by Steve Sorensen
When you’re moving through the woods attempting to get a gobbler to sound off, don’t just focus your ears. Focus your eyes, too. Look around, think about how turkeys use the landscape, and ask yourself questions. Do turkeys walk this logging road? Do they come up along this ravine? Is this a place where a gobbler can be seen and heard? Will he feel safe here? The more questions you ask yourself about turkey behavior, the more you’ll notice great places to set up.
Four Set-Ups That Often Do Work
1. On field edges – Turkeys are comfortable in fields. That’s probably because turkeys are prey animals, and depend largely on their eyes for defense. They want to see danger at a distance. It’s also because turkeys find a smörgåsbord in greenfields – vegetation in the form of clover, and protein in the form of spiders, grasshoppers and such.
This visual dependency is why decoys work along field edges. When a gobbler sees a hen that looks comfortable, he has less fear in approaching. Even though the normal thing is for the hen to go to the gobbler, once the gobbler sees the hen he often needs no coaxing.
2. At high points – Gobblers tend to sound off from high points, where they can be seen and heard. A high point doesn’t necessarily need to be the highest spot around, but it needs to be a spot where the gobbler expects to be seen, where he’s accustomed to meeting hens, where they see him strutting in all his glory.
These are the places experienced turkey hunters know where gobblers can be killed almost every year. These “bachelor pads” aren’t always high points, but they have three characteristics in common: visibility (where a gobbler can be seen), audibility (where he can be heard), and confidence (where he feels safe). To find out more about these places check out “The Bachelor Pad: How to Find Where Gobblers Die.” When you call from a bachelor pad the gobbler thinks the hen has beaten him to their meeting place.
3. Along logging roads – Gobblers generally prefer to take the easy way, and that often means they move along some kind of trail. They’re comfortable on trails because they can see a distance.
When hunting a trail, set up on a curve. That gives the gobbler the impression that his voluptuous babe is just around the bend, or slightly off the trail. You have a built-in advantage – he doesn’t expect to see her until he gets close.
4. On the level – You don’t always have to call a gobbler uphill. It often works even better to set up on the same level as the gobbler. When he’s on the same level, he’s likely to zigzag toward the call. Unless he’s on a clear trail or old logging road, he’ll have to walk around small obstacles – maybe a fallen log, a bush, or a rock. Those terrain features will give you an advantage because they give him more to focus on than the spot the calling is coming from.
When setting up for a spring gobbler, realize he’s a prey animal that needs a high comfort level in order to come to the call. When you keep in mind where the gobbler wants to go, and call him there, you’re apt to be more successful.
About Steve Sorensen
Award-winning outdoor writer and speaker Steve Sorensen loves the Havalon knife, and has been a fan of knives since he begged his dad for a hunting knife when he was six years old. His articles have been published in Deer & Deer Hunting Magazine, Sports Afield, and many other top magazines across the USA. Invite Steve to speak at your next sportsman’s event, and follow his writing on his website, www.EverydayHunter.com.
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