with Chris Kirby
In seminars, I'm often asked, “If a fellow never has been turkey hunting before and wants to start this season, what turkey call will you tell him to buy?” I’ll suggest the Easy Yelper, the Trigger Finger or some other type of push button call. All these calls are box calls that only require one stroke of your finger to create a turkey yelp. Very little practice is required, and the sounds that these push button calls make exactly imitate the sound of a wild turkey hen. The basic yelp has been used for decades to take wild turkeys.
After you’ve mastered the process of making a turkey yelp on a push button call, then making that same sound on either a friction call or a mouth call is much easier to master. The basic hen yelp and some very soft clucks and purrs are responsible for many a longbeard’s death every year. To make the cluck on the Easy Yelper, just tap the dial (push button), and the call will cluck. With the Trigger Finger, just make a short quick tap on the paddle, and the Trigger Finger will cluck for you. To make a purr, push the dial on the Easy Yelper very slowly, and the Easy Yelper will purr. With the Trigger Finger, just pull the paddle very slowly, and the Trigger Finger will purr for you.
After you’ve learned those calls, you next can learn how to put some personality in your calling by making some excited hen yelps one right after the other - called cutting. Cutting has to do with the speed, rhythm and cadence of the call. With both the Easy Yelper and the Trigger Finger, you can make really-soft yelps, clucks and purrs when you’ve got a gobbler in close, and you want to bring him on in to gun range.
Pattern Your Gun:
Now that you’ve learned patience; you’ve learned to scout; you’ve learned to call, and you know where to find turkeys at any time of the year, the next step is to pattern your gun, your crossbow, your compound bow or your longbow. Most beginning turkey hunters hunt with shotguns. We went through a period of time where many turkey hunters believed that bigger is better. For instance, my dad, Dick Kirby, shot a 10 gauge Magnum. That 10 gauge was so heavy that you almost needed a carriage in the woods to roll it around on, and it would kick almost as hard as a young mule that had been aggravated. But today, as we’re seeing more older and younger hunters coming into the sport of turkey hunting, we’re seeing an increased number of these people opting for a 20 gauge Magnum with a turkey choke and a quality recoil pad. So, there is very little, if any, kick when you squeeze the trigger on the shotgun. When these 20 gauges are properly patterned, they can take down a turkey at 40 yards or more.
For the beginning turkey hunter, I suggest you shoot a 20 gauge with a red dot turkey scope. Get a turkey head target, and shoot that target at 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards. Then see how many pellets you have in the kill zone of that turkey head target. When you're hunting turkeys, you also need a quality range finder, especially for the beginner. When you sit down to call a turkey, use that range finder to determine how far you are from certain bushes, trees, stumps and other objects in the woods. Then, when a turkey passes by one of those objects, you’ll know he’s either within range or not within range. Because you’ve patterned your shotgun with your red dot riflescope, all you have to do when a turkey comes in is to take the gun off its safety, look through your turkey scope, put that red dot at the bottom of the turkey’s wattles and squeeze the trigger. After the report of the shotgun is over, that gobbler probably will be flopping or be dead, still out in front of you.
Because of new and better technology in the shotgun industry and the shotgun shell industry, you can choose any gauge shotgun you want to shoot. Then check several different size shots from various manufacturers to see what size shot patterns best in your shotgun. Then you’ll be able to take turkeys like a veteran turkey hunter. No longer do you have to endure the kick from a 10 gauge Magnum like my dad carried to ensure that you can take a turkey at 30 to 40 yards and more.
Tomorrow: Know What to Do When a Turkey Gobbles