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Author Topic: Common mistakes  (Read 1626 times)

Offline Marc

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Common mistakes
« on: March 26, 2020, 02:49:43 PM »
I have seen a thread on this subject, but not for a bit...  Thought it might be a good time for a refresher for any new hunters visiting this site...

Post some of the mistakes that beginning (or experienced) hunters frequently make:

1) Over-calling.  Sometimes if a bird is coming in fast to aggressive calling, I will continue, but more often than not, it seems to me that over-calling will make that Tom expect the hen to come to him.  I do not think there have been many (if any birds) that did not come in cause I did NOT call enough, but I am certain that I have made birds hang up due to over-calling.

2) Moving from an area too quickly.  I have encountered a number of times I planted myself for a bit on a responding bird, and got up to leave (cause he stopped responding), only to realize that the bird was close...  Possibly due to having more patience, or maybe due to being more lazy, I have in recent years encountered more and more birds which gave an initial gobble, and then approached completely silent right into gun range.

An example which illustrates of both of these issues, a couple years back I was hunting with my young daughter...  After several hours of hunting she was ready to go home (or look for pine cones, or something else).  We had some birds off the property and some distance away that had been gobbling, but not moving any closer.  After a 1/2 hour of occasionally calling to these birds and them not moving, I talked my daughter into breaking out our lunch and snacks (hidden between a couple downed trees).  We kept the noise level down, but ate our lunch, and observed some wildlife with the binoculars in relative silence (no calling) for about 1/2 hour...

As we packed up to leave, I told my daughter to try her call one more time, and those birds answered right on top of us (we had no idea they were there).  They came out from a tree-line (3 jakes and a tom), and my daughter got to see her first turkey harvested.

3) Sound and movement.  These birds see and hear differently than we do.  Sitting and fidgeting for long periods will likely frighten unseen birds...  As will talking, or clanging calls and gear together.

If I am going to sit for a long period...  I try and either choose, or make an area that hides me from any extraneous movement I might make.  I will sit behind a log or rock that hides me while I eat or stop to rest (and listen) for a bit.  I generally make a series of calls before taking such a break (and hope for the best).  I might even move or cut some brush to make a natural blind for extended periods of sitting.

Also, organize your gear so that it does not "clang" or "bang" together when removing or replacing it.  Turkey hunting is not a good time to watch a YouTube video while waiting for a bird to come in.

4) Avoid calling at birds you can see (if you can).  There will likely be some disagreement on this subject.  But I feel if I can see the bird, he can see me; and if I call when he can see me, he can pinpoint me.  If a bird I can see is leaving the area, I wait until he is behind and obstruction before calling.  There are exceptions to this though.

But calling at a bird that you can see that is coming towards you, is a mistake...  Let him come until he isn't, or until he is in range.  Sometimes un-alerted birds will approach at a painfully slow pace.  Just breath, relax, and let him keep coming.

5) Moving your gun to the bird before he is in range, or not moving it when he is in good range.  I know some will disagree with me on this, but having taken some inexperienced hunters, they often want to move their gun to the bird long before the bird is in range.  If you can see the bird, he can see you.  Let that bird get into good range, and then worry about getting the gun on him...  Or wait until he (or they) are behind an obstruction before moving.

And, unless the bird comes in behind me or to my far right (as a right-handed shooter), I have found that when I do move my gun to a bird in good range, I have a brief moment to get off a clean and ethical shot.  If I have to make a large gun movement to the bird, I do so quickly and decisively, and have generally found that there is a brief moment that the birds head comes up, and gives me a perfect opportunity to make a quick/clean kill-shot.

I personally have witnessed and attempted to move my gun to a bird too early and ruined the situation...  I have also witnessed and have been guilty of letting birds in good range walk without attempting to make that decisive gun movement.


Please post up those mistakes or misconceptions you have made or witnessed!!!  For the new hunters and the old guys....
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Offline C. Brumfiel

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Re: Common mistakes
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2020, 02:53:52 PM »
Don't forget to load your gun!!!
« Last Edit: March 27, 2020, 10:45:11 AM by C. Brumfiel »
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Offline Pluffmud

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Re: Common mistakes
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2020, 03:16:50 PM »
One thing I would add... You can definitely call too much. But, you can also make the mistake of not calling enough! I've killed a handful of birds by being the loudest, most agressive, moodiest, most bossy hen in the woods. I wouldnt have killed those birds if I held back on the call.

Online GobbleNut

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Re: Common mistakes
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2020, 03:44:39 PM »
Good stuff, Marc. Thoughtfully and thoroughly put together.  I agree with all of the points made, in general, but as you state, there are exceptions to almost everything. 

The one point you make that should be emphasized is the one regarding calling to a bird that is in sight and closing.  If a gobbler is on the way, why continue to call to him,...especially if he is obviously coming to you?   I have watched waaayyy too many videos where the hunter/caller did not get a gobbler because he did not know when to shut his yapper. 

Now, there may be points in a gobbler's approach where he is getting off-course a bit and needs some subtle hint that he is headed the wrong way, but that can be accomplished by whispering (or other soft, encouraging sounds) rather than yelling at him that he needs to adjust his heading. 

All of us want to chat with a gobbler that is on his way, but there is a time and place for that,...and there is a time and place for shutting the heck up!

...I also agree entirely with Pluffmud's post that there are most certainly times where calling aggressively is a better choice than calling passively.  You just have to realize when it's time to do one or the other,...and if you are doing one, when it's time to switch to the other....


Offline bbcoach

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Re: Common mistakes
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2020, 03:54:27 PM »
Two things that haven't been mentioned yet that will RUIN a hunt, 1. Never ever setup with the sun in your face, always at your back.  Pick an area that is shaded, if possible, with the right amount of cover.  Always think about where the sun is and where it's going  2. If you have a pretty good idea which direction the bird will come from, always setup with your strong side open as much as possible (right hand shooters that will be your left side and lefties you want your right side opened up)  This way, you can swing your gun in a much bigger arch without much movement on your part. 

Offline silvestris

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Re: Common mistakes
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2020, 04:19:47 PM »
“but there is a time and place for that,...and there is a time and place for shutting the heck up!”

Gobblenut, when are the proper times and places for each?

Online GobbleNut

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Re: Common mistakes
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2020, 04:46:51 PM »
“but there is a time and place for that,...and there is a time and place for shutting the heck up!”

Gobblenut, when are the proper times and places for each?

Good question,...to which I wish I had the answer for every gobbler I've ever worked.  :)
I do know that if a gobbler is coming straight to me at 60 yards I should pretty definitely shut the heck up! 

Offline Marc

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Re: Common mistakes
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2020, 06:18:35 PM »
“but there is a time and place for that,...and there is a time and place for shutting the heck up!”

Gobblenut, when are the proper times and places for each?

Bird in sight moving towards me...  I am shutting up...

Another hen comes into play...  Things changes things rather quickly.   A lot depends on where the hen is compared to me and the bird, is the tom reacting to the hen and changing direction?  But, with another hen in the game, I will often call when I would normally stay silent.

A hen behind me, and a tom in front...  I am going to stay quiet...  A tom in front, and a hen behind him, I might start calling back to the hen....  Especially if that tom starts to change direction, or even if the tom is some distance away and the hen is moving towards both of us.

I have made some good calculations that worked out well, and some poor guesses that left me cursing....  Which is why I look forward to each hunt. ;D
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Offline EZ

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Re: Common mistakes
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2020, 06:54:50 PM »
Don't hunt turkeys where there are no turkeys :)

Offline Greg Massey

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Re: Common mistakes
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2020, 01:48:37 AM »
Trying to call the same bird , to many morning in a row. Leaving to early after setting up on a bird , and thinking he's not coming , that gobbler knows your location and may come check you later in the morning, so be patient. Don't forget about using a Jake yelp , that's another call you can make also with some pot calls.

Offline Paulmyr

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Re: Common mistakes
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2020, 03:00:23 AM »
Two things that haven't been mentioned yet that will RUIN a hunt, 1. Never ever setup with the sun in your face, always at your back.  Pick an area that is shaded, if possible, with the right amount of cover.  Always think about where the sun is and where it's going
Although I agree with this tactic is not always feesable. There could be a number of reasons. Fields, property lines, or a number of factors can keep me from having the sun at my back. If I am on a ridge in mourning and a turkey gobbles down in the valley to the east of me. I will not be giving up the high ground on order to get the sun at my back. I will pick the the best place I can find preferably in the shade and set up.

Offline Harty

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Re: Common mistakes
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2020, 06:01:24 AM »
Great thread and review for me guys. Thanks for getting started Marc.

Big mistake IMO is impatience and others have alluded to this. Hunters often move too soon,try to get too close,shoot too soon,and move through the woods too quickly and loudly. Need be patient,Patient,PATIENT.

Offline Hooksnhorns

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Re: Common mistakes
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2020, 04:42:55 PM »
Great thread and comments, men.

  I think that calling to a gobbler on the limb is something that could go both ways. Generally, if I think he’s alone and no hens around, I may only cluck once or twice. NEVER in response to his gobbles. Only in the space of time in between them. Never respond to him on the limb. Now, having said that, if he has hens, the ballgame changes. If he has hens, I’ll respond passively to them. I may after a few gobbles respond to him to let him know I’m interested. Also, I like to be the first hen on the ground. If I’m outta sight of em, I’ll cluck a few times and fly down and take my wing and tap the leaves like a walking turkey and scratch. Reaching around the tree behind me.
  Nothing works all the time and nothing is a deal breaker. Even if you shoot and miss a gobbler ( worse case scenario) you still could get a 2nd shot and kill him. So, never chisel anything in stone when it comes to turkey hunting. Have fun and Enjoy this great creation our Father has given us to chase and always give a gobbler respect. To me, there’s just something special about turkeys.
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Offline ManfromGreenSwamp

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Re: Common mistakes
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2020, 05:31:52 PM »
Waiting for the right shot not rushing it when he is finally there.
Take only good, clean, ethical shots of the head/neck at the right moments and distances would be my 0.02


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Online GobbleNut

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Re: Common mistakes
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2020, 08:06:36 PM »
Don't hunt turkeys where there are no turkeys :)

:)  :)  Of all the mistakes to be made, this is definitely the worst!  Unfortunately, I think there have been a few times when I have made that one!