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Solve Late Season Turkey Hunting Problems Day 5: Hunt Sheiks and Hard to Take Turkeys

Rifle turkey hunter calling
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Editor’s Note: No hunter can give exact rules for solving problems with any particular turkey, because each gobbler has a personality based on his genetic make-up, how long he’s lived, and how-many hunter encounters he’s had. Also, turkeys are very moody with changes in their likes and dislikes occurring almost daily. One day a turkey may gobble aggressively and come to any type of calling. The next day you go to hunt him, he may not gobble at all, and/or he may shy away from calling. Wild turkeys are very-complex birds. But if you hunt long enough, you will encounter toms nobody can take. The more you hunt them and learn about them, the greater your odds for bagging one. This week I’ll give tactics to help you take tough toms at the end of the season.

Wild turkey


A sheik is a longbeard dominant gobbler that already has corralled a harem of hens. Because this bird usually has everything he wants to make him happy, he’s very difficult to call and bag. Generally, his hens will lead him to food, water, shade, shelter and the roost.

Oftentimes the leader of this sheik’s flock isn’t the gobbler but rather is the dominant hen. Hens have a pecking order, just like gobblers do with one hen at the top. To get to a sheik, you often must go to war with the dominant hen by calling aggressively with cuts and cackles. You’re trying to invite the sheik to leave his harem and the reign of the dominant hen to come to you. You can:

Wild turkeys
  • Talk directly to the dominant hen as soon as she calls by calling back to her immediately with the same intensity and volume that she calls to you. If the dominant hen becomes upset and decides to come and run the challenger (you) off, she will lead the rest of the flock to you. When you see her coming, cease your calling, and wait for the hens in the flock to pass by you. The gobbler generally will be trailing the hens.
  • Use the reverse tactic. This time when you call, if the gobbler answers, call back to him immediately. Completely ignore the calling of the dominant hen. Instead, speak directly to the gobbler. If the gobbler becomes very excited and gobbles each time you call to him, he may start to herd the hens toward you to attempt to pick you up and add you to his harem. Once again, let the hens pass by before you prepare a shot at the gobbler.
  • Gobble at the tom, but never when hunting public lands or private lands with other hunters in the woods. A gobble may work on a sheik because you’ve offended him and caused him to believe that one of his hens has strayed out of his flock and encountered another boyfriend. Then he may come running to you looking for a fight.
Turkey hunter and his trophy | Push calls

Hard-to-Take Turkeys:

Both man and beast are attracted to a crash and/or a fight and want to see the outcome of a battle. Often when no-other strategy will work, simulating a fight will make all types of turkeys gobble. By using two push-button-type box calls that produce a coarse purr, you can simulate a gobbler fight to pull-in toms. As soon as you begin to give the fighting-purr calls, expect the turkey to gobble, and prepare for the shot. Many times, longbeards will come on the run to see the fight you are simulating. Often if you can’t get a shot, you can call that same gobbler back to that same spot using the fighting purr. These turkey-hunting strategies will help you bag tough-to-take toms at the end of the season.

Check out John E. Phillips’ 12th book: “Turkeys: Today’s Tactics for Longbeards Tomorrow

  • hunting strategies with pros Will Primos, David Hale, Eddie Salter, Preston Pittman, Allen Jenkins, Terry Rohm, Paul Butski, Larry Norton and others.
  • information about taking turkeys with .410 shotguns.
  • box-call techniques.
  • strategies for moving on turkeys.
  • ways to hunt public-land gobblers.
  • the differences in calling and hunting Eastern, Osceola and Western turkeys.
  • the latest research on turkeys; and other information.

Click here to check out John’s 12th turkey book.

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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