Turkey Hunting: Slow & Low Can Be Right Call

Turkey Hunting: Slow & Low Can Be Right Call
Gob-Father by Strut Commander

Sure, the season is short and other hunters are out there looking to score, but keep in mind that plenty of times slow and low is the right turkey hunting call.

File photo, wild turkeys.


Michael Waddell is anything but passive. If you catch him quiet, he's probably in the woods.



Waddell says he's come to realize that gobblers are lit up looking for hens in the first weeks of the spring season, and they don't need encouragement to charge in.

"It's amazing," he said. "I'll have one night photo of a buck, and I'll sit for 10 hours waiting against all odds. But when we roost turkeys, we know exactly where they are. Yet we still move all the time, way too much."


Typically, Waddell is an aggressive turkey hunter. He'll use reaper decoys and fightin' purrs as he kicks at the ground and smashes decoys into the dirt to bring a gobbler running. But he knows that aggressive is not always the best tactic.


Besides early season, he also goes against his nature when he hunts alone.

"Alone, I take a passive approach," said Waddell. "I appreciate the time in the woods. Let the hunt come to me versus going to it."


Turkey Calls for 2017

Gob-Father by Strut Commander

GOB-FATHER/Strut Commander

This three-reed batwing cut is Jordan Summit's favorite for quiet calling. This call is considered a "pro style" and is one of the more difficult to master. But once you do, you can produce a range of calls with it, from yelps and purrs to cutts and clucks.

Ghoset Hen by Knight & Hale Calls

GHOST HEN/Knight & Hale Calls

Waddell likes this latex call because the reeds are soft, but they are a little thicker. This 2 1/2-reed ghost cut takes a little more air to make it work well, but the sound is very distinctive. "Ghost or shipwreck cuts are my favorite for a soft, subtle hen yelp. You can check a turkey's temperature with one and not blow him out of the woods," Waddell said.

Freak Nasty/Flextone Calls

FREAK NASTY/Flextone Calls

This Freak Nasty, in double batwing, is Flextone's top-selling mouth call. It's got a wide range, and that's probably the draw. It's a triple-reed that will give up deep tones when you soft cluck and purr.


COMMANDING PRESENCE

Jordan Summit, one of the Strut Commanders, also rarely slows down. But he learned to chill during a hunt when he should have stayed put.

With his back against a wide tree, he watched a gobbler strut out of range. Summit knew there were jakes around and thought it best to stay put. But after a while, the urge to command was too much. He called, and the tom gobbled and was then attacked by five jakes.

"They stomped him," said Summit. "Looking back, we should have just waited till he got closer. Once he gobbled, that was it."

Summit also uses low-key tactics toward the end of the season, going with light yelping, especially on areas that have been hunted hard.

"A lot of people just stop hunting the last few weeks," said Summit. "But I find soft purring and clucking will get the job done."

BIRDS AND BEES

Last season, I got a lesson in passive tactics with champion caller Shane Simpson and Mike Burns in rolling hills where we roosted three gobblers the night before. The birds flew down but stayed about 100 yards away. They saw our decoys but followed hens over a knoll out of sight; I wanted to jump up and ambush them.

"Let's wait it out," said Burns.

"Let's not," I said. But Simpson sided with Burns.

We could see them pop their heads above the hill, as if making sure our decoys were still there.

Slowly, as they were bred, hens started moving away. Two hours later, the last hen walked away, and the gobblers turned our way. I was impressed.

"I had a feeling once they finished with the hens they'd come looking for more," said Simpson. "They saw our decoys and knew they weren't going anywhere. Staying put paid off."

Recommended for You

Field Tested: Lightweight Raingear

David Draper - May 30, 2019

Our picks for stuffable protection against any weather.

News

Game & Fish Magazine Names New Editorial Director

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

Adam Heggenstaller takes over after 14 years with NRA Publications.

Hogs

Quick Tips: How to Spot and Stalk a Hog

Ian Nance - May 28, 2019

Try these tips to improve your wild boar hunting skill set.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mustad's Saltwater Jig Lineup

Russ Whisler shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the innovative features and great color schemes in Mustad's voluminous lineup of saltwater jigs introduced at ICAST 2019.

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Pro angler Jonathan VanDam showcases new offerings at ICAST 2019, including the ultra-thin, big bait boxes, LED-lighted boxes and backpack-able gear lockers. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

From rugged reliability to smooth integration of cutting edge technology across several different platforms, OSG's Lynn Burkhead learns that there's much to like about the new Optimum and Optimum TS downriggers from Canon.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper - April 02, 2015

We all have our "swear by" bait for catfish. For me, it is chicken liver, live shad or my...

Catfish

12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.

Bass

7 Best Bets For New Jersey Largemouth Bass

October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll...

See More Stories

More Turkey

Forecast

West Virginia Turkey Hunting Outlook 2019

Bruce Ingram

Last year hunters had the best season in 15 years. Find out what's in store for this year.

Turkey

Turkey Scouting with a Man and His Dog

Ron Sinfelt

Scenes from afield: Game & Fish Photo Editor Ron Sinfelt shares photos of scouting with his...

Turkey

Four Sure-Kill Spring Turkey Set-Ups

Brian Lovett - April 02, 2109

Set yourself up for success hunting for gobblers this spring.

See More Turkey

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×