dollarbill300 wrote:I am new to this forum and this is my first year of hunting. I was hoping to get some tips with turkey hunting. I live in south carolina and the season here is only the month of april. I have been out a few times this season with no luck. I did some scouting before the season started and thought I had found some good areas. Turns out I was wrong. I hear gobbling within a short range, but I am having trouble calling them in closer. I use a slate friction call with a wood striker. I stay in one spot until about noon. Any gobbling stops after about 8:30 am. One of my questions is this: do hunters use calls that sound like gobbling, or are those turkeys I am hearing? I have tried sitting close to a small open field, in the woods close to a river, walked up to higher ground, nothing. I have 2 decoys, a tom and a feeding hen. Every time I go, I go to an area that I heard them the time before. The most recent trip, I saw 3 about 250 yards away from me walking through an open field heading towards the woods. When I saw them I started using the slate call. They stopped, looked in my direction with their heads up, and after about a minute they continued into the woods. I could not tell if they were toms or hens. I am completely confused about what to do. One day I was talking to another hunter that was out there about how tough it was and he said "yeah it's tough because the stupid ones have been caught". I thought that was pretty funny. Any help would be greatly appreciated....
I'd suggest you get up with an experienced turkey hunter to help show you the ropes. That would help you learn good habits without needing to go through the entire process and making beginner-type mistakes. It takes a bit of practice and experience to learn the turkey hunting game and one who is more experienced could help shorten your learning curve.
It does sound like the gobblers are still henned up and may not be as receptive to your calls right now. Even though turkeys may realize they're being pursued, it is not impossible to tag one in the middle of the season.
If you already know where they like to go to roost or strut, that could pay benefits for you later in the day. Once the hens have been bred and go to sitting on the nest, you can often find lonesome gobblers wandering around in the late morning looking for receptive hens. This can be one of the best time of year to hunt gobblers. Since they're actively looking, they will respond to hen calls very positively. Make sure you are well hidden and as still as possible, because that's an equally big part of successful turkey hunting. Turkeys are a prey animal and if they see something they don't recognize moving around, they're not going to wait around to check on what it is. They'll just get gone.
Make sure you practice on your call to get to sound as realistic as you can. I'm not a great caller, but I'm good enough and have convinced plenty of gobblers to come my way. Practice learning one call at a time until you get a feel for each one. Even though it helps to have a huge turkey vocabulary in your bag of tricks, it is not absolutely necessary to master lots of different turkey sounds to kill turkeys. Learn, the cluck, the purr, the yelp, and cutting for basic calls. Improve and expand them as you can.
Patience goes hand in hand with sitting still, though if you sit until noon, you are ahead of a lot of people. If you can get near a good place turkeys already like to hang out (undetected), it can be easier to call turkeys to a place they already want to go. Make sure you don't over-call either. Too much calling helps give away your location and if your calling is off or repetitious, they will know to avoid the area. Just because a turkey answers you doesn't mean he's going to come visit either. I found it is better to call sparingly and rouse their curiosity to get the to come looking for you, than it is to call too much and have the gobbler expect for the hen he's hearing to come to him. Nature's design has the gobblers calling and hens responding to and visiting the gobbler. As turkey hunters, we're turning that around and attempting to coax the gobbler to come to us. It works some of the time, but it doesn't work more often. A number of things have to come together just right for anyone to kill a gobbler. Sometimes it can be difficult and sometimes the gobbler will run right down your gun barrel.
If you found which direction the turkeys were going and could get out ahead of the without being seen, you could head them off. If you found where turkeys liked to travel or relax & scratch the ground in an area, you could stick close to there (well hidden, of course) and call to a gobbler who is out cruising after his hens have got to the nest.
Stick with it. It is all about desire...you gotta want it. I wish there was a better way to pass on information online, but experience really is the best teacher. That's why it would be best to have someone help you along and teach you the ropes. No matter what you do, get out there and go after 'em. You're going to make mistakes along the way, but you'll learn the hard way what won't work and what it will take to become a successful turkey hunter. I hope this helps some. Good luck to you.