Editor’s Note: Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland is Mossy Oak’s vice president of television and video. From the early days of working with Primos Game Calls and Mossy Oak camo up until today, Cuz has probably called up as many, if not more, turkeys for other people as anyone and guided more first-time hunters to their birds.
In the early part of the season before the foliage is fully out, if I can hear a turkey gobble, I believe there’s a good chance he can see me. So, I won’t try to get as close to a gobbler in the early season as I will in the late season. The other thing you have to remember, if you’re taking a new hunter turkey hunting, is that more than likely, he/she will make more noise than you and move more than you will. So, there’s a greater chance the gobbler will spot your hunter.
If I make a mistake when I’m turkey hunting at the first of the season, it will by setting-up too far away from the turkey, rather than trying to see how close I can get before I take a stand. Remember, you may be able to back up to a tree, slide down that tree and get your cushion in position to sit down without making a sound. But more than likely, a new hunter won’t be nearly as stealthy as you are. I’m trying to prevent the turkey from seeing me and my hunter. As soon as we get out of the vehicle, I offer my new hunter a good dose of patience, before we ever get to the listening spot. I’ll tell him or her, “We’re going to move really, really slowly anytime we’re walking in the woods. Don’t break any limbs, and make as little noise as possible. Turkeys can see for very-long distances, and they can hear almost as far away as they can see. So, we’re going to move slowly, talk very little and listen a lot.”
I believe in defensive turkey hunting, and I teach the people I take hunting how to hunt defensively. I tell them, “If we don’t spook the gobbler, we’ve still got a chance to take him, even if he’s with hens, even if he walks away from us and even if he won’t come to our calls. As long as we don’t spook the gobbler, we’re still in the game.” So, I’ll probably set-up a little farther back from a gobbling turkey in the early season and when I’m guiding a new hunter than I do when hunting by myself.
To learn more about turkey hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ print, Audible, Kindle and Nook turkey books at http://johninthewild.com/books/#turkey and at www.barnesandnoble.com. You also can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or SmartPhone. You can learn more about calling turkeys by going to johninthewild.com/audio-files/ for audio turkey tapes to purchase of Lovett Williams, Rob Keck and Chris Kirby, available for download to your SmartPhone, tablet or computer. For a free copy of John E. Phillips’ “The Turkey Gobbler Getter Manual,” go to http://johninthewild.com/free-books/ to download.
Tomorrow: Slow Down to Take More Turkeys