The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

April 17, 2014

Gettin’ ready for gobbler season: Step 4 — the setup

By Larry Case
For The Register-Herald

— This just in — in a recent study on turkey hunting and turkey hunters it was found that 98.7 percent of the time when hunters were unsuccessful when calling in a gobbler, the hunter made some mistake during the last 50 yards of the bird’s approach.

OK, I made that up, but if such a study was attempted, I am betting that number would be very close. We are going to talk about how you set  up when calling a turkey this time class, so everybody ready? Let us begin!


You! There in the back! Danny, pay attention! You messed up four turkeys in this area last year, so listen and learn something!

What we are talking about here folks is where and how to sit when you are calling in the old gobbler this year. Let’s start with where.

Anyone who has turkey hunted very long has been faced with the dilemma of exactly where to sit down when you begin calling. So for an example, let’s say the turkey has answered your calls and seems interested in coming toward you. You need to getset up quick! Haste in these situations is what usually causes our downfall.

First, you need a place that the turkey will come to with no problem. I don’t care how many calling contests you have won (and neither does the turkey), you have to be in a place that the gobbler will walk into. You can’t call him through a laurel thicket or over a rock cliff.

You basically need a fairly open area that you can see out at least 40 yards or so, but you may not want to have too much open area for the bird to come through. Many experienced hunters will tell you this; if the gobbler is approaching you and can see your calling position from some distance, he may be leery of coming into gun range if he cannot see a hen waiting on him. True, you may place a decoy to take care of this, but many old turkey hunters use another trick.  

Set up so that in order for the gobbler to come and see you, he will be in gun range. In the mountains, this is often 30 or 40 yards from that break or rise on the hillside. If the approaching turkey comes over that break, you can invite him home for supper.

One more thing on where to sit, do not forget your safety. Always try to find a tree to lean back against that is at least as wide as you are. Most of us know that this will break your outline and conceal you better, but it may also protect you from that unsafe hunter who may approach from behind.

Quickly now, before the bell rings, let’s talk about exactly how to sit. The biggest mistake we make is not sitting properly and not being ready. Here is a thought, practice this before you are hunting and playing for keeps. Sit at the base of a tree and visualize where the turkey is approaching from. Now, for the right handed shooter, point your left shoulder at the direction you think the turkey will come from. Doesn’t sound right? Try this and see what a wide area you can cover. Do the opposite for the left handed shooter.

Most of you know you want to bring up your knees and have your elbows and resting on them. This will keep you steady for a longer period of time.

Not much time, but it goes without saying that you cannot move! If you didn’t get that let me say it again, you cannot move! If you can see the turkey, I will guarantee you that he can see you. Don’t move!

There are so many more things to tell you, many of which you will have to learn on your own, (that is part of the fun).  

That is all for this week class. Danny, don’t forget your homework for next Thursday. Oh yes, one last thing, you can earn 100 extra credit points if you go out and get the location on at least four good turkeys, (and tell me, of course).

— E-mail Larry at