Not too long ago, I wrote about patience being the number one weapon in your arsenal while turkey hunting. We have recently completed our turkey season with our hunters and patience is still the one thing I see missing. Although patience will get you more turkeys, I’d like to add preparation into the mix for this opinion.
Many times, we have clients that one to call their own birds. I not only understand that I encourage it as it is truly more satisfying if an individual calls in and takes his own bird. However, if these individuals aren’t willing to properly prepare themselves to call it makes for truly bad situation. There is no question that the word of mouth is the best and most effective advertisement there is. Well, if a hunter comes and attempts to call his own bird while sounding like an elk with a scorching case of Pneumonia and ends his hunt skunked, we have a problem. This hunter goes home and tells everyone that the birds are educated, there are no turkeys, and various other negative things but the truth. This can only cause a negative thought towards our hunting business that didn’t need to ever become a notion. How do people think that good callers became good? There is only one way to become good at anything and that is to put the time in and practice. I can personally assure you that I blew the reeds out of several calls before I even sounded close to what I wanted to sound like. To this day, I drive down the road or sit in my office and practice, practice, practice.
Another issue where preparedness is concerned is movement. People don’t take the few extra seconds to make sure that they are sitting in a way that is comfortable. When we sit down to call in a turkey, one thing always holds true, we don’t know if we will be there for two minutes are two hours. What we do know is that a turkey is born and lives in a state of extreme awareness. In other words, if you move, he will see you and he will leave. Turkeys are not curious animals, if they even faintly suspect something is wrong they are fine with not even having a second look. So many people sit down and continuously move. If they don’t move, they rest their gun in their lap and when they see the turkey, they try to shoulder it. By this time it is too late and another almost certain opportunity is blown. Get a comfortable seat or vest and take the few extra seconds to position your body in a way that you can hold that position for a while. Your success can only go up.
Trimming away too much of the natural cover when setting up is another thing I see far too often. Most people that come to Texas from the eastern portions of this country are used to setting up with their backs against a big tree. In southern Texas big trees rarely exist and more often then not we have to set up in a small inlet in a thicket. Countless times I’ve instructed a client to set up in one of these places and watched as they cut away all of the available cover. They will say they can’t see, or can’t shoot through a twig. First and foremost there isn’t a 12 gauge made that wont do the job after shooting through a twig. For that matter a 20 gauge will do the same thing. So long as you can swing your shotgun a reasonable distance from left to right, leave the brush alone. It is always so disheartening to work a bird in and have been leave because someone cut away the cover and is sticking like … well like a man sitting in the wide open that cut the cover down.
There are few things more fun the turkey hunting and I want everyone to be successful. Take the time to become proficient at it if you want to do it yourself. If you don’t have the time to prepare and hire a guide, let your guide do what he does, and you’ll have much better success.