When to Call and When to Shut Up

According to Adam Keith, you best turkey call may be no call at all.


Calling a turkey can be a life lesson- we seem to learn best when we screw things up.  A friend and I were 100 yards from a thundering gobbler in West Virginia.  The tom gobbled relentlessly but wouldn’t budge toward our location.  Maybe we can call him to a different location, we thought, carefully spending the next 20 minutes making a wide circle.  After great care, we were in position, but the gobbler suddenly had become silent.  I gave my most alluring call, and the bird gobbled exactly where we had been.  My calls wouldn’t lure the bird closer, but “silence” did.

Scratch One In

I knew of a roost tree on a farm I hunt in Maryland.  This bird has been hunted often, and I knew I’d need to be cautious and aloof to lure it.  The tom began gobbling before I was in position, and I hesitated to crest a hill within sight of the roost.  In minutes, the bird flew down and continued to gobble.  I called softly, but the tom didn’t respond.  The leaves were dry, and I began to scratch in the leaves with my right hand while keeping the left on the crossbow.  The tom gobbled at the scratching noise and then grew silent.  I should have known to aim the bow at the horizon but continued to scratch in the leaves.  Suddenly, the gobbler stood erect at 25 yards, catching me in “mid-scratch.”  The bird lowered its head and vanished.  I should have been in the shooting position but made a rookie mistake.  When birds suddenly go silent, they are often approaching.  A lesson for next time. Adam Keith posted a great video on this subject that made some excellent points.

When to Call and When Not To

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