BURNET — Having a turkey mosey up to a feeder or wander into a deer rifle’s range are the most common ways of taking a bird during the fall season, but not the most challenging.
Robert Linder, a hunter and turkey caller who has gone after the wild birds across the country and around the world, believes it doesn’t take much to step it up a bit during the fall.
“Go in there and bust up those flocks,” Linder recommended. Unlike in the spring, when the gobblers break off as bachelors, during the fall, the birds tend to run together in large flocks of as many as 20-40 birds. And in the fall, you can take hens as well as gobblers.
Locating the flock might be the toughest part at this point. Linder said the easiest way to do this is by locating roosting birds in the morning and allowing them to come down and begin moving as a group later in the day.
And it doesn’t matter how you break them up — whether you run at them, scream at them or even use a dog to charge into the flock. Just scatter them.
The real fun and challenge begins when the birds are scattered about.
“Then, what you have to do is wait about an hour and then start calling them in,” Linder said.
One of the best calls is mimicking a lost youth. The hens will begin calling out to try to find their lost young, so if you hold tight and wait, you just might be able to lure in a nice hen.
Linder said probably the most productive call is a “ki-ki” call, but it’s also the most difficult to master. So, he recommended hunters try an “assembly call,” which is a series of yelps for seven to ten times.
“It starts off soft, increases in the middle and then tapers off,” he said.
Another critical touch is your choice of firearm. Instead of using a rifle, which is capable of killing a turkey at 100 yards or better, use a shotgun — or even a bow. You’ll be forced to draw in the turkey even closer.
“I tell you, it’s really something to call a turkey in that close,” Linder said. “Now, that’s hunting.”