What helped you become a better turkey hunter?

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Cut N Run
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What helped you become a better turkey hunter?

Postby Cut N Run » January 17th, 2013, 9:11 am

This is kind of an open question, but I got to thinking about what helped me the most and it would be interesting to hear what others here have to say.

I have to say confidence and learning to use my calls better are what has helped me the most. One feeds the other. I have always had a ton of patience and can sit for hours if I need to, as long as I'm reasonably comfortable. I remember early on in my turkey hunting career that I had doubts if I was in the right place or if my calling sounded real enough. That was not a good combination. I learned that by sitting still in the turkey woods before the season started and listening to every sound I heard, where the right places to go were and what volume, rhythm, and cadence the turkeys made in their calls to each other. Reading the sign and setting up closer to the roost and loafing areas increased my turkey sightings. At home, I practiced and learned one call at a time until I got better at duplicating some of the real turkey's calls. I called in several birds for others before I ever shot one for myself. That's backwards to how most hunters learn the game, but it allowed me access to hunt land I wouldn't normally get to hunt. It was actually a great way to learn what works and what doesn't. All I had to do was be still and make the right calls. My confidence went up because I was successful at bringing turkeys to others hunter's guns.

I started practicing calling year 'round. While I'm not a good enough caller to win any contests, I have fooled plenty of gobblers. There is kind of a second sense you get and an ability to tease gobblers into staying interested and attracted to your calling. It doesn't always work, but when you hit it and it works, you'll know. I get invited to call for buddies of mine who don't have quite as much calling skill. It is kind of like when I started to realize what works and what doesn't and when things started to come together for me.

How about you?

Luck Counts, good or bad

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Re: What helped you become a better turkey hunter?

Postby ShepleyC26 » January 17th, 2013, 11:09 am

Short and sweet....Time in the turkey woods....like you've said, the more you spend time around them the more you will understand what their everyday tendancies are. That equals quality hunting time and delicious meat on the table.
I have also found that since I learned to cutt well on a mouth call, I get waaaay more responses.
Woodhaven Custom Calls is my choice, Copperhead is deadly...can do it all

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Re: What helped you become a better turkey hunter?

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » January 17th, 2013, 11:38 am

I would have to say the birds themselves. Living where I do, I'm forced to hunt hard headed high pressuered public land birds, unless you are related or have a heavy checkbook, getting on private land in near imposable, even being related doesn't help you that much. That being said it forces you to learn everything you can from the birds, how to call, how to setup, what calls to use ect. It teaches you tricks that most wouldn't think about using to be a consecutive turkey tag filler. Calling birds on private land and birds on public land is almost like trying to call two different birds, they react differently. You learn how to work them, how to set up on them, how to use weather conditions to your favor, it teaches you to use the breeding cycle and how to work birds through it, and what to do and what not to do.

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Re: What helped you become a better turkey hunter?

Postby stankyolgobbler » January 17th, 2013, 12:00 pm

Cut N Run wrote: While I'm not a good enough caller to win any contests, I have fooled plenty of gobblers. There is kind of a second sense you get and an ability to tease gobblers into staying interested and attracted to your calling.

This is the same for me. When I get into a setup situation on a bird, I have no questions about if I can call. Even though I don't sound like Shane Hendershot or Matt Morrett, I can lay out a verse that he can't stand. I am CONFIDENT in my calling. So I would say having confidence has helped me become a better turkey hunter.
-Sage Morris

I like 'em close.....I mean REAL close.


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Re: What helped you become a better turkey hunter?

Postby Treerooster » January 17th, 2013, 12:18 pm

For me I think it would be always wanting to know the "why" of things.

Why was I able to call up a particular gobbler, or just as importantly if not more so, why wasn't I able to.

Or why are the turkeys using this area instead of the one they used last year, or last week.

I don't always find an answer to the "why", but actively looking for it has helped me understand more about turkeys and hunting them.

For me once I know the "why" the what & how come easier.
As far as this turkey thing......I know enough...to know enough...that I don't know enough

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Re: What helped you become a better turkey hunter?

Postby xcal1ber » January 17th, 2013, 12:41 pm

Experience.. Knowing what to say to the turkeys and how much to say was probably the biggest difference between me bring home a bird and not.
There's more fun in hunting with the handicap of the bow than there is in hunting with the sureness of the gun.
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Re: What helped you become a better turkey hunter?

Postby fallhunt » January 17th, 2013, 1:02 pm

Hunting in the fall.Thats when you hear it all and see it all.

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Re: What helped you become a better turkey hunter?

Postby shaman » January 17th, 2013, 1:04 pm

Time in the field has done more to help me be a better turkey hunter than anything else. I went my first 20 years only getting a day or two a year to hunt. Once I had a week to devote to it, the secrets of hunting turkey were revealed to me in a big way.

Second was getting my own land on which to hunt turkeys. Being able to see several generations of turkeys using the same piece of land has been a huge boost to my ability to hunt them.
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries of SW Bracken County, KY

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Re: What helped you become a better turkey hunter?

Postby eggshell » January 17th, 2013, 1:49 pm

There used to be a commercial that said, "confidence is very sexy", that is true in turkey calling too. When you have confidence you present a better call sound and sequence. You will also make more calls of different types, you feel better about when to call, ect. You gain this confidence with experience. when I had bird dogs and was training them I had an old mentor who told me his perspective on dog training, and I think it applies to turkey hunting. His position was it took 1,000 contacts to make a good bird dog. A contact is anytime a dog encounters scent or a bird in a hunting situation. So it wasn't a matter of years, but of experience that made a dog. I don't know if the number is 1,000 for turkey hunters, but contacts do count. Now, contacts do not require that you are carrying a gun, they simply are as stated any contact with wild turkeys in a non spooked state. In the early years I gained a lot of contact by being out in the woods before season, especially when winter flocks were breaking up and spring pecking order was being established. The biggest boost came with fall hunting as I learned so much more about turkey social structure. Also, contact with other hunters counts. Sharing of experiences like what happens on this forum counts as contacts. So think about how many times you encounter something turkey and take a count. Let's say the number is 1,000, start with the last year and estimate your contacts and start a descending count, that is how long it will take you to be a seasoned turkey hunter. So the more you can put yourself around turkeys in any form or discussions on turkeys the more efficient you be hunting them.
Bust em, Bag em, thank HIm

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Re: What helped you become a better turkey hunter?

Postby charlie elk » January 17th, 2013, 2:18 pm

Realizing turkeys are usually very random in their activities.

When I started turkey hunting 30 years ago I was coming from the background of an avid deer hunter and hunted turkeys the way I hunted deer expecting them to be pattern-able and think much like deer. I came to appreciate turkeys are birds with little to no thought process or memory and a lot of their days are spent wandering around on a trial and error basis. Ever since this realization and adjusted tactics I have never had a "zip" year in the turkey woods.

About the same time I quit following the "book" about turkey calling and became unafraid to call a lot even though my calling doesn't sound that good. What counts is the turkeys think it's good enough. Call shy turkeys are a myth created by hunters who believe turkeys have memories and reasoning abilities. I believe most turkey hunters have read that "book" and do not call enough thereby handicapping their chances of killing a turkey.
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.


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