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Tag-Teaming a Turkey

Sometimes to harvest a stubborn old gobbler that constantly gives you the slip, you need to call in the cavalry. Making it a team effort is fun and satisfying for everyone involved, not just the lucky hunter who gets to pull the trigger. Here are the details of a hunt where we used several gunners to cover several possible escape routes. The turkey had nowhere to go, except straight to a gun: Think of it as a deer drive, without the driving part!

A Five-Man Plan

Two of us roosted a lonely gobbler the night before. But five of us showed up the next morning. We safely planned out our multiple-gun approach. We knew the area very well. Because of the layout of the land and our experience with this particular bird leaving in this area, we knew there were only a few possible directions this gobbler would go.

Extra Safe Setup

We chose four setup locations that were at least 200 yards apart, a safe distance from each other. We all agreed that once we heard one of us shoot, we'd quit hunting, unload our guns and meet at the location of the shot to avoid any accidents.

Four Travel Routes

We put one hunter and one caller in a spot where we thought the bird was likely to go. The other three shooters blocked the other routes that the gobbler might go if he didn't like the calling. We had the bird surrounded.

Strategic Calling

The caller (Joe) called the bird using a “pendulum” calling tactic. It worked like this: The shooter (me) faced the roosted bird. Joe hung out about 100 to 150 yards behind me. When Joe heard the tom gobbling in the distance, he moved in the opposite direction. Meaning, if gobbler moved west, Joe moved east. And if the gobbler moved toward the caller, Joe moved farther away: this way Joe's calls are always teasing and moving away from the gobbler, forcing the bird to chase the sounds, while always keeping me between Joe and the gobbler.

A Plan in Action

Using the pendulum calling strategy made it more likely that the gobbler would walk by me on his way to Joe's calls. So after settling in, I concentrated on looking for movement in the woods. Soon, I could hear the gobbler sound off. Then I heard Joe's yelps. A little while later, the gobbles sounded closer and Joe's calling sounded farther away. The pendulum calling tactic was in full swing and working.

Party Time

At 70 yards, the big bird entered into my field of view. Joe's calls kept going in the distance, so the gobbler kept coming. Then the old bird stepped into an opening, 33 yards away. BOOM! The bird piled up. As I stood with my trophy in hand, Joe and the three other happy hunters approached from all directions, with smiles as big as if they pulled the trigger themselves. A tag-team success!

J.J. Reich




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