Meadville Tribune

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April 29, 2014

Mastering the art of the call is essential to turkey season success


Click here for video of Case

demonstrating how to use the box call

Do you think that calling wild turkeys into shotgun range is some sort of art form that can never be yours?

Or do you see yourself as a master caller, a being with special powers sent from above, because you have been successful in the turkey woods the past few years?

I have come to tell you, turkey pilgrim, neither one is true. Any hunter can learn to call turkeys with a little practice and perseverance. On the other hand, just because you have carried turkeys out of the woods the past few years does not mean that you are Ben Rogers Lee incarnate (if you don’t know who that is you should)!

No part of turkey hunting has been more talked about, mystified, distorted and downright lied about than the subject of calling. Beginners often look to it as some sort of magical gift that they can never learn, and this fallacy is usually helped along by the older hunters who want to maintain their throne in the hierarchy. When I started hunting turkeys, right after the last ice age, old turkey hunters were famous for not sharing knowledge about this world with young converts to the sport. I am not a competition caller, and I don’t play one on TV. Yet in the past 40-some odd years of chasing these crazy birds around, I have called in the occasional tom turkey. You can, too, if you follow a few simple steps.

1. Get your hands on the best call you can find and practice with it until you feel comfortable. I would start with a friction-type call, either a box call or a glass or slate call and learn to make a passable yelp. Part of the fun here is watching the other members of your household as you practice for hours on end, they will love it! (OK, maybe not.) Don’t worry about any other call until you have a good yelp. The wild turkey has an extensive vocabulary, but often this is the only call that you will need.

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