn’t come to me, then I’ll gobble at him as though I'm challenging him. When you gobble at a turkey, he'll do one of two things. He'll get really mad and more than likely come into gun range really quickly, or he'll run off.
The bottom line is:
- Start off like an excited hen by giving cuts and excited yelps;
- Throw your call, and scratch in the leaves; and
- Give that tom turkey some gobbler calls.
If those techniques don’t work, and the gobbler runs off, hunt him from another place on another day.