Some of us make this whole business of calling turkeys a lot more complicated than it needs to be. I know that I do.
After returning to camp exhausted from chasing a reluctant gobbler up and down the beautiful, but rugged Black Hills of South Dakota one morning not many springs ago, I vowed that I was going to go the lean and mean route on the afternoon hunt.
That afternoon after I had eaten lunch and taken a short nap, I emptied out the contents of my turkey vest onto the picnic table at our campsite and was surprised to discover that I was lugging around 21 different calls, some of which I had not used in years. There was an owl hooter, crow call, and predator call for hopefully forcing a shock gobble out of a tom. I had three different box calls, four pot's with a dozen different strikers, an ancient set of fighting purr calls, a wingbone yelper and ... well you get the idea. I even found that set of truck keys I hadn't seen for two years!
Master One Call
No, I didn't kill a gobbler on that afternoon hunt, but by golly my vest was lighter, and I'm happy to report that I've kept the weight off and the clutter down in the years since.
I'm probably not ever going to get down to using just a single call for all of my turkey hunting, but I have known hunters who rely on only one call, and in each case, they have been very successful turkey hunters.
I am not suggesting that you or I should limit ourselves to just a single call. Personally, part of the fun in calling turkeys is the variety of different calls you can use to get the job done.
But I will say that all of us would be better off if we practiced with, and hunted with, just one call until we were proficient with that call, before trying out other turkey calls.
Too often, we turkey hunters are guilty of thinking that a new call is going to make us better turkey callers, when in reality, the secret is in using one call until you are so comfortable and familiar with that call, that each and every time you use it, you are making flawless yelps, clucks, cutts, and purrs. Then and only then, should we start practicing on another call.
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Gary Clancy writes a weekly column for sportsmansguide.com. Gary has hunted whitetail deer in 20 different states and provinces. He has harvested many record-book animals, and presented hunting seminars from Tennessee to Wisconsin. Gary also has authored or co-authored six hunting books, four on whitetail hunting.