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Turkey Calling: Target Call-Shy Gobblers Over Dusting Sites

If gobblers go call-shy, set up at their favorite dust bowl. Here’s what to look for and how to call one in.

Location
Sandy soil and light, powdery dirt make the best dust bowls. The only way to find them is to watch birds—and scout your property. Wide erosion cuts or dry runoffs in sloping pastures often hold potential.

Sign
Active bowls will show fresh tracks (3 inches or larger points to a gobbler), droppings, and feathers lost as the birds roll in the dust. Three-lined strut marks here and there are another good longbeard indicator.

Blind
Set a pop-up blind within range of the bowl, and get comfortable, because the wait might be long. The best times to hunt are late morning and early afternoon.

Decoys
Set a single feeding hen a couple of steps from the bowl, and a breeding hen in the bowl itself. Position both to face your blind location. Gobblers should work around in front of your fakes.

Calling
Subtlety is key. Soft clucks and purrs and short yelps work best. Listen for toms to spit and drum, as birds often approach such situations silently.

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