At one point or another, every turkey hunter has heard of a proven tactic that can almost guarantee filling that tag. Here is why these so-called 'proven tactics' won't get you a turkey.
Don't believe everything you hear and always take and advice with a grain of salt. There is more to filling your tag than you think.
Yelping With a Slate or Box Call
The first piece of advice given to any turkey hunter is to buy a slate or box call and start making yelping noises.
"More turkeys have been shot over a yelp than not" is the saying most often heard. While this may be true, it takes a while to perfect your call before being successful at calling one in.
While the call itself is important to practice and get the cadence and sound correct, it is almost as important to learn when not to call. Calling too often can scare off a turkey as it does not sound natural.
Try to limit it to two or three calls every fifteen minutes at most. If the turkey is coming in, put the call down and listen instead. It will be looking for the turkey that made the noise so you do not want to call attention to yourself.
Putting out a Decoy
YouTube is full of videos of hunters having their decoys ripped to shreds by aggressive Toms. Is it any wonder why so many hunters run out and purchase the biggest most colorful decoy they can find?
What they do not realize is they are more likely to have a smaller Tom or Jake come in and be scared off by the larger and dominant decoy.
Placing a single hen decoy, or two hen decoys and a non-dominant Jake is much less intimidating to other turkeys. If you are interested in getting that long beard and big spurs and know there is a large dominant Tom in the area, then hunt him.
If all you want is meat in the freezer, stick to the hen and Jake decoys.
Using the KiKi Run
Fall turkeys are near impossible to get to come in using the calls that were so successful in the spring. This time of year they are typically flocking together and will not wander off by themselves. One tactic used for these fall birds is to "bust the flock."
This is done by running at them while making loud noises. The goal is to have the birds scatter in every direction. Once successfully scattered the hunter will set up and call them back with a KiKi call.
The reason why this so-called "proven tactic" does not work is failure to scatter the flock. More often than not this is due to the lack of surprise created by a less-than-enthusiastic nominee being chosen as the one to bust the flock.
You really need to scatter the birds with a sense of urgency otherwise they will fly away together. Many times you can almost hear them laughing at the out-of-breath hunter as the turkeys simply relocate to the other side of the field.
Sneak in as close as you can get and when it comes time to bust the flock you have to put your whole heart into it. The goal should be to get into the center of the flock before they even realize what happened (or as close to as possible).
This may require waiting until the flock comes closer to a tree, hill, or other obstacle that will allow you to get closer. Otherwise you are just pushing birds around.
Next time someone tells you they have a so-called "proven tactic" for turkey hunting, there is probably much more to it then they are telling you. Try it for yourself but do not expect to fill that tag the first time.
Who knows, you could always get lucky and I would take luck over any so-called "proven tactic" any day.