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More Questions about Hunting Turkeys Day 5: When You Make a Bad Turkey Call

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Editor’s Note: A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that from a Google survey, I’d learned what hunters wanted to know about hunting turkeys. Many of them never had turkey hunted before. Others had called longbeards but had specific turkey-hunting problems they didn’t know how to solve. First a hunter needs to understand that each gobbler he or she hunts is an individual bird with his own traits, hunter experiences and survival instincts. So, no one answer will answer all turkey hunters’ questions for each turkey-hunting situation. If you have turkey-hunting questions you need possible answers for, email John at [email protected], and he will try to help. 

Turkey hunter calling

Question: What should I do when I make a bad call to a turkey?

John E. Phillips: Making a bad turkey call happens to every turkey hunter, even world-champion turkey hunters. The truth is, if you listen to a bunch of hens, you’ll learn that none of those hens will win a turkey-calling contest. If you make a mistake, keep going. Hens don’t make perfect calls.

Question: My buddy and I were hunting together. Three gobblers were coming in, and I told my buddy that he could take the first shot, if we called in a gobbler. He shot and killed his turkey. What should I have done as the other turkey ran off? Should I try to hit the running turkey or move and set-up somewhere else on this turkey we’ve spooked?


Phillips: You should do neither. If more than one gobbler comes in simultaneously, and you or your partner harvests one gobbler, stay put. When a turkey hears a loud noise or sees their buddy flopping, they don’t always know what’s happened. You can call those turkeys back to the same place with patience. I once saw two turkeys kicking a dead turkey on the ground. My partner shot one of those turkeys. You can take a second gobbler, if you’ll stay put and keep calling. One of the most-important lessons I’ve learned about turkey hunting is that each turkey is unique. They all have different techniques and tricks they use for each hunter. Even though I have written 12 books on turkey hunting, the hunts I remember the most are the hunts when I’ve called a turkey down from his roost tree, he’s walked straight toward me, he’s gotten within 20-30 yards, and I’ve finished my hunt in 30-45 minutes. I remember those hunts the most because those are the most-rare hunts.

Turkey hunter

Expert Guidebooks on Turkey Hunting: Best Sellers

Turkey Hunting Tactics
This turkey hunting audiobook has entertaining chapters like: “How to Miss a Turkey”, “Hunting with a Guide”, and “The Turkey and the New York Lady”.

You’ll learn about all the subspecies of turkey across North America, how to use a turkey call, how to scout before turkey season, how to find a turkey to hunt, and what hunting gear you’ll need to put the odds in your favor to take a wily gobbler.


How to Hunt Turkeys with World Champion Preston Pittman
You easily can take a turkey if you don’t make any mistakes, but you have to know what the deadly sins of turkey hunting are to keep you from making those mistakes. If you understand how to hunt a turkey, you’re far more likely to take a gobbler than if you just know how to call a turkey.

Of course, calling is important, and if you want to learn to call a turkey, Preston Pittman will teach you how to call turkeys with box calls, friction calls, diaphragm calls, and other turkey sounds.

You’ll also learn why Preston Pittman once put turkey manure all over his body to kill a tough tom.

When you have turkeys that strut and drum in the middle of a field, when you know there’s no way to get close enough to get a shot, Pittman will show you some weird tactics that have worked for him to help you hunt tough ole toms.

But the main thing you’ll learn in this book is how to become the turkey.

Using what he’s learned while hunting wild turkeys, he’s also become a master woodsman who can take most game, regardless of where he hunts. To learn more secrets about how to be a turkey hunter from one of the world champions of the sport, this turkey-hunting book with Preston Pittman is a must.


The Turkey Hunting Guides’ Bible
The quickest way to learn how to turkey hunt successfully is to either hunt with a turkey hunter with years of experience or a turkey-hunting guide. These two types of turkey hunters have solved most of the problems turkey hunters ever will face. 

Just as one size of shoes won’t fit every person, one style of turkey hunting doesn’t fit each hunter.  Each turkey-hunting guide interviewed for this book has his own style of calling, hunting, and outsmarting turkeys.  

While listening to this book, make a list of the new information you’ve learned, take that list with you during turkey season, and try some of the new tactics. Then you’ll become a more versatile turkey hunter and prove the wisdom from The Turkey Hunting Guides’ Bible.   


Outdoor Life’s Complete Turkey Hunting (2nd Edition)
This Audible book will help you learn how to call turkeys with two of the nation’s best, longtime and well-known turkey callers, Rob Keck, formerly with the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Lovett Williams, a wildlife biologist who recorded wild turkeys giving the calls that you’ll learn how to make on various types of turkey callers.


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