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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Before the season opened there was a lively debate posted about the effects of pre-season calling. I am curious how many feel that early calling was the reason that a particular bird couldn't be harvested or why they didn't fill their tag.
Personally, I saw no impact. Turkeys continued doing what they do. One day they'd gobble, next they didn't. One day they'd come to the call, next day walk away. One day they were vocal on the ground, next day they'd sneak in.
 

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I believe it does if they are spooked.
There is a difference hunting pressured animals vs. none pressured animals. Nobody can argue that.
 

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first off, i'd question why you'd want to anyways? males gobble, hens come to them. thats nature. calling toms to the hen is the reverse, so while it happens, its not going to happen a lot. why try and 'trick' him when there's no gain? if you've ever been in the woods, hens dont walk around all day clucking their heads off. compared to most guys, i call very little, and seldom blind call. thats the way the woods normally are, and the more normal the woods can stay, the less likely toms are going to know somethings up. i dont see any advantage to pre-season calling. locator calling is one thing, but i challenge to give a valid benefit to normal calling. and if there's no benefit, then why do it?
 

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I have extensive experience on this subject. It depends on how it is done. Call in a Tom and let him bust you, and you may not be able to fool him with that call again. Of coarse there are exceptionally aggressive birds that have hormones overiding natural senses that are vulnerable.

5 times I called a big boy to the porch. First time he was 7 ft from me standing next to garage. He lightly putted and slowly walked away.

By the time season came he had heard many different calls, boxes wingbone, slate, glass and my natural voice. He became a tuff to call all the way in to range gobbler. Played with that bird all season on and off rite up to the last day when he hung by his Spurs from the tree out front.

What called him in the end? Some leaf scratching. Still calling in my book.

How can a call maker not call to gobbling toms while tuning or final outdoor testing?
 

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IMO, a call or two in mid April will not have a lasting effect on a turkey in the month of May. But that's just an opinion. Having said that, I don't call at all pre-season. Don't really see the benefit if I don't have a gun in my hand. Scouting with your ears and feet are just as effective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I always felt that early season calling was just another way to let people enjoy the outdoors and let kids get excited calling/hearing gobbling birds. I feel it doesn't hurt a thing, but was wondering if others feel it's the reason their tags weren't filled by "educating" the birds.
 

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My first year at it I would go out in april and call birds in like crazy it was easy. I had no idea that you shouldn't do that, until I posted about it on here. Guys were quick to let me know the dangers of it. That season the birds that came in so easy, never showed and barely gobbled. That's about all that I have on that.

I don't do it before season now, and didn't kill a bird. LOL so I think it is all relative to how dead you beat the horse. If you are out scouting from a far, like a ridge top or something and fire off a few calls to try and locate birds to scout a bit closer I don't think it will have a lot of effect.

I had done that on the top of a hollow, one or two times pre season to try and keep tabs on a bird. I called that bird in to my buddy day 2 of the season and he killed him. But I think if I did that every day, or actually called the bird in, or in to range, I think the outcome would be different.

The thing is and that I learned this year is they are completely unpredictable. You can hunt a tom one day and he will roost in one spot, and do one thing, next day roost 60 yards away from original tree and do something totally different, try him on day three and he is roosted in the same spot as day one, and do something different.

Personally I think that the biggest thing to actually killing a gobbler, is not really related to how good you can call, or how much you call, its more about reading that bird, giving him what he wants to hear, and getting yourself set up in the direction he naturally wants to go. I got on a few birds this spring that had I set up different I would have shot. All in all it only takes one hen, to ruin months of scouting and hours of game planning.
 

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I spend almost the entire season hunting the same 600 acres. The area has a great bird population and often has satellite birds that move in and out through the season. But, I tend to know which are the resident birds based on consistent roosting locations.

I can say that the first time I work any one of those birds in the season, that is when they're most willing to come to the gun. If for one reason or another, aside from spooking them, I don't get a shot, it only gets more difficult calling them in as the season progresses. They will be more hesitant each time, may or may not gobble the same amount of times, but will likely not come quite in range compared to the previous times. And it only get worse from there.

This season I had a pair of what I believed to be 2 year olds that roosted together the the majority of the season. The first time I hunted them I called them right in off the roost. Unfortunately they were roosted near a private dirt road, and at the moment that I had a shot opportunity, barely in range, I could not take the shot because a car was driving on the road, and I did not want to draw attention to myself. They never spooked, but after coming in the final stretch clucking and looking for the hen, they did not see her and walked away. Those birds became increasingly difficult to hunt the remainder of the season, and I never did kill one.

That has pretty much been my pattern. One and done. If you don't get a shot at them the first go round you get them into range, the likelihood of doing it again are slim. But...they will gobble, are workable, but often times skirt the setup out of range, or go silent. That's just my experience. But I also lack patience, so it is possible these birds will still come in, but just slowly and silently.

I found jakes to be the same. I called in 7 together strutting the second day I was out, right into 20 yards. After letting them walk unspooked, I worked them other days but they never came that close again. Coincidence? And that has been the pattern with jakes the last few years as well.

So, as far as pre season calling goes, I would stay clear. Based on my in season experience that may be the one and only chance they will come in. And, as previously mentioned, you're reversing nature anyway. So add that into the mix as well.
 

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If you call a bird in and he busts you. That is spooked! Just calling to them to hear where they are and leave that's not spooked. I know idiots that try to call them in before season I think that is stupid and detrimental to later hunts. To each his own. I do very little preseason scouting any more after years of hunting them they are usually in the same places as they have been for years. Plus they let you know where they are.
 

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"If early calling spooked birds to that extent, no one would ever kill any the last two weeks of the season."

dont go to extremes; no one said that early calling ruins a bird for the season. all i, and several others who agree, believe is that it makes things a little harder. so that being said, whether one chooses to believe that or not, my challenge still remains: 'cite a valid reason pre-season calling is beneficial'. if one cannot be given, and there's several reasons for belief that it can be the opposite, then why do it?
 

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If a turkey is coming to a call and a hunter spooks him,the turkey has no ability to reason and does not think the hunter was calling like a turkey.Many times over the years I've called in birds and had people blow the shot,one way or the other and still managed to call in and kill the same bird on a different day.My son rolled one on the first day of the youth hunt last year and we called in and he killed the same bird a week later.We had an awesome late season this year and everyone of those birds were messed with for well over a month.Some were shot at at least two times prior.I think people give turkeys way too much credit.

I still see no reason to call them in before the season so I don't.I don't even bring a call with me when I scout.
 

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VaPa hunter said:
I can say that the first time I work any one of those birds in the season, that is when they're most willing to come to the gun. If for one reason or another, aside from spooking them, I don't get a shot, it only gets more difficult calling them in as the season progresses. They will be more hesitant each time, may or may not gobble the same amount of times, but will likely not come quite in range compared to the previous times. And it only get worse from there.
Have to agree.

Shed Antler said:
I believe it does if they are spooked.
There is a difference hunting pressured animals vs. none pressured animals. Nobody can argue that.
Absolutely agree.

South872 said:
first off, i'd question why you'd want to anyways?
Lol, I do it once in a while when scouting big country or unfamiliar areas just to get a response, then I'm out a there.

Kip Feroce said:
It depends on how it is done. Call in a Tom and let him bust you, and you may not be able to fool him with that call again. Of coarse there are exceptionally aggressive birds that have hormones overiding natural senses that are vulnerable.
Couldn't agree more!

Kip Feroce said:
How can a call maker not call to gobbling toms while tuning or final outdoor testing?
LOL...GREAT point Kip!!!
 

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Another thing I've noticed over my turkey hunting career while hunting many different areas and talking to a ton of turkey killers from all over, is that your perspective on a lot of things comes from the areas you hunt.

One of the reasons I'm so paranoid about putting any unnecessary pressure on the birds is that if there's a place in the country with more pressure than Eastern Pa., I feel sorry for the folks who hunt there, lol. The birds here get enough pressure without me adding to it.
 

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Yeah,I don't agree with any of that lol.I've never been able to pinpoint it but I believe turkeys go through different phases during the breeding season that can be interrupted by a number of factors,including but not limited to barometric pressure,weather,receptive hens etc.They're nothing more than paranoid,unpredictable birds that have no ability to reason.This season marked about the 10th time that I've seen a bird get leveled with a shotgun and the other birds just stood around or flogged the dead one.Usually they do take off at the slightest out of place movement but they don't always.I feel that it's nothing more than their moods changing day by day as the season progresses.I don't believe people calling to them has much to do with it.I do believe that over time,they may possibly evolve a little bit at a time but they don't react to calling from one week to the next.I hunted turkeys the 2nd and 3rd week this past year that I'm relatively certain didn't hear a call all season and they were only receptive on certain days.The last two weeks were insane and it was mostly mature birds that have been pressured constantly.
 

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I have extensive experience on this subject. It depends on how it is done. Call in a Tom and let him bust you, and you may not be able to fool him with that call again. Of coarse there are exceptionally aggressive birds that have hormones overiding natural senses that are vulnerable.

I don't believefor one second that a turkey has the ability to remember a certain call.
 

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It can make the hunting more challenging for sure. That is the way some of us like it.

Why do it? Sheer joy!

When I have a silly tom enter the call testing zone it is very difficult not to want to make him talk with several different calls. Sheer joy. Tactics may need altered to harvest an educated Tom but, he is after all, only a bird.
 

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I don't believefor one second that a turkey has the ability to remember a certain call.[/quote]

Certainly not for sake of disagreement.

You may want to reconsider that one. A poult knows it's mother's voice. Turkey have a very good ability to distinguish certain calls. I also have extensive experience with this exact subject.

Here is an example of a birds ability to distinguish between calls. When the penguin females return to there mates it is the calls from the mate that locate the male holding her egg. Please explain then how any bird cannot distinguish between calls. You know your families voices and friends and coworkers. How is it different for birds?
 
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