Locator Calls

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shaman
 
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Locator Calls

Postby shaman » March 20th, 2012, 9:22 am

Scott Ellis is up on the front page of the website this morning, explaining how he uses locator calls instead of hen calls to get gobblers to sound off as he's moving in to set up on them. It got me to thinking.

I hardly ever use a locator call any more. Oh, I did. I used to owl and crow and use a hawk whistle when I first moved out to the farm. In fact I did it a lot. Then I started to listen. My gobblers might take a bit longer than I wanted to sound off, but usually they did. They had enough coaxing from the rest of the world; they did not need me.

I'm in a rural area-- a bunch of fallow farms, and a lot of woods in between. In some directions, I do not have a neighbor for over a mile. Still there are enough noises early in the morning to usually keep the gobblers going. A car door slams over on the next ridge, a school bus changes gear out on the country road, a rooster crows. For a number of years a neighbor's donkey used to keep the gobblers going all morning. Then it was another neighbor's guinea fowl. Of course there were always plenty of crows and hawks to fill in any big gaps. Little by little, I reduced the number of times I went to the locator, and then I have pretty much given up entirely.

Scott's video got me thinking more: When I get a gobbler to answer a locator call, what does that really tell me? Yes, I've goaded him into answering. However, how hot was he before I called? On the other hand, if I wait a little while and let something in the natural sound environment set him off, I can slide in on him without causing any fuss, and I have a much better idea of how hot he is. It may have taken him a car door, two crows and school bus to get him to sound off or it may have been just one noisy squirrel.

The thing of it is, I don't know if this conservative strategy really buys me anything. I think it does. I think it gives me a bit more stealth, and a bit more info on my opponent. However, I'm open to conversation on it. What do y'all think?
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries of SW Bracken County, KY
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Cut N Run
 
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Re: Locator Calls

Postby Cut N Run » March 20th, 2012, 11:01 am

I seldom use locator calls either. Besides, I already carry too much junk. Most of the time I already know the places I intend to set up. If I hear one gobbing on his own or at a crow, woodpecker, or whatever, I move closer to his position and get ready before I make any calls myself. A series of cutts on a box call usually grabs his attention pretty quick and may get him coming.

About the only time I use locator calls is when I'm hunting unfamiliar land and am just hoping to strike a gobbler before I get busted by him. Most of the time I already know where I'm going and I have a pretty good idea of where he's headed. Scouting pays.

Jim
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ylpnfol
 
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Re: Locator Calls

Postby ylpnfol » March 20th, 2012, 12:47 pm

i'm w/both you guys, somewhat, i rarely if ever use a locator at dawn, only if they don't gobble within the first hr. or so.....now if i'm prospecting later in the morn i will blow a crow or woodpecker call to try and get one to reveal his location. locator calls, in my opinion, are just that....to locate the rascals, hopefully....they won't tell you how hot or cold the bird is, but will let you slip in on him, w/out bumping him, so you can set up and take his temperature w/ some turkey talk.....
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Gopherlongbeards
 
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Re: Locator Calls

Postby Gopherlongbeards » March 20th, 2012, 5:43 pm

I never use locator calls. Just turkey calls when hunting, or plain listening if roosting. If they aren't gobbling on their own when I'm roosting I'll use a turkey call then too. I'm sure some day I'll bump a bird thats coming towards my call, but it hasn't happened yet (that I know of). Most of my hunting experience has been on large tracts of forested land (1000's of acres, usually public), so it isn't too difficult to move around without being seen. Its all a numbers game in that situation really. The more gobblers I find, the more I can set up on, the more (in theory) I'll get a shot at. If a bird won't respond to loud insistent calling, then I'm not really interested in him anyways, and will go find another one that will. I'm sure this would be different If I were hunting on smaller more open tracts of land. Probably not a whole lot though, its just the way I prefer to hunt.

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Treerooster
 
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Re: Locator Calls

Postby Treerooster » March 20th, 2012, 7:41 pm

shaman wrote:The thing of it is, I don't know if this conservative strategy really buys me anything. I think it does. I think it gives me a bit more stealth, and a bit more info on my opponent. However, I'm open to conversation on it. What do y'all think?


I don't understand how a car door slaming or a real crow gives you "more stealth" than you making a crow call or whatever noise you use, besides turkey calls, to get a gobbler to respond. I mean, whats the differenc if a crow sounds off 100 yards east of the gobbler, or you sound off 100 yards west of the gobbler. Do you think the gobbler hears your crow call and thinks that you are a hunter?

Also how can you tell a gobblers mood better when he responds to a noise the neighbors make than one you make?
As far as this turkey thing......I know enough...to know enough...that I don't know enough

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xcal1ber
 
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Re: Locator Calls

Postby xcal1ber » March 21st, 2012, 1:09 am

I never use a crow or owl call.. I guess its just because the gobblers are used to it and they rarely ever respond to either of the two.. Every now and then down in my neck of the woods when the owls start cackling to each other, a gobbler, might gobble. Like Jim said, I use my scouting to my advantage and hopefull already have a general idea as to where majority of the birds are through all phases of the day.. Seems like my go to locator call when the boys are tight lipped is my Primos gobbler shaker. Majority of the time that will get the gobbler to fire off at least once and thats all I need. Though sometimes I need him to gobble a few times depending on where im at, because in the mountains and hollars I hunt, sometimes it will sound like he's in the opposite direction that he really is. All in all, I think scouting A LOT is your best bet. As for me, another gobbler call locates them better than hardly anything.
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charlie elk
 
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Re: Locator Calls

Postby charlie elk » March 21st, 2012, 8:51 am

Unless the turkeys are fired up on their own first thing in the morning I owl hoot to get a shock gobble. Even if I roosted the tom the night before I like early confirmation he was not spooked out during the night.
During the rest of the day I "troll" making turkey sounds not useless noise because I want a responding tom that is available & interested in me not just one who is busy, was shocked into gobbling with intention of coming in soon.
later,
charlie
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swpatrkyhunter
 
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Re: Locator Calls

Postby swpatrkyhunter » March 21st, 2012, 3:54 pm

I use locator calls when I feel the need for them. But the areas I hunt tend to be a bit tricky for approching birds. I have learned the hard way that useing a turkey call can cause a bird to meet you when your heading to him and spoil your plans. So I try not to use a turkey call to locate birds. I do however listen for where crows are. Seems like they hover in an area where turkeys are. Sometimes useing a crow call will get an answer back from some crows who are hanging around some clammed up turkeys. My hunting buddy and I have slipped in on many birds like that . Unfortunatly I have for many years been one of those guys that have a 90 pound vest opening day and by seasons end don't even bother with a vest at all half the time. I sometimes use calls that are not meant for turkey locating to strike up birds when the woods are dead quiet and they won't make a peep. Sometimes a duck call works and a few times when nothing seemed to get a rise out of the birds, of all things a rabbit sqealer for coyote hunting has opened the door. First time I use it my buddy and I had went to an area that we had seen turkey signs in deer season. It was a "lets try this place" kind of thing after an unsuccesful early morning. So we walking to the top of a power line and hit a few calls. Crow, woodpeaker, red tailed hawk, Box call, Mouth call. Nothing. I noticed I had put my rabbit sqealer in my vest by mistake and we figured, What the heck! Before I was finished A bird gobbled over the hill from us. We moved down and got at the edge of the ridge. From there he was able to hear our calls much better. After an exciting 45 minutes of calling and thunderous gobbles he poped his head up right in front of my buddy. Unfortunatly he missed. I saw the Lod gobbler run about 70 yards from me. No way I could or would take the shot. I still to this day raz my buddy about that bird. Although we did'nt get the bird we still had a great time.
If it gobbles,runs on gas, or is married to you it will give you trouble!

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shaman
 
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Re: Locator Calls

Postby shaman » March 22nd, 2012, 5:33 am

Treerooster wrote:I don't understand how a car door slaming or a real crow gives you "more stealth" than you making a crow call or whatever noise you use, besides turkey calls, to get a gobbler to respond. I mean, whats the differenc if a crow sounds off 100 yards east of the gobbler, or you sound off 100 yards west of the gobbler. Do you think the gobbler hears your crow call and thinks that you are a hunter?

Also how can you tell a gobblers mood better when he responds to a noise the neighbors make than one you make?


Let me address the stealth thing first. My feeling is that any time I sound off with a locator call, the gobbler that answers (as well as the ones that don't) know something's up. The call may or may not be perfect, but somehow that gobbler knows something is out of the ordinary. Being a suspicious bird by nature, he's alerted. Now that alert may amount to nothing in the end, but I believe it can affect the outcome of the hunt. That's an opinion, and I'm willing to listen to differences.

Then you have the gobblers that don't gobble when I use a locator call. I may have a gobbler at 200 yards sound off. What about the gobbler at 80? Is he not answering, because he is not interested? Or is it that he is suspicious of the loud call coming from somewhere it should not? Again, I don't know. That's why I brought up this topic.

Now you have the gobbler that responds to the car door slamming over on the next ridge. In that case, I can pretty well conclude that he's hot. If I have my choice of gobblers, that one sounds like he is on a hair trigger. On the other hand, if I come out the door and start owling, I may or may not be able to figure out which bird is hotter than the others.

Now comes the most subtle question of all: do gobblers discern a difference between a natural source and a human doing a locator call? Again, I cannot say for sure. However, what I do know is most locator calling is done without context. If you're out there long enough, you know there is a rhythm to the sounds in the morning. There is a flow. I try to figure out that flow and work with it. The crow that sounds off is already part of that flow. When I sound off, I can be subtly off from the flow and it will probably sound that way to the gobbler. I do not know whether that means anything to the gobbler, but I like to err on the safe side.

I've got to run for now.
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries of SW Bracken County, KY
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shaman
 
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Re: Locator Calls

Postby shaman » March 23rd, 2012, 8:13 am

I had another thought on this, specifically regarding car door slamming issue.

When I'm out and I hear a gobbler sounding off in response to something besides my locator call, the source of the noise is usually not between me and the gob. It may be way off, but it may trigger a gobbler close in to me. If on the other hand I pull out my crow call at mid-day or owl early in the morning, I may set off gobblers on the next ridge, but if there is a hidden gob close up to me, he may shut down and not respond because what I'm throwing him is too loud and out of place.

I think a lot of the difference in how we use locator calls has to do with the intimacy of the hunting venue. What I mean is that if you are out on a 10,000 acre WMA, you are looking for any gobbler in earshot of your locator call. You may have to range several miles to get in with a gob. A guy like me has only 200 acres to work with. It takes me only a few minutes to walk anywhere on the property, and I know three listening posts on the place where I can go and hear all the action on that side of the farm. Furthermore, if I use a locator call a lot during the season, I find my gobblers getting tired of it. I have to use it judiciously. In fact, I have to be careful on all my calls not to over-expose the gobblers, and I'm constantly changing out my calls to present a different sound texture to the turkeys. I also have a good idea where all the huntable gobs are roosting-- if I ain't hearing them there, there or there. I know they've gone quiet on me, and I have to work them differently.
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