Archive for the ‘Turkey Calls’ Tag


MO Call 0001

Late winter is a good time to prepare for spring turkey hunting.  Doing some homework greatly increases a chance at a big ole Tom.  You do some of the preparation at home in bad weather.  Other things need doing outdoors on the nice days.

Indoors in late winter, one can brush up on calling skills and experiment with new calls.  It is a time to tune them.  All calls need to be in good operating condition.  Check mouth calls to make sure diaphragms have not deteriorated.  Friction calls need chalking.  It is a chance to perfect the tone, cadence and intricacies of each call.  By studying videos or audio tapes and trying to imitate them, one learns from some of the best turkey experts in the country.  Watch their techniques and learn to match them.

As one studies the calling of experts and attempts to imitate them, learn the how, when, where and why of attracting turkeys.  An example might be that loud yelping is sometimes better for young gobblers in early season.

At certain times, such as daybreak or late in the season, the more wary gobbler might be frightened away.  These skills hunters learn in a few hours of watching video or listening to audio tapes.  To learn this on your own, it might take many seasons.

More indoor activity might include making sure that accessories are in order.  Such items as clothing, head nets, hats, and gloves must be located.  They can get lost from one season to another or need replacing.

As the weather improves, move outdoors.  Take the time to pattern a shotgun and determine its effective range.  This is especially true if one has purchased a new gun or has had difficulty with an old one.

Next, scout out some perspective hunting areas.  Begin with friends, acquaintances and natural resources personnel.  Call them and ask about probable areas to check.  Begin early as many other people are doing the same thing.

Follow up by searching the areas mentioned.  Look for scratchings, feathers, dusting areas and tracks.  Among of the best places to begin is in hardwood forests and field

As the opening day of hunting season approaches, breeding season for the turkeys also begins in earnest.  Tom turkeys begin to gobble.  Hunters should spend more time in the woods at dawn and dusk when turkeys are most active.  The more gobbling, the better you will be able to pattern their activity.  If they do not gobble on their own, try to annoy them with an owl or crow call.

If you are able to locate a gobbler with the owl or crow call in the evening prior to a hunt, it is possible to locate where he will most probably be in the morning.  Sneak as close as possible to the location before first light the following morning.  When legal shooting hours arrive, make three or four soft yelps.

This is probably your best opportunity to take a tom.

Turkey hunting is one of the fastest growing outdoor sports.  Whether or not one is successful depends upon preseason practice and preparation.  It is worth it.



Out foxing the wild turkey can also mean conquering the weather.  Some springs in Illinois have been rainy ones.  Nevertheless, turkeys stay out in the rain and if a hunter wants one, he has to do the same.

Rob Keck, former Executive Director of the National Wild Turkey Federation, finds that some springs it rains on his parade too.  “Everywhere I go,” says Keck, “It seems like it rains.  I hunt more times in the rain than I can remember.”

Keck has to find way to get around the weather.  He spends a lot of time just trying to find a dry place where he can still hunt.  Out buildings and rock outcropping are just two of the places he uses.

Always on the alert for ways to beat the weather, Keck takes his slate call, turns it upside down and uses it that way.  When not using it, he keeps the call and striker inside his coat.  By using these two maneuvers, he is able to keep it out of the elements.

Keck, who uses slate calls quite a bit, always carries his strikers in Zip loc bags.  He just pops the bags into his vest.  He usually has his vest on the outside of his rain gear so that the calls and strikers are accessible.  In the bags, they remain dry.

He stresses the need to keep a striker dry.  Because once that tip gets wet, you are out of business.

Speaking of strikers, Keck finds that a real ticket to successful calling relates to the fact that some birds want you to start with one call and finish with another.  He has to carry a variety of strikers.  However, he likes to do that anyway.

When in the woods, Keck carries a variety of calls from box calls, mouth calls, slates of different compositions, even wingbone calls.  When asked how many calls he carries, his response is, “I usually put a 50-pound limit on it.”

Keck finds it amazing that he can get one turkey to gobble on one particular striker and the next bird will not even listen to it.  He just keeps switching around to find what is really going to work.  Sometimes it appears that a bird appears not to respond to a slate call, but it may be that he will not work a slate call with that particular striker.

Keck points out that often a striker with a commercial call does not match the slate.  He works at matching strikers to the slate.  Each combination sounds different even though they are made of the same types of woods.  Keck carries a variety of wooden strikers, usually made out of very dense and heavy woods.  He uses everything from tiger wood, rosewood, ebony to a whole variety of woods.  This enables him to find what works best with a particular call.  He explains that, “everyone is going to have a different sound when you combine two surfaces.”

That includes box calls as well.  Keck finds that changing the angle of the lid on a box call can make a different pitch.  To do this Rob either backs out the Phillips head screw or tightens it.  “What this does,” explains Keck “is change where the paddle is actually striking on the lip of the box.”  As you get out closer to the edges, a higher pitch results.  Moving more to the center, you are going to get a deeper pitched sound.

Every turkey wants something different.  Changing calls is one way to change the sound of the box call.  Another is how you hold the call.  You change the sound by changing the location of where you hold it.  Holding it into your body and reversing where the hinge is located will change it as well.

Keeping your calls dry, experimenting with them and their use, and using different calls and strikers, can make all the difference in sound.  It can spell the difference between bringing home a big old tom and just getting wet and frustrated.

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