Calling Tips for a Shy Gobbler │ Aggressive Turkey Hunting Strategies
If you have chased spring gobblers long enough, then there is no doubt that you have encountered call shy turkeys. These turkeys will gobble once or twice on the roost, and that’s it. It seems like he is a ghost. A figment of your imagination, and you begin to wonder how you will ever get a crack at him. Well, the solution to successful turkey hunting may be easier than you might think. Here are a couple aggressive turkey hunting strategies and calling tips that will get you eye level with that call shy gobbler.
Most turkey hunters learn early on that the most effective way to harvest a spring gobbler is to develop a plan or strategy based on scouting, and stick to it. Understanding what the birds are doing on the area that you are hunting, and using turkey hunting skills including calling, a high quality decoy, and in some cases finesse for successful turkey hunting seem to be the most widely adopted turkey hunting strategies.
While developing an effective turkey hunting strategy that is based on your scouting or hunting observations is common for successful turkey hunting, when it comes to dealing with call shy gobblers, which in most cases end up being ‘ol boss gobblers, you sometimes need to leave nothing to chance and go for the gusto. Often this requires changing your game plan and implementing aggressive turkey hunting strategies.
To harvest call shy gobblers, it’s important to understand why they are that way. It could be because of hunting pressure, or the timing during the breeding season (in other words they are just getting fired up or slowing down). One of the most vocal age groups of turkey are the two year old gobblers. These are the young adults, and are typically subordinate and are out actively looking for hens. By default these turkeys are easier to locate and respond well to a call. But if pressured, you will likely have to dip into your bag of aggressive turkey hunting strategies.
The dominate turkey or the ‘ol boss gobbler is the king of his range. These turkeys are less vocal, and typically are call shy gobblers. Typically these turkeys will gobble on the roost, but go quiet once their spurs hit the ground. Their overall lack of vocalization can make these turkeys incredibly difficult to pattern. As a result, the normal turkey hunting strategy is rendered ineffective. So, how do you handle call shy gobblers? Developing aggressive turkey hunting strategies can go a long way to helping you put one of these turkeys in the back of the truck this spring. Mainly, running and gunning style of pursuit, and where safe, using a gobbler call to get them to “shock gobble” for the simple location information.
When dealing with call shy gobblers, the most important thing that you can do is to develop a turkey hunting strategy that will have you closing the distance early. The best way to close the distance early is to put the turkey “to bed” the evening before. These dominate, call shy gobblers will likely gobble once to twice in the evening and sporadically on roost in the morning. Pinning him to a defined area can dramatically increase your chances. Do not wait for these turkeys to gobble. Use of an owl hoot or coyote howler to generate a shock gobble will help. You don’t want to be there patiently waiting only to hear nothing. You NEED to know where that turkey is, so don’t be afraid to make repeated attempts to get a gobble. This is a very important piece in developing your aggressive turkey hunting strategies for the following morning. But don’t over stimulate the bird either as that can cause them to be wearier when the pitch off the roost.
Once you have the turkey located, then it’s time to truly put some thought into the hunt and try your best to determine the direction that you anticipate the turkeys fly down. The goal is to put yourself in front of them. You should do your best to be as close as you possibly can to the turkey on the limb without busting turkeys off the roost, this is part of aggressive turkey hunting strategies. Many hunters will stay too far away to manipulate the bird’s decision on fly down. It is important to be cautious when you are slipping in on these turkeys, as in most cases multiple turkeys will be roosted within very close proximity of one another.
Once you feel that you are close to the turkey, try and strike a gobble. Many hunters underestimate how early a turkey will gobble on the limb. It is important to ensure that if you need to adjust your location, you still have some low light conditions to do so. Once you have put yourself in the right location, it’s time to have a seat and enjoy the show. Calling should be very minimal in these situations, as in most cases there will be several turkeys in close proximity, however, being the first hen that the gobbler hears is always an advantage. But don’t call too early as an unnatural hen calling from ground level, during dark conditions is a major red flag.
In some cases, slipping in close on a call shy gobbler on the roost is not possible. In situations like these, the same turkey hunting strategy above applies. It is important to have a good understanding of the lay of the land and what the turkeys are doing in your area. In many cases, these call shy gobblers will be grouped up with other turkeys and will not be interested in leaving the company they have, so you have one option that is to run them down and get in front of them. If you live in a state where you can hunt turkeys in the afternoon, you can use the information that you have learned from your morning hunt, and put yourself in an ideal position for the afternoon.
Having an excellent understating of the lay of the land, allowing you to use the terrain to your advantage, and putting in the time to scout and understanding that when you are dealing with call shy gobblers is the foundation of aggressive turkey hunting strategies. Getting ahead of these turkeys either right off the limb, or putting yourself in a position to let these wise old birds come to you is an extremely effective tactic in putting your tag around the leg of a call shy gobbler this spring.
A call shy gobbler can prove to be a challenge for even the most seasoned turkey hunter. However, developing aggressive turkey hunting strategies will consistently help you when hunting these call shy gobblers. Keep these tips in mind the next time you hit the turkey woods.