Editor’s Note: Chris Kirby is the president of Quaker Boy Calls, produces the Mossy Oak Turkey Thugs calls and has won the World Turkey Calling Championship. As a youngster, Chris trailed along behind his dad, Dick Kirby, who started Quaker Boy Calls, when they hunted. He never remembers a spring when he wasn’t in turkey woods. From the beginning of turkey season in Florida until the end of turkey season in New York, Chris will be wearing Mossy Oak camouflage, hunting turkeys in the spring woods every day – and for sure in the mornings.
One of the most-exciting parts of a turkey hunt is when you have more than one gobbler answering your call. Every time you call, one or both gobblers will gobble. Often, even when you don’t call, one turkey will gobble. Then the other turkey will gobble as though to say, “You better not go to that hen because I'm going to her.” Before I've tried to yelp, cluck, purr and use the fighting purr calls to keep the two longbeards from fighting each other and instead come to me. However, these tactics never have worked for me.
So, what I've learned from all my mistakes is to sit back, shut up and let the fight continue, until one of the gobblers runs the other gobbler off. A turkey fight may last 2 seconds, 2 minutes or up to 20 minutes with the birds fighting, resting and fighting some more. When the fight’s going on, the last thing any gobbler wants to do is talk to a hen. Each bird’s total focus is on the tom he's trying to whip. Once the fight is over, most of the time, the loser will leave and not make a sound. The dominant bird will hang around for a little while to see if any hens will come in or perhaps another gobbler wants to challenge him. Now, the loser in the turkey fight knows that more than likely that gobbler was fighting to keep his harem of hens. After the fight is over, the loser may sneak around in hopes of finding one of those hens for which the dominant gobbler was fighting.
Although I'll focus my attention on the winner, I'm not going to forget about the loser of the fight that may come in to soft calling, hoping to pick up a hen that may have moved to the outside edge of the flock when the fight started. Remember, the winner fought to keep his hens. So, when I start soft calling to the winner, more than likely, he’ll come over to me to attempt to bring me back into his harem or to breed. I’ll have a really good chance of taking the dominant gobbler after the fight, and a fair chance of taking the loser of the fight by soft hen calling after the battle.