Q.: Hello. When is the best time to start calling for turkeys? At the break of daylight or before daylight or a little while after daylight? Thanks ... John Maynor from W.Va... Our turkey season opens April 27th here. Thanks again.
A.: Hi John. Thanks for the question. It's a good one. I tend to (1) owl hoot when it's still dark in the morning to locate roosted turkeys, and (2) simply listen if that doesn't work. Sometimes a real owl or passing crow at first light will get them going. I tend to also listen hard for soft tree calling from turkeys.
Once located, I'll reposition on roosted gobblers, using terrain to get as close as I can. If I've located turkeys the night before, I'll simply get in there real early the next morning, and let them start talking first. Up close, a no-hands mouth call is essential.
I killed a longbeard in Florida last month by listening for tree calling after my owling (and that from real ones) did nothing to locate roosted gobblers. I then snuck in to around 50 yards using cover. Once set up, I got the hens talking back with soft clucks and yelps. Then the gobblers kicked in. After watching hens fly down in front of me, a gobbler winged down, and landed in range. It doesn't always work that way for sure. Later in the season I might even wait for turkeys to get on the ground before calling.
Hope this helps. Good luck!
--Steve Hickoff, Realtree.com
(Steve Hickoff photo)
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Steve Hickoff is Realtree.com's editorial director and turkey hunting editor. He’s been beaten by more birds than he can remember. Still he kills enough to eat well, and fool with beards, spurs and fans until the next season. Pennsylvania born and raised, Maine is his home base now. A full-time outdoor communicator with a couple university writing degrees, he chases spring gobblers and fall flocks around the country.