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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Turkey Calling

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The youth weekend of the 2024 Spring Gobbler Season is now but a memory. And from all of the social media posts with lots and lots of grinning youngins, I’d say those memories are good ones. I even got out for a very short hunt with my stepdaughter, but our hunt was unfortunately cut short due to unexpected circumstances. Still, she saw lots of turkeys and heard lots and lots of turkey talk, including a whole lot of gobbles.

The birds are on fire right now. In the short hour of daylight we did get to hunt, I witnessed lots of hen and Tom interactions. The girls were calling for toms all around us, and them big, bearded birdies were all too willing to accommodate them. I expect the flocks will be similarly active next weekend, and for those lucky enough to get out and take advantage of the general season opener, don’t forget to show me your pictures! Thanks to what we’ve experienced in a very long time, I predict the best opening weekend of turkey hunting.

But stay subtle in your calling. Raise your voice slightly in an attempt to rouse him from his roost limb; however, if he remains motionless or imitates the sound of hens, significantly reduce the volume of your call. Once he’s tended to whatever receptive hens he can, that tom will begin to travel, circling back to pick up the hen he heard but hadn’t gotten to, that hen being you.

One of our resident call makers, Kevin Vaughn of Soring King Calls, has success photos pouring into his inbox, and he’s shared a number of them with me on social media. It makes me grin like nothing else.

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Kevin has been custom-building my pot and peg-style calls for a few years now. A pot-n-peg call, commonly referred to as a slate call, is a flat disc, striking surface of glass, metal or slate, embedded into a wooden pot and played with a detached striking rod. It’s not difficult to learn and can reproduce all of the vocals of a wild hen turkey.

I’ve had a lot of success with Kevin’s calls and often tease him, tongue in cheek, that his calls can ruin a turkey hunt. They sound so good, the turkey runs in and dies right away, then instead of turkey hunting, I get to spend the rest of the day, scratching items off of Lisa’s Honey-Do list.

Whether it’s one of Kevin’s or one offered on the shelf at the big chain stores, learn to use it and be ready to have to tote a bird out of the woods. And you don’t need all of the vocals, all you really need to attract a gobbler right now, is a breeding Yelp and a click. You can find a pile of YouTube tutorials to help you master those two calls. But, if you still need a hand getting it right, shoot me an email. I’ll do all I can to help.

As always, if you have any questions or comments about today’s article or perhaps would like to try one of my favorite raccoon recipes, 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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