Spring turkey season opened Friday and to bag a reluctant gobbler, a turkey hunter needs to learn some basic hen sounds to attract an unsuspecting tom, said Bill Decker, veteran turkey hunter from Oklahoma City.
“The hunter must actually engage in a conversation with the tom turkey,” Decker said.
Decker, who makes and sells his own turkey calls, provides the following hunting tips that have worked well for him over the years in bagging a turkey:
When using decoys, place them on the edge of a field and set up in the cover at a 45-degree angle behind the decoys. Never sit directly behind them. The approaching tom will focus on the decoys and spot your movement when directly behind the decoys.
When calling, deliver three to six yelps on your call then pause 10 to 15 seconds before calling again, each time varying the number of yelps. Repeat this sequence four times then wait 15 minutes before trying again.
If a tom gobbles back, make a quick rhythm change to show excitement toward him, such as a yelp-yelp-yelp-cutt-cutt-yelp-yelp. This often will excite the gobbler enough to come into shotgun range instead of hanging up outside of it.
Once the tom is in sight, switch to a cluck and purr sequence to bring him within range
If calling fails to produce a gobbler, wait 15 minutes and begin the next series of calls with a cluck and purr method. I do this because many turkeys will come in silent and could be just a few yards behind you. A full yelp at close range will give you away.
Many hunters are using male decoys with fans deployed so always be sure of your target. To be safe, do not move in for a closer shot on what you believe is a turkey. Most of the time it will fail anyway.
To learn more about Bill's Custom Calls, email email@example.com.