1 | Sleep In (John Hafner photo)
Birds generally get henned-up after fly-down. Toms often lose their hens by midmorning. That’s especially the case (in most states) during the second half of the season.
You might get lucky and find a gobbler that doesn’t have hens early in the morning. But it doesn’t usually play out that way. Instead of watching some gobbler court hens all morning, sleep in and wait until the ladies wander off. Then slip in and coax that lonesome tom into your setup.
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2 | Sound Like a Flock (Josh Honeycutt photo)
Every once in a while, being aggressive pays off. One way to do that is to call aggressively. The way I sometimes do that: Sounding like a flock of turkeys.
It’s not hard to do. Achieve it by using multiple calls at once. Throw in a diaphragm and a box or slate call and use both simultaneously. I prefer to make vocalizations with three to four different calls within a three- to four-minute timeframe. This can peak a gobbler’s interest and make it believe receptive hens are nearby.
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3 | Quit Calling (John Hafner photo)
A lot of toms gobble their heads off, but never commit. Sometimes they’re henned-up. Sometimes they’re stuck in a strut zone. Sometimes they’re just stubborn and don’t want to commit. Whatever the case, quit calling all at once. That can be just enough to cause that bird to break. Give the bird at least 45 minutes to work its way in. But don’t be surprised if it takes less.
It’s important to note that it goes against nature to call gobblers into a setup. In most cases, the hens go to the toms. So, as turkey callers, we’re already fighting an uphill battle. But playing hard to get can help even the odds.
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4 | Look Like a Flock (Josh Honeycutt photo)
Most hunters don’t use decoys. Those who do generally only use one or two. Change things up. Take four or five decoys to the field with you. Take seven or eight. Take however many you want. It’s different. It’s weird. But it can prove just enough to punch that tag. A pressured turkey might expect to see a decoy or two. But it won’t expect a whole flock of decoys.
Think unconventionally. I've heard of guys using as many as 15 or 20 decoys. Do things other hunters won’t think of. This tactic is one of those things.
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5 | Decoy Beat Down (Josh Honeycutt photo)
I first learned of this tactic from Michael Waddell in an interview. I was writing another article about turkey hunting and he mentioned a tactic that I now call the decoy beat down. How is it done? Quite simply.
Put a strutter decoy beside you. If a bird hangs up, pick up the decoy, twist and turn it, and present it. If that doesn’t work, use fight purrs while beating the decoy on the ground. This will simulate a fight between two toms which very well could provoke a response.
Given the nature of this tactic, it's important to note this comes with a safety risk if you aren't smart about things. Don't do this on public land. Don't do this on private land numerous people have access to. Only do it when you know you're the only one around. And always keep an eye out for potential trespassers.
Editor's note: This Realtree.com post was first published March 25, 2016.
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