The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


April 17, 2014

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

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

Text Only
  • 071714 Coda and Callie.jpg Coda and Callie’s excellent adventure

    How is it something that you profess to love so much can cause you so much anxiety and grief? No, I’m not talking about dealing with your children (or your spouse). This is worse. This is about dogs. More specifically, hunting dogs. 

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 071314 Chris Ellis.jpg DNR’s ‘outdoor summer school’

    Attention all West Virginia hunters and trappers. It is once again time for outdoor summer school and the course materials are hot off the presses.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meet the Eurasian collared-dove

    Back in 1974 a local pigeon fancier imported a flock of about 50 Eurasian collared-doves to the Bahamas. Ultimately he released the birds, and they took to living in the West Indies. By the late 1970s some had reached south Florida, and by the late 1980s, some had been seen in Georgia and Arkansas.

    July 13, 2014

  • July in W.Va.: Recreational opportunities abound

    It’s July in the West Virginia mountains, which brings vibrant orange tiger lilies, blooming rhododendron, and of course fireworks. Usually the heat and humidity is in full force, but so far the weather has been nice.

    July 13, 2014

  • Shotgun 101: Shoot more and live better

    “God is not on the side of big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best.”
    — Voltaire

    July 9, 2014

  • Fireflies are living lights

    At recent Fourth of July fireworks displays, spectators squealed with delight at the annual spectacle that illuminated the night sky. And I’m sure more than a few compared the spectacular pyrotechnics to the subtler displays of fireflies that punctuate backyards, parks, and campgrounds all summer long. We call these displays “nature’s fireworks.”

    July 5, 2014

  • Get on up, or you’ll get left behind

    “Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.” —
    William Shakespeare

    July 3, 2014

  • Catfish, it's whats for dinner

    I think for far too long the catfish has had an image problem. They seemed to be the Rodney Dangerfield of the fish world. You know, they got no respect. Fortunately though (maybe unfortunately if you are a catfish), that seems to be in the past. They are a fish whose time has come.

    June 28, 2014

  • It’s more than a boat, it’s an adventure

    Growing up on Elk River, I couldn’t help being connected to the river and its waters. It is where I caught my first fish, learned to swim, paddle a canoe, to read water and throw a buzz bait, killed my first duck, gigged frogs and spent many a Saturday night fishing for catfish. We lived in a river bank community, and the Elk provided us with everything from water for our homes to all the recreation a young boy would need to fill his youthful requirements for adventure.

    June 28, 2014

  • Old friends at the beach

    If your summer vacation plans include a trip to an east coast beach, I can’t predict everything you might see. But one bird that I guarantee you’ll encounter many times is the laughing gull.

    June 28, 2014

Web Special Sections
  • Special Web Sections

    Click HERE for stories about natural gas and Marcellus shale gas extraction.

    Click HERE for stories about the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

    Click HERE for stories about the passing of U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

    Click HERE for stories from The Greenbrier Classic PGA TOUR event.

    August 6, 2010

Helium debate
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment