The Gobbler Is in Charge – Thoughts of an Avid Turkey Hunter

You have everything — gun, shells, camo, facemask, gloves, your calls and a good spot.

You are set to kill a gobbler, if he allows you to do so.

Have you ever put out your finest series of turkey calls, have nothing answer, move to a new spot and then have a gobbler run off about 40 yards from you? He was already there and just not interested. The reason you did not kill that bird is that you are not in charge. He is.

He chooses to answer or not. He chooses to approach or not. He may not close that last 50 yards. He might walk off. He might stand there silently for 30 minutes and not make a sound. He may swing around and come in from behind you. He knows where you are, but you are not sure where he is in many cases. He might love your decoy or run from it. If he doesn’t see a hen, he might just leave, or he might come looking. He wins some and loses some.

These are things that make turkey hunting a wonderful sport — a challenge and that special

“mano a mano” experience that a true turkey hunter cherishes.

When you truly know and understand these things, you become a better and more patient hunter.

Do you know why 10% of turkey hunters kill 90% of turkeys? They don’t just hunt one spring turkey. They chase them from state to state and try to use all of their tags within their own state.

Archibald Rutledge said, “There are hunters, and then there are turkey hunters.” If you are indeed a turkey hunter, then you are of a special breed who eat, breathe and sleep turkeys.

Successful turkey hunters do not just have a box, slate and a mouth call. They have a “particular” box, slate and mouth call. The gobbler, who is in charge, lets the hunter know what he likes — some days high pitches, some days low, some days rasp and some days pure, clear tones. Some days require a box call only, other days a mouth or a slate call only. You need to be prepared for these situations; the gobbler will let you know what the situation calls for.

The gobbler will respond to what he likes, and you better have it in your vest. What about pace? If he gobbles a lot, then you call a lot. If he calls sparingly, then you call sparingly. If you want to kill him, you have to play his game. You can’t force him; you will make him nervous. Do not do that

Absorb what I have said above, and you will become better in your turkey hunting rather quickly.

Most of the better hunters have found what calls sound best for them. They have tried many different calls and have had other experienced hunters listen to them to see if they sound “turkey.” If they sound “turkey,” the gobbler will want to know them better.

Listen to good callers, and listen to the turkey sounds in the woods.

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