By Steve Hickoff
Ask any of my turkey buds, and they’ll say I call a lot. Aggressively even. Other times a dose of silence is my best vocalization.
As with other forms of game calling, the right mix of yelping and staying quiet is the ticket for punching turkey tags. You might have some trouble convincing everyone that it works though.
“Why’d you stop calling?” my good buddy barked, his boot sole resting on a flopping longbeard’s head.
My response: “You killed that turkey because I shut up.” His glaring look at that comment was priceless.
“So you’re trying to tell me you called this gobbler in by not calling anymore!?” He grinned, full of post-kill bliss, but was also puzzled, and more than a little curious about this twist in his turkey-hunting education. New to our tradition, he’s a hardcore deer hunter, but learning the game we play with wild turkeys. Truth is, we all learn every time we hit the spring gobbler woods.
“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” I told him.
You see the hunt started with me raising the gobbler from the dirt trail by mouth calling. It hammered to my first few locator yelps. We advanced and set up. I clucked, yelped, cutting hard. The gobbler ripped back at every vocalization I made, but wouldn’t budge from thick cover. He was hot as a gun barrel at a skeet range but wouldn’t move into view.
This went on for a quarter of an hour. So I shut up.
More minutes passed. The turkey gobbled and gobbled again. I could feel my buddy’s impatience. And then that big longbeard eased from edge cover into the open green grass, nervously pecked at the ground, and met a swarm of pellets.