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When Do You Move On a Turkey?

calandrelliI’ve always heard that patience is a virtue when turkey hunting, but when I sit still, birds always seem to go the other way. How do you know when you should move on a turkey? — Allen Cross, Lake City, Fla.

That’s a tough question, so we put it to an expert: Ernie Calandrelli, director of public relations for Quaker Boy. Here’s his response:

Depending on where a turkey is at, the closer I can get to him, the better. The only exception is when I’ve patterned him and know where he’s going, whether it’s to a field, a food source or a place where he’s meeting hens. Then, I’m going to try to get between him and that spot or set up in that spot.

If he’s on the limb and he gobbles, all I want him to do is honor my call. That’s all you need to do until he’s on the ground.

I always give a roosted bird the easy stuff first — just real soft tree yelps and clucks with a soft, subtle call. If they’re going to work and come in to that, I’m going to stay with that.

If I think a turkey has flown down with hens, I might try to circle around to the other side of him, especially if I have an idea of where he’s going. But if he’s alone, I’ll just sit right there. He knows where that call came from, and he’s doing his turkey thing. He’s expecting you to come to him. In either situation, it really helps to have a vest that lets you sit comfortably or allows you to pick up and move at a moment’s notice.

The beauty of spring gobbler hunting is that every morning is opening morning. You can work the same bird for 14 or 15 days and then go back on the 16th or 17th, and he comes right in.

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