3 Tips for Hunting High-Pressure Turkey that Won’t Respond to Calls
When you’re calling doesn’t work, go silent to fill that tag!
In the perfect world the stud longbeard always responds with a thunderous gobble every time you hit the box call. He saunters, or even runs into your decoy spread and struts like a runway model. But what about those birds that have been hunted a month, pressured by the neighbors, and simply will not respond to your calling? Worse yet, what about when birds run the opposite way because they are so call-shy? This is a time you have to dig deep, find some different tactics, and go silent. If this is foreign to you, you’re not alone. So here are 3 tips to help you throw a call-shy gobbler over your shoulder this spring.
First, these tactics are all about going silent, absolutely silent. This is not just referring to putting all your calls away, but also making sure you and your gear are like stealthy wood’s ninja’s that will make church mice seem louder than an 80’s rock band. (For products to help sound-proof your hunting gear, CLICK HERE)
1. SIT TIGHT: The play here is to find a good roost and set up directly underneath (or very close). This requires doing your research beforehand, and hopefully locating the roost tree the night before. Usually, you’d want to stay 100 yards or more away and call them into your decoys. Not now. You need to get in early (much before daylight) and be so stealthy, quiet, and slow in your approach that you can literally get right under the birds or exactly where you expect these feathered B-52’s to set down. Then, shoot on sight. If you have to do a short stalk, you should be able to get within range quickly before they move off.
2. HUNT A HUNCH: Where do your birds typically spend the morning or evening? What field do they usually peck for seeds, insects, and leftover crops? If you have
a decent pattern on them, or what you think they will do, you can simply setup an ambush on the most likely area and wait. You may be tempted to call to the bird that shows at the other end of the field, but do not. Remember, these birds are call shy, and this could actually hurt your chances. The best chance here is to just sit tight and wait until they work your way. If you know a pinch, funnel, path, or preferred exit of the field or strutting area, you can also setup here and wait until they pass by. Patience is required since this is a lot like deer hunting (for more tips on hunting turkey like deer, try this article HERE)
3. PUT ON A MAJOR LEAGUE STALK: In the scenario above, let’s say you’re on a field where a couple gobblers are hanging up 300 yards at the other end. You don’t think they’ll make it to you by the end of legal shooting hours, so what do you do? Simple, you put your major league athleticism to work and put on a stalk! You may not be able to steal second like Ricky Henderson, but an athletic hunter can do a lot with some of the right moves and a good jump. First, analyze the cover between you, the bird, and where you think he will wind up. Can you circle through woods and brush and pop out closer? Can you utilize a ditch to sneak and pop up within range? If you know about these features ahead of time, you can set your
blind or ambush position with this in mind, and turn your plan B into a major league score on an unsuspecting Tom.