by Mark Hicks


Serious turkey hunters are in the woods at first light with the intention of calling in a gobbler hot off the roost. But a gobbler isn’t likely to come to your calling while hens are standing in line for his services. That’s when disgruntled hunters often mumble the words “henned up” after they return empty-handed. In this instance, a midmorning hunt has a much greater chance for success. By then, the hens have left the gobblers, and those toms are still in the mood for love. Here are two approaches:

Plan A: Stay Put
If you set up decoys in a field and play the waiting game, stay put and call frequently so any gobbler that wanders within earshot hears your calls.

Plan B: Get Moving
If you hunt large wooded areas, typical of public land, you’re better off covering ground. (Wear fluorescent orange when moving if required.) Sneak along for 60 yards between calling stops. A series of yelps from a mouth call usually does the job, but sometimes cutting, cackling, or even a crow call will yield a better response. You can overrun toms if you move too fast. A tom might not respond to the first three or four calls it hears as you move closer, only to sound off when you’re practically in shotgun range. When that happens, plop down against the nearest tree, because the gobbler often comes on the run. With any luck you’ll be out of the woods in time for a late breakfast, or early lunch.

From the April 2012 issue of Field & Stream magazine.