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Put away the calls

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I gotta tell ya folks, the difficult season I’ve been having just became a little bit more troublesome. It’s week four into our spring turkey season and the gobblers just haven’t been talking. The excitement of the early season has waned and the breeding activity has, in most parts, ended amongst the flocks. Old Tom Gobbler is, once again, becoming a celebrated bachelor.

Easter morning found me guiding a pair of gentlemen from Pennsylvania on public land hunt in the far Eastern corner of our county. As the morning dawned, I could see a momma hen setting her nest about twenty yards away. She remained motionless throughout the morning and I began seeing movement around and about her. The eggs she was sitting upon were beginning to hatch.

For most, that means the season is over and it’s time to put away our calls and weapons. But in reality, it’s only time to put away the calls. Turkeys are still out there being turkeys, and there are still opportunities to invite one home for dinner. Only thing that has to change is our approach to the hunt. We have to lay off all of that horny hen talk we’ve been tossing about, hoping to attract a gobbler. Those vocalizations now are liable to actually repel a gobbler. Him knowing the season is over, your calls begin to sound mighty out of place.

Your best bet is to still hunt them, like a deer. Identify the tracks and other signs, like scratching sand dust bowls then set up, sit and wait. With luck one can wander into range and take a ride home.

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I prefer to hunt the dust bowls; round depressions in sandy soil, which turkeys visit often during the middle part of their day. They lay in them and use their wing tips, flip sand all over their backs, they stand and shake violently to shed any unwanted mites or other unwanted parasites; sort of like a good dry cleaning. They will visit these sites often, daily, throughout the heat of the day and that offers the best chance at encountering the next entree at your next turkey dinner!

Choke points on their travel routes are my next plan of ambush. Especially where the cypress head’s or oak hammocks narrow between fields of palmetto or maybe even routes leading between ponds building developments. Catch them passing through the narrows. All day hunts give best luck at such places. A comfortable chair in a pop up ground blind with lots of snacks and water helps out tremendously to help keep you on site. And to help stave off any boredom while waiting on that turkzilla to come stomping by; you can always pull up the Hernando Sun’s online edition on your phone and catch up on your reading while you pass the hours, waiting on Tom.

If you have any questions or comments you’d like to share, reach out to me at [email protected]. God Bless and good hunting!

Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit is a best selling novelist and professional outdoorsman with thirty-five years of experience guiding and outfitting for big game all across America. Toby is a renowned archer and turkey hunting expert who manufactures custom game calls and is a regular judge at NWTF sanctioned turkey calling events across the Southeast.
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