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Beyond frustrated... long read.

1052 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  AutumnEncounters
I don't post much anymore on here. Family, work, etc., has me doing plenty of other things. But, I have lots of time to hunt.
Anyway. I am going on a 4 year dry spell with turkeys right now. Now, part of this might be some of my own doing. I used to be a box call guy and killed turkeys every season. I decided about 5 years ago, I was going to go empty handed if need be and learn to use and get good with mouth calls. First year, bang, dead turkey. I have a very good teacher (woodhaven pro staffer) who has helped me tremendously. I'm not a competition caller, but I'm not too bad with call in my mouth.

For whatever reason, I noticed last season that birds on my property simply do not respond to mouth calls well. I've tried various ones looking for the right pitch. They'll gobble, just not at me. Crows, loud cars, etc.. they scream their brains out at. My mouth calling, not so much. I can always conjure up a jake, in fact its bad enough that I hate seeing a gaggle of them coming through the woods and they almost follow me from spot to spot, calling them in several times at different spots on some days. Its fun the first time or even the second, but after a while...

This year, I ditched the mouth calls and picked up the box again. Its an old Lynch World Champion call my dad bought me one year for Christmas years ago. High pitch, low rasp. First time using it, I called a long beard to a friend who was about 200 yards between me and the gobbler. Gobbler got with 40 of my friend and just when he was about to shoot, he spooked for some reason. Oh well, least we had action right?

This past Saturday, I sat up in a usual spot and called off and on all morning until around 9am. A gobbler opened up not more than 150 yards behind me. I quickly moved around the tree and began working him. He never gobbled AT my calls. He would hammer crows, cars, the usual. He stayed in one spot for about a half hour and gobbled off and on. Then, the worst possible thing happened. He attracted the attention of a real hen... I could hear her up behind him, cutting and clucking. Then he went silent. 20 minute later, directly in front of me, I see a bird enter the picture... Aha! I thought. Nope wait... its not a long beard... its a freakin jake. He never did get within range or I most likely would have let him have it. I'm desperate to get back on the board!

Last Saturday pretty much sums up my last 4 seasons of turkey hunting. Bowhunting is my thing and I've become quite an accomplished trophy buck hunter (not bragging), so I consider myself a pretty good hunter. But I also love spring turkey season. This has just got me puzzled and baffled anymore. Freakin turkeys... getting up at 4am only to go and get embarrassed and outsmarted by something with a brain the size of a walnut..
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Try adding a glass and/or slate call to your arsenal! I've never once called in a turkey or even got one to gobble with a box call, so you got me beat there, but have called in and killed many a turkey with mouth, slate and glass calls. Give em a whirl!!
I've been debating on adding to my arsenal of calls. I do carry a glass call with me, but have only really used it in wet weather. I'll keep after it as usual, but man its been a tough road for me the last few years... lol
You're in the right spot.... stop thinking just because you call they'll come a running gobbling to your sound.

Be patient.

You said that a gobbler sounded off behind you and then would not answer yor calls and the worst thing happened when a hen came into him. That is exactly what is supposed to happen. Calling a gobbler to you is basically going against nature. The hen goes to the gobbler. It is when the hens are incubating the gobbler goes looking for sound and May come into call.

That is not to say that that other gobblers in the area won't come to your calls. May gobble , may cluck or put "where are you?", or may just come in silent.

Sometimes later in the morning is better to have a more receptive to call gobbler as well. Something to think about anyway.

Good luck...enjoy your time!
You mention having a lot of time to hunt. However, in your post I se you only mentioned this past Saturday and last Saturday. Are you hunting the weekdays? If you are only hunting Saturdays, you are really limiting yourself for success. I find it comical every year when I read about guys that say they had an awful season and the birds weren't cooperating, only to find out they hunted Saturdays only.

Now some guys are very limited because of family and work-but- analyzing a season based on only a few days of hunting is a terrible gauge. Again, I'm not sure if that's the case with you.

Turkeys really are day to day. They definitely have weeks that things really turn on, particularly late in the season when the hens are on the nest. All I've ever used are mouth calls and have had a lot of success with them. If you've got the hang of it, switch to triple reed with a v cut. In my opinion its sounds the most realistic and personally, I can pretty much mimic any hen I call in, which happens quite often. I recently started using pot calls because I feel you can't beat clucking with them.

Stick with it. You never know what day you'll go out there and the birds will just be letting loose. I miss very few days hunting during the season here in Va, and I can tell you thee were many mornings that were just flat awful, and as you mentioned, birds had absolutely zero interest in my calling. But the days they were responsive, I either killed or worked birds to the gun without a shot for various reasons.
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No, I'm hunting through the week a day or two as well. My job affords me the luxury of taking off quite a bit. I say only Saturdays as this year its been the couple of days I've actually had decent action. The one bird that we had commit was on a Wednesday (one that spooked).

I use three reed Woodhaven calls primarily and can use them pretty well. I can call the [censored] out of jakes! lol. It just really seems like the moment I switch back to a box call, I get better responses. Now maybe my mouth calling isn't good enough and I need to completely ditch the idea. But I know I've called in a killed a couple of long beards in years past with a mouth call and think I'm better now with them than 5 years ago. These birds on my property just love that high pitch tone of a box.
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