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New Guy Tips on Calls, etc.

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I see alot of "which call" questions. Let me offer my opinion. I am NOT an expert, but I have been at this turkey stuff big time since the 80's, from the piney woods of Gillsburg, Kentwood, St. Helena Parish, Tammany, and the bottomlands of Tensas NWR. I have seen just about everything, heard many, many, many wild hens and Toms calling up close, watched and heard 2 flock fights in October in Kentwood, and have killed quite a few, including limiting out in Tensas 2 years ago. So, I have just a little to offer yall:

1) Although some experts can operate a diaphram mouth call well, most cannot, and I can i.d. them in the woods immediately. I cannot use one and do not have one.

2) DO NOT believe what you see on those hunting tapes and shows. They call much, much too much because they are trying to sell you a call and get you to buy the video, or watch the cable show for ratings. They are on an unpressured farm too.

3) Do alot of pre-opener listening in the early am. NO flashlights and full camo, headnet and all even though the season is not open yet. PAY SPECIAL attention to the time period one hour after flydown. Timing is everthing. Too early and they stay with hens ( like last year opener.) But you want to know WHERE they go AFTER flydown. You'll hear alot of gobbles from the roost, then they go quiet and fly down. About an hour later thay crank up again 100 or 200 yards away, maybe furthur. They have arrived at their favorite place to strut. THAT is what you need to know .

4) # 1 rule on public land, and leases with rude members- IF you can hear a gobble pretty good from a main road, forget it. Go hunt another one deeper in the woods. Every Joe Blow WILL move in on the vocal one from the road, and no one will get him ( reason why Big Lake has so many).

5) ALL those hens over the years I heard yelping during spring scouting, so many have one thing in common: They all sound just like a Lynch Box Call, particulary a Raspy Hen model, or Fool Proof. Also, a plain Pittman Slate sounds like them alot. Not the slate with 2 glass under it, etc. JUST a plain ol slate. Many of the hens I heard over the years, their yelps start out with a whine in front of the first yelp. You can do this with the Lynch Raspy hen box. Drag the lid litely, then drift into the yelps. SO, So real sounding- the best I have heard. Use chalk from Home Depot, the kind carpenters put in their string line. The BLUE chalk.

6) Finally, please don't try to sneak up on a gobbling bird with gun and call in hand. It won't work and another hunter who drove 4 hours and spent alot of money to be there may be just inside the woods set up on the bird. This is the lost aspect of turkey hunting I have seen over the years. When we saw another truck on the road right by the gobbling bird, common sense says that person is in there trying. Move on down the road.

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Good post!
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That is pretty sound advice on hunting tactics and etiquette.

LB2
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   1234567
GOOD ADVICE FROM A VETERAN TURKEY HUNTER. NEW HUNTERS SHOULD PAY ATTENTION TO THIS GENTLEMAN.
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That was a really good educational post, Lamp, but as I have seen many times, ain't nobody here gonna listen to ya! Da all tink da can do better dan you. JMHO Cluck cluck.
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good post specially bout the overcalling....as for the lynch calls the fool proof is with me every time i hit the woods hunting.......it caused my first ever gobbler to flop and many many more since one more piece of advise id like to add to new hunters is while scouting LEAVE THE CALLS AT HOME!!!!!!!all youll do is educate them!!!!and they learn fast...maybe just an owl or crow call to make 1 shock gobble a lil after daylight(my preferance owl at day break then a crow or hawk)
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Good POST....and I always have the Lynch fool proof....
PS - my diaphram call sounds like a hound shot with a BB gun.....yipp yipp yipppp.... I don't even think about trying them in the woods, but I seem to buy all of them on the shelf...
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   Du-Baby
I have seen 100's of turkeys in the woods while deer hunting. I have heard the clucks and purring. Never have I turkey hunted. Never have I heard a turkey gobble or yelp. Saturday, that all changes. Went out for that last chance bow hunt and was invaded by turkeys. I seen about 20 birds. The hens started yelping about 6:45am. Sound like 100 birds. They were so loud I knew I had no chance to see a deer, but didnít care. Shortly after the gobblers started gobbling. Made the hair on my neck stand up. I witnessed a big tom strut for about 30 minutes. I seen him attack a small Jake several times. Just when the hens were quiet, the gobblers started gobbling non stop for about 20 minutes. Finally about 8:30am, it all got quiet. It was a great experience. One I will never forget. Just so happen, I purchased a box call last year. Was gonna hunt but the bass fishing was smoking hot. Think I gonna give it a shot this year.
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hangem it took me about 3 years before i ever took my diaphram hunting with me thought id never get the hang of it....started using the primos minis and made a big difference for me......
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I'm trying to find the Primos "little brown one with the double reed", but I'm not sure they are making it anylonger. I don't know the name of it. I could PUR my azz off with it, but that all I would ever use it for. I can not find it. Everything else is coming with these plactic humps on them....crap like that... they need to keep it simple. I bought a kit once to make reeds, but I never made the first one... ?? I pratice, but I'm not good with them.. I keep the small one just incase I was to get jammed up and need to break a strut....but having killed my first one only last year...I have not had that problem yet.
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everybodys different hangem i love the domed ones!!!!they fit great to me witch makes them much easier to blow
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   charter10
Hangemhigh try Bass Pro. The limb hanger might be what you are refering to and they are fairly common at bass pro shop. I try a few new ones every year and the Primos double stack also double reed fits my mouth well and sound as good as the limb hanger. I do not care for the "dome" style calls by Primos or any other name. You can see season preparation has begun. My wife is gonna shoot me.
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the limbhanger, Hangem. I think Charter is right.

LB2
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I think you guys are right....that might be what it was called. My camp is not far from Bass Pro and I will go check it out on this upcoming 4 days glorious weekend.
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   1234567
I've accumulated ALOT of different types & brands of calls since becoming obsessed with turkey hunting. I hunt pretty much everything else that my bank account and my wife will allow, but turkeys are my passion. I use my mouthcalls 95% of the time while hunting, the other 5% are pretty much just in my vest. It is my confidence call. I practice with them more than I care to admit (just ask my wife)and have become pretty proficient with them. I am not nor will I ever be a turkey calling champ, but it's what I'M COMFORTABLE WITH. Though I haven't hunted near as long as Lamplighter,or possess the amount of turkey knowledge I'm sure he has, many of longbeard have been fooled by my mouthcalling. I used to buy the Primos when I started hunting and they "did the job", but they just don't last very long in my opinion, especially if you practice a good bit throughout the year. I usually buy 5-10 new mouthcalls a year to try and find the "perfect" call. Haven't found it yet, but I have grown fond of Woodhaven calls. I bought the Sadler McGraw-ghost cut from Woodhaven & it's darn close. I can make pretty much any turkey vocalization I want with it. I also bought a couple H.S. Strut-Infinity Latex calls (one is the Split V III, and the other is the Cuttin' 2.5.) and they both have very good sounds as well. I just bought a kit to start making my own calls, gonna give it a try being I have a good supply of latex at my disposal. I would ENCOURAGE any new hunter to at least try mouthcalls, practice alot with them, & you DON'T have to be an EXPERT to call a turkey in with them but just don't come hunt by me........LOL.
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Last year was my first year really turkey hunting. I have seen them for years on property, i just didn't really try to hunt them. Well last year i decided to give it a good effort. I did some reading, and went and scouted a little. I have a river that borders my property, and a pipeline where i would see them often during deer season. I set up a ground blind about 50 yards off the edge of the river. The first morning i made my mind up to stay till 9:00. I knew i didn't really know how to call, so i made the decission to call very little. At first light i could hear gobbling in several dirrections. I had read not to call while they were still on the roost. I waited, but it was hard. I finally called using a slate call, and immediatly got two different birds to gobble back. I have to admit that was pretty exciting. I called once more with the same response. I figured they knew where i was so i would wait them out. I called again about 40 minutes later with no response. Not knowing i started getting worried. Well i was having to force myself to stay there and wait. At 8:45 i started to pack up, but said 15 more minutes. 5 minutes later, i see heads popping up on the river bank. I had 2 toms coming in. One was a young bird, and the other much bigger. I ended up killing a bird with a 9" beard. The next morning i went back to the same spot. I was running a little late, i was putting out my decoys when i see a bird in the tree across the pipeline. I hurried into the blind,and checked him out with binoculars. The gobbling started and i had 3 birds very close. I ended up seeing 2 across the river, and the one in front of me. I repeat the day before, very little calling. At 7:40 i had 2 hens and three toms coming in. I end up killing a bird with a 9 1/2" beard. Two weeks later i repeat and kill a bird with a 8" beard. I deer hunted last weekend, and saw several good birds. My calling is no better so i will try the same thing. Call as little as possible. I just bought a new bow, so i think i may try to shoot one with it.
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Lamp

You took the words right out of my mouth! I especially like No. 6. It brings back vivid memories of a trip a buddy and I had in Indian Bayou some years ago. I was set up and had a big bird coming in when all of a sudden he quit strutting and bolted. After a short while I got up and walked over to look at where he was standing. Surprisingly, I looked to my left and saw a guy with white shrimp boots and a squirrel hunting vest heading my way through the woods!! He obviously had been walking toward the sound of the gobble.

When I got back to the path to meet my buddy he told me that he was set up watching some hens and jakes about 80 yards in front of him on the ground when out of nowhere a guy shoots at them from behind his left shoulder!

That trip made me start hunting private land and Texas.

I also rely on a box call most of the time even though I can use a mouth call successfully. I carry the Lynch but I have started using the Box Cutter from Primos and it has brought in many Rios in Texas for me. It is now my go-to call of choice.

Duckaholic
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GH -- nice hunting...What state do you hunt in ?
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We own two peices of land in SoSo Ms. One is on the Leaf River, it's 160 acres, and the other we bought an older house for a camp. It's 30 acres, about 3 miles apart. The most turkeys i have seen at once is 72 at one time on the pipeline.
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One that stands out was on the Tensas NWR. The morning hunt did not evolve. At 10:15 am, I spotted a Gobbler pacing like he was on a oval track. I thought he was a game warden decoy on a track. But then he started coming my way. He was 400 to 500 yards away and closing. I watched with Nikon Binocs until he was 200 yards. I was laying flat on the ground with my head net on. I low crawled backwards, and set up on this side road in the woods. It was illegal to shoot on the main grass road, but not on the woods road. I put up one decoy, and I called with my Lynch box. He gobbled right away. I waited . 20 minutes passed. He gobbled again much closer, within 100 yards. Loud! I was not going to call any more but I remembered another road across from me and I wanted to make sure he knew I was where I was. I hit one series of yelps, with that first one whining. He went nuts gobbling. I put the call down. It seemed like a long time but he appeared in my red dot scope in full strut. Amazing. I waited for him to come down the legal road some and he saw my decoy. He raised his head and I put the red dot on his head and pulled the trigger on the Encore. Man, he went down like a brick, not even flapping. The shot was 35 yards with a 3 inch Win HV #5.

Once in 2002 I remember the date because that is when I quit my State job. I only spent one morning locating, and I located the whole flock of gobblers. Tensas NWR again. I did call up the whole flock on top of me that morning with a Knight & Hale Glass call. I was sitting low (DON'T SIT LOW) and could not see them, but they were on top of me gobbling. One was incrediblly the Boss gobbler shaking the ground when he gobbled. Finally one of the smaller ones jumped up on a stump and looked at me. I looked back at him through the fiber optic sights on the 835 Mossberg. Boom! Got him too. I left there with him, hearing gobbles in all directions. I went back the next morning and called up two more with a Lynch World Champion Box, made in Liberty MS. They pitched down on a logging road and walked toward me. I was caught un-ready. [TWO LESSONS HERE- DO NOT SIT AGAINST A TREE SKINNER THAN YOU, & ALWAYS HAVE YOUR GUN BARREL ALL THE WAY UP] They were closing in on me at 10 yards and I had to raise the barrel. Busted! They ran I shot, and missed. The Mossberg was broken and I did not know this. I had to press the bolt release to pump it, even after a shot.
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by no means am i even considered a turkey hunter. havent ever even been on a hunt for turkey. but does biglake you said has them??
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I think you may be confused - Their is a Big Lake where everyone catches trout, then their is a Big Lake WMA where the turkeys gobble!

That was some very interesting stuff Lamplighter! Good post.
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k im used to the trout catchin biglake
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NorthEast Louisiana- next to Tensas NWR. They have so many turkeys, you have to stop your truck and let a flock of 30 gobblers sometimes cross the road. They can easily rocket net some and move them somewhere else.

Moon Mullins Road off of Lover's Lane, down the handicap- unbelievable amount of gobbling back there. There is a 90% chance you will get messed up by people roaming and trying to sneak up on your gobbling bird back there. Have fun.
hint: take a boat - go across the lake behind the game warden HQ bldg.
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   C BABY
Lamplighter:

Well spoken. While I haven't been turkey hunting quite as long as you, only 13 years, my mentor (second father) who taught me how to turkey hunt has. He grew up in Mississippi and started turkey hunting in the mid '60's when there were few turkeys. His grandfather was from South Carolina and was from direct line of Indian. What kind, I don't know.

My mentor told me that his grandfather taught him to turkey hunt. Back then, if you heard 2-3 different gobblers a season, that was good. They used wing-bones, boxes, and azalea/sassafrass leaves as mouth calls. The old technique was to yelp 3 times and if the turkey answered you, shut-up, stay put and stay still; he was coming. It might talk all day or all season until you killed that bird. As my mentor progressed in his turkey hunting career, he started using store bought mouth calls and cassette tapes of real wild turkeys by Lovett Williams, a biologist from Florida. He got real good with those mouth calls and has killed quite a few birds.

The main things that my mentor has taught me about hunting and killing turkeys is that 75% of your success comes from where you set up, the other 25% is to sound like a turkey. I know a lot of hunters that don't sound great and kill birds. Although, I know a few hunters that sound great and kill a lot of birds.

I have had a lot of success in my turkey hunting career, and God willing, I hope to have a lot more. I make my own mouth calls and I call in calling contest. While I have won several contests in this state, by no stretch of the imagination am I as good as the guys you hear on the National level. But the one advantage I do have on the stage or in the woods is turkey rythm, cadence and pitch. A few thing I do know is this:

1. Everthing that Lamplighter said in his post is awesome advise.

2. Acquire as many c.d.'s cassettes, etc... that have real recorded turkeys and listen to them. Listen to the rythm, pitch and cadence. Pick out one hen and try to mimick her. Try to visualize the turkeys in the woods and the mood they are portraying to other turkeys.

3. Pay special attention to your setup. When you kill, look at what feature in the setup made that turkey come into gun range. If the turkey hangs up and doesn't come in, try to figure out why.

4. Let the turkey set the tempo. After you call to a few birds, you can tell how he is responding if he is committed or not. This will determine how much you need to call to get his attention.

5. Respect other hunters in the woods. If you hear or see someone setup on a turkey, back out, let him have his fun. There are plenty of other turkeys in the woods. You will get your chance.

6. THE MOST IMPORTANT: Whether you yelp 3 times and shut up or "call too much and call too loud" HAVE FUN AND ENJOY THE BEAUTIFUL CREATURES AND WOODS THAT GOD HAS PROVIDED US!!

HOPE ALL HAS A WONDERFUL SEASON!
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Awesome post man. You hit on alot of good points.
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   C BABY
I forgot to mention...hunt hard and hunt all day!!! A whole bunch can happen in a little time!
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I affirm C Baby's Tip # 4. You'll learn when to stop calling. Until that time, I say eer on the conservative side.

I try to post every past mistake as I think back:

1) You call, he gobbles- then shuts up. As much as 45 minutes may pass and he never gobbles again. Man, I cannot tell you how many times I have gotton up and moved, only to have him crank up gobbling RIGHT where I just got up. He was coming. Unless you hear him gobbling and not coming, or going the other way, STAY 1 hour. So many times I did this.

Year before last, I had one of those gobblers patterned in Tensas, a week before opener. He did the same thing every single morning. Same time same place. Those kind are dead come opening morning if someone like me gets on them. I slipped in before daylight but not quite in the area. I did not know where he roosted, because there were several gobblers. But I knew EXACTLY where he went at 8:30 am. Sure enough, at first light, 3 gobblers in one tree gobbling their heads off 100 yards from where my 8:30 am appointment was. I waited for them to disperse. It took good discipline to stick to the plan because one of them hit the ground gobbling his head off back to where I came in, in the dark. I wanted to pursue him but knew better. I tried to radio my buddy to get on him, but the radios did not work.

After they were spread out, and that one loud mouth was far away, I snuck across the beaver flood pond I had to cross- very slowly and totally camouflaged in Mossy Oak Obsession. I scaned with the Nikon Binocs ahead before I made a move so as not to spook one if he was on the edge of the beaver flood. I made it across onto the grassy road , set up decoys, and waited. 8:15 am on the money he gobbled on that road. I called with the Lynch box. He gobbled again. I put the call down and didn't call again for 45 minutes. He would gobble close, then far, then close, then far. He was pacing and strutting on the grassy road but wouldn't come in. I called again and he gobbled on the far end. I made a decision that goes against what I preach here, but I knew I could pull it off. I had my Encore wrapped totally with Obsession burlap, like a sniper wraps his rifle. I got up, made a semi-circle in the palmettos and got parallel to the road. I moved slow and time passed and I did not know where he was. I saw the road and said " oh $hi!, I'm closer than I thought." I turned on the red dot scope, and waited for a gobble. Then he appeared 20 yards away. He raised his head high and turned it sideways. I thought he saw me, but I was totally head-to-toe in Mossy Oak Obsession and I had faith in it. I was froze, shotgun half up. Finally he put his head down and went behind a tree. Well, when he stepped out you know what happened. Boom! The 3 inch Win HV #5 did it again. When I stepped out onto the road, I was 15 yards from the decoys. I probably could have stayed put and got him from my original set-up. He was 20 lbs and had a band on his leg. What a hunt.
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   mkbrrt
I have hunted everything there is to hunt & fished everything there is to fish...in Louisiana. I can tell you from my many years of experience hunting & fishing public areas...there is no other brotherhood quite like that of the TURKEY HUNTER. I have been to new places attempting to scout prior to a turkey hunt & have had total strangers come to me, talk & offer advice, tips & YES!... even hunting spots. You will not come across people quite like the turkey hunter in your outdoor adventures.
The biggest peice of advice I can give to new & even seasoned turkey hunters is to RESPECT your brother turkey hunter. Back off if you know someone is already set up on a bird...or the minute that you find this out. You will be paid that same respect & courtesy one day & you will be very glad.
I was hunting Sherburne last season & just knew I was alone in this little section of woods. I was calling to a tom and he was coming in to me. He was about 75 yds. out. Then over my right shoulder I heard something walking. I thought it was another gobbler. (I have had that happen to me before.) Instead, it was another hunter. When I saw him, I waved to him hoping he would stop or turn around. The turkey was behind a very thick brushy area at the time. When he saw me, he just continued to creep towards the turkey and didn't give me a second thought. Well, he flushed the turkey as well as two others that were still in trees ahead of me & ruined the hunt for both of us.
It is just this kind of "lack of respect" that we need to get rid of in the turkey woods. So, if you learn nothing else in your endeavor to pursue the wild turkey, please learn to respect your brother turkey hunter & be courteous in the woods. That is the most improtant thing turkey hunters can learn. Because without that, there will be an offal lot of dissapointed turkey hunters out there... and you just might be one of them.
Best of luck...
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With that last message. I cannot fathom what these folks think they are going to accomplish. I really think that they do not have a clue of what's going on, probably because they did not have anybody to teach them any better. That fellow would have done well to yield when you waved, he should have set down in a camo position, kept still and watched you. After the kill, I have a heavy suspicion that you would have worked very hard to assist him in getting his kill. I know you would have. But no, I guess it is "If I can't get him, nobody will" kind of thing. I really wish these fellows would honor a set-up and approach afterwards to introduce themselves, maybe tell us that they are starting out. I know I would go way, way out of my way to call, guide, and assist them- a complete stranger. If only they would get that HONOR thing you pointed out.
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I agree with respecting someone else's space when they are already there set up on a turkey. If I see someone else parked at a place on public land, I just go on by and find an empty place. I suppose a lot of folks have never been taught any "woods etiquette". There have been times that I have had trespassers come in on me on private land where I purposely spooked turkeys, but that is a different issue.

Even though it is public land, one should yield when someone else is already set up on a gobbling turkey. It is just the right thing to do socially, as well as from a safety perspective.

LB2
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