In Ray Eye’s last book “The Turkey Hunter’s Bible” he wrote that he did not understand why anyone would scare a bunch of turkeys before attempting to call them back in. His reference was primarily regarding the common fall tactic of scattering a flock. Ray makes his point about this tactic being counter productive that it’s better to call undisturbed turkeys. Well, that works too, I’ve done it many times. But there are situations in spring and fall that scaring turkeys does increase your chances of calling them back in.
I must admit I feel a little apprehensive about disputing anything Ray says, after all I respect him as an expert turkey caller and hunter. Be that as it may I have had great success calling in scared turkeys and I will at times scare them on purpose.
When to scare turkeys in the spring?
You find a mixed a group of turkeys out in a field with the toms strutting for the hens who are not paying a lot of attention to the wannabe suitors. Most hunters setup, attempt to call and lure the turkeys over to them. In most cases these turkeys ignore the hunter’s overtures continuing to attend to the turkey business at hand. Think of these turkeys as comfortable turkeys. They are doing what they want to do in what they consider good company with no reason to go anywhere else.
What to do now?
As long as the turkeys are content they have no reason to investigate you or any other turkey that may desire to compete with them. Time to shake up their confidence. In this situation I sneak, as best I can as close as possible and then rush them in an attempt to send the hens one way the gobblers the other. Now you have turkeys that are no longer comfortable or complacent rather the turkeys are nervous and their ingrained behavior pattern urges them to regroup.
I move to where the hens were and setup, many times this requires hiding in plain sight. Wait about 10-15 minutes to begin calling. Usually the gobblers are back within 30 minutes of calling. Bang!
Ray’s book contains good advice and I recommend it. It’s just that unlike Ray Eye I am not an pro turkey caller so comfortable turkeys feel no reason to come on over to visit my calls. My tactic is to make them uncomfortable and vulnerable. Vulnerable turkeys are killable turkeys.