Decision Time: A Fool and His Mouth Call

In this interactive feature, Editor Brian Lovett shares a scenario from his 20+ years of turkey hunting, asking "What would you do?"
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Decision Time: A Fool and His Mouth Call

Postby Brian Lovett » January 14th, 2011, 11:06 am

In "Decision Time," Editor Brian Lovett will share a scenario from his 20-plus years hunting turkeys. Each hinges on a critical decision. Post what choice you would have made, and then see how things actually turned out.

Decision Time: A Fool and His Mouth Call

It was the third day of my five-day Wisconsin turkey period, and I was starting to feel the pressure.

Oh, I'd gotten into the turkeys, mind you. I'd made a great move in the rain on Day 1, intercepting a traveling breeding flock and spooking them into the next county.

On Day 2, I'd struck a pepper-hot longbeard on a long point, and yelped my head off as I reeled him in ... only to booger him with an ill-timed movement at the moment of truth. He'd been so hot -- I am not making this up -- that he'd gobbled in between his putts as he sprinted off.

On Day 3, I finally pulled one gobble from a turkey on the point. I assumed it was the same bird, but of course, I couldn't be sure. It didn't matter. He gobbled once and then shut up.

"OK," thought. "Maybe he's coming. Or maybe I boogered him so bad yesterday that he won't work. Or maybe he's with hens."

The early-spring woods were still wide open, so I couldn't move on him. I'd have to try him from the same setup as the previous day, but I didn't know how to call to him. Should I go at him hard and aggressive like the day before? That didn't seem prudent, but he'd eaten it up 24 hours earlier. Or should I give him something different to chew on, hoping the soft, subtle approach would work?

What would you have done? Post your decision below.

Click here for Lovett's decision.

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RE: Decision Time: A Fool and His Mouth Call

Postby simpzenith » January 14th, 2011, 12:43 pm

I would probably call aggressive for a minute or two, using a really raspy slate call, then go quiet. Hopefully curiosity will get the better of him. If he doesn't show himself after 45-60 minutes, it's time to relocate and change calls.
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RE: Decision Time: A Fool and His Mouth Call

Postby Gobblerman » January 14th, 2011, 5:33 pm

Another one of my turkey hunting axioms is "you can't take back calling", which, to summarize, essentially means that it is generally best to start conservatively and then work towards the aggressive stuff.  Gobblers may not come to passive, conservative turkey calling, but they are less likely to spook from it or become suspicious than they seem to be with aggressive calling. 
In this case, I would give him some sparse, soft yelping/clucking/purring to start with, and after a while, if nothing happened and he didn't show, I would then hit him with some agressive cutting and cutt/yelp sequences. 

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RE: Decision Time: A Fool and His Mouth Call

Postby TeocTom » January 15th, 2011, 4:34 am

Take his temperature. I would start soft and if that didn't draw a response I would get agressive. 24 hours may not have been long enough for him to get yesterdays encounter out of his thinking. Try something different.

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RE: Decision Time: A Fool and His Mouth Call

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » January 17th, 2011, 10:33 am

Without knowing just how far that gobbler was from you makes this a tough disission. If your close enough to hear hens, then I'd be checking to see if there was hens with him with some lost bird calls or a few kee kee runs, those will usally get a hen to sound off but I wouldn't use the same call he answered you with just a couple of min ago. If he answers again with only one gobble and you don't get any hen responces, then I agree with Jim. I'd start off soft and work my way up to aggressive checking his temp as you go.

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RE: Decision Time: A Fool and His Mouth Call

Postby Fan Club » January 17th, 2011, 2:50 pm

I'm with G-Man and Teo, give him some sparse, soft yelping/clucking/purring combined with some confidence calls- raking in the leaves or wing flaps on the pants leg with hat or wing. The jury is still out on a turkey's memory and he might associate aggressive calling with yesterday's episode. Aggressive calling often triggers competitive hens as well.
While being aggressive sometimes works, subtle often wins the day.
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RE: Decision Time: A Fool and His Mouth Call

Postby Cut N Run » January 18th, 2011, 5:49 pm

I've had a similar scenario play out and blew it by calling too aggressively same as the day before. The gobbler came near my set-up & warily cruised around the area, taking his time as he went. He never got close enough for a shot and my hands were pretty much tied by how long he took to study the area. Thankfully, some real hens showed up and towed him off.

I left him alone for 5 days and tried him with some quiet clucks & purrs on a morning after it had rained hard the day before. He was very interested & came in quickly. The last thing to go through his mind was some of my #6 shot.

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RE: Decision Time: A Fool and His Mouth Call

Postby TRapper » March 27th, 2011, 9:15 am

i would have taken out my trusty box call and put in a few quick loud yelps to see if he is at all interested
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