When to Call?

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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)