Thoughts and theories from some successful Oklahoma turkey hunters:

 

• When you think it’s time to get up and move to another hunting spot, stay put for five more minutes. Patience is important.

• When setting up on turkeys before daylight, don’t try to get too close to a roost. If you flush them out of their tree, they may scatter, change their daily routines or move out of the area. Most early morning hunters stay well away from a roost.

• Lengthen the life of a diaphragm call by inserting the curved end of a paper clip between the reeds. This will keep them separated as they dry, and preserve the tone of the call as well as its longevity.

• Do not attempt to take a displaying gobbler. Since a sportsman’s goal is to put as many pellets as possible into the head and neck, a shotgun pattern is most efficient when the bird extends its neck, enlarging the target area. Once a gobbler comes within range, many hunters use some type of vocalization such as a "putt" to bring it out of full strut.

• Some hunters feel a bird is less likely to work downhill toward a call. If a gobbler is located on a hillside or partway up a ridge, these hunters like to climb the slope to call from a position above the tom or at least on the same level.

• If a tom "hangs up," or refuses to come close enough for shot, persuasive techniques may vary according to its proximity. Try softer calling, calling in another direction, using different vocalizations or stop calling all together. If the bird is distant or hidden enough to permit limited movement, try switching calls or actually moving back as if the hen is going away. Another effective method is to lightly rustle or rake leaves with your hand, imitating the sounds of a turkey scratching the ground. Never call or move when a bird is very close, since it will pinpoint the source of sound.

• Wind changes the challenge of turkey hunting. Some hunters like to call louder, move slower and be more alert to birds approaching unheard in the gusts, and unseen in the moving foliage. Other hunters prefer to set up upwind of where they suspect birds to be, and use the wind to help carry their vocalizations.

• Turkeys have a poor sense of smell, so hunters are well served by applying insect repellent. A gobbler won’t smell you, but he can easily see you if you move. If you’re not bothered by mosquitoes or gnats, you’re more apt to sit still longer.

• If you see another hunter in the woods, never move or make turkey sounds. Simply call out a name or the word "hello." Let the sound of a human voice safely alert the hunter that someone else is in the area.