I’m confused about whether I should sit and be patient or walk and call more. My buddy kills turkeys by cutting and running, but I seem to have better luck staying put. What do you suggest? — Ben Minn, Rochester, N.Y.
Editor’s note: We went straight to an expert: Ernie Calendrelli, public relations director for Quaker Boy. Here’s his response.
Cutting and running is a very good way to work multiple turkeys, and you used to have to do that. There was no choice because turkey populations weren’t as good then as they are now.
But nowadays, I believe as long as you don’t have wind, a gobbler hears your calling 90 percent to 95 percent of the time. There are just so many of them now.
I don’t want to put any more fear into turkeys than they naturally have. The only time I’m going to cutt and run is if I have a lot of territory and only a couple of days to hunt it. I’m going to sit right there and let them come to me.
Also, I believe in a lot of cases, you kill older, longer-spurred turkeys by sitting and waiting than by running and gunning.
If I’m cold-calling, I like to take my best stuff and lay it around me in a semicircle, or at least where I can reach it all. I’ll start on one end of the circle and work to the other end. Especially later in the morning, I might start off a bit slow. But after that, I’m going to ratchet it up. In a lot of cases, it might be the first, second or third time through those calls when you strike (a gobbler). Maybe he likes a high-pitched call, maybe he prefers something else, or maybe was so far away that he wasn’t gobbling at it at first. When I find that call, I’ll stay with it because I know he likes it.
Sometimes, he’ll have hens around him, and they’re carrying on, but he won’t say a word. But every time you call, he cuts you off. You’re just a strange hen to him. He hasn’t heard you before, and he’s trying to get you over to him.
The older and fatter I get, the more patience I seem to have. That’s why we manufacture calls: to make turkeys come to us, not for us to have to go to them.
There’s no doubt in my mind that a lot of people move way too quickly. If that turkey sees you and boogers, you drive him off the property, make him go silent or make him that much more cautious when he comes in. If you play your cards right, you can hang his fan on the wall later.