Tips: Turkey Calling
By T.R. Michels, Trinity Mountain Outdoors
The 1, 2, 3 Rule
Tom turkeys can't walk or strut and gobble at the
same time. They generally stop walking or strutting,
then stick their neck out and gobble. The number of
times a tom gobbles can give you clues as to what
the tom is doing, and where it is.
- If a tom gobbles 0 times per 1 minute, and it
is at a strut, there is probably a hen present.
You can: 1. sneak up on the bird, 2. figure out
where the bird will go after it leaves and get there
before it does, 3. wait until the hen leaves, hope
the tom stays, and then try call it in.
- If a tom gobbles 1 time per 1 minute, and it's
before sunrise, it is probably on the roost. You
should set up: 1. at a nearby strut the tom uses,
2. between the tom and any nearby hens, 3. between
the tom and the nearest strut.
- If a tom gobbles 1 time per 2-3 minutes, and
it is before sunrise, the tom is probably on the
ground and moving. There are several things you
can do: 1. if the tom is moving toward you call
just enough to keep it coming. 2. if the tom is
moving away from you try to get it to change it's
mind, but it is probably headed toward a hen, group
of hens or a strut; 3. figure out where the tom
is going and get there before it does.
- If a tom gobbles 2-3 times per 1 minute, and
it is at a strut, there is probably no hen present.
You can: 1. try to get it to leave the strut, which
it is probably reluctant to do, 2. try to sneak
up on it, 3. figure out where it will go after it
leaves and get there before it does, 4. wait until
another day and get to the same area before the
I cannot say that this formula is applicable in all
areas, or with all subspecies of turkeys. But, if
you watch and listen to the birds in your area you
should see some pattern that will help you determine
where the toms are and what they are doing.
This article is an excerpt from the Turkey Addict's
Manual, by T.R. Michels.
T.R. Michels is a nationally recognized game researcher/wildlife
behaviorist, and outdoor writer and speaker, who has
been studying game animals for several years. He is
the author of the Whitetail, Elk, Duck & Goose,
and Turkey Addict's Manuals. His latest
books are the 2003 Revised Edition of the Whitetail
Addict's Manual, the 2003 Revised Edition
of the Elk Addict's Manual; and the 2003
Revised Edition of the Duck & Goose Addict's Manual.
For a catalog of books and other hunting products
T.R. Michels, Trinity Mountain Outdoors
PO Box 284
Wanamingo, MN 55983