Common Turkey Mistakes, Part One

turkeyTurkey hunting popularity is at its all-time high right now. These are the good old days and there are tons of resources that hunters can use to enhance their success, but knowing what you are doing wrong is equally important. I have guided turkey hunters for years and I am lucky enough to have chased hundreds of birds and learned from every one of them. Here are some mistakes that I have learned the hard way.

Sometime in the mid 1980’s I attended a turkey calling seminar at Bass Pro Shops featuring champion caller Brad Harris. One of the first things Mr. Harris mentioned in the seminar was how important it was to not overcall birds. He was right and that advice is just as pertinent to day as it was 30 something years ago.

I have sometimes let some of my clients do their own calling while I was guiding them, but I always let them know that I reserved the right to shut them up or take charge if I thought we were losing a bird. Overcalling happened 100% of those times.

Birds don’t like to be pestered and the only bird that will come into overcalling is a mad or young bird. Part of the natural mating process of a gobbler is to seek out hens during the early stages of mating. However, this pursuing stage last only days for a mature gobbler and the rest of the mating period is spent having hens come to him, so there is almost no legitimate time to over call to mature males. Sure satellite birds (two year olds) will sometimes respond, but only sporadically, so the safe bet is to never scare away birds by overcalling.

Another common mistake is to get impatient. Trust me, even as a guide with big money on the line, I have been tempted to relocate almost every time there is a lull in the action. This is not only a terrible mistake to make as it can scare birds into silence if they see you, but it is also the hardest mistake to avoid. After all, how do you know if a bird is working its way in if you can’t hear it? You don’t, but you have to trust the process and if you are in a good location, the odds say that it will pay off if you just sit your butt down for at least an hour of tactical calling.