Experienced turkey hunters know there’s more to calling toms during hunting season than making hen sounds from random setups in the woods. Success, most times, hinges on locating a tom or two before the hunt, which can be accomplished with a locator call.
By using calls that duplicate odd sounds, such as those made by owls, crows, peacocks and even coyotes, longbeards may shock gobble at the noise, which in turn, may give away their position.
A major advantage of locator calls: They do not cause a tom to react as if he heard a hen. So, he won’t show up when you least expect it and, quite possibly, catch you off guard.
The shock gobble is often something a hunter can capitalize on. Not all turkeys answer shock calls repeatedly, some may respond only once and other may never give in.
However, if a tom does gobble only one time, it may be hard to figure out which direction the reply originated, here’s how you can make the most of the situation:
Analyze the call. Was it near or far away?
- If the bird was near, wait a few minutes, set up where you are and call.
- If the bird is far away, it won’t hurt to send out a series of shock calls in hopes he’ll answer again, giving his approximate location away. From there you can try to get close enough to the bird so that you can start calling.
Two things to keep in mind:
- Always respect a turkey’s eyesight. If a tom sees you coming, it won’t matter how you located him or how willing to come in he might have been.
- Always keep in mind that the idea is not to stalk into shooting range, which isn’t safe, but merely to get close enough to call.
Getting a tom to react to a locator call — while not always a sure thing — usually isn’t too difficult. The more the bird gobbles, the better your fix on him. Just remember, it’s what you do afterwards that contributes to or subtracts from your odds for success.