In the Field

Turkey Hunting – My #1 Deadliest Turkey Call – Turkey Scratching

Turkey Hunting – My #1 Deadliest Turkey Call – Turkey Scratching

Ah yes, it’s that time of year – turkey season! There are few things as challenging or as satisfying as enjoying a big, delicious wild turkey dinner with friends and family with a wild turkey that you harvest yourself. In this blog, I’ll be sharing with you my #1 deadliest turkey calling tactic that works great during both the spring and fall seasons. I wrote a blog article about this topic several years ago but thought I’d do an updated version along with a video demonstration.

After hunting wild turkey for well over two decades now and filling my fair share of turkey tags with both gun and bow, I’ve noticed that one of the most deadly turkey calls of all is rarely talked about in hunting articles or demonstrated on videos or TV shows. The call I’m talking about does not require any fancy gizmos or calling gadgets. In fact, with a little practice, you don’t need any kind of a calling device at all, except a stick. This simple, yet incredibly effective call that I am referring to is that of leaf scratching. That’s right, the simple sound of rhythmically, yet methodically scratching around in the leaves or brush on the forest floor in either wet or dry conditions can be the ace in the hole for bringing in the birds. Doing this scratching sound which imitates turkeys looking for food and feeding, along with making some quiet, soft feeding calls such as “purrs, putts” and relaxed “yelps,” with either a diaphragm call or even just your natural voice is indeed a major recipe for a successful turkey hunt. And again, it’s extremely effective in both the fall and spring seasons.

As many of you experienced hunters know, once a tom turkey is with his hens first thing in the morning, it can be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to pull him away from his ladies in order to come check out your desperate calling. You can use decoys and all manner of turkey calling trickery to try and get a long beard to come in close, with little results, which can be very frustrating. The most commonly used turkey calling techniques appeal to the bird’s mating urge, sense of jealousy, or dominance. You can try to call in the hens, hoping that the tom will follow, or even try to ambush or stalk up on a gobbler, but in most cases, if the gobbler is with the girls, he’s going to stay with them until his business is done. However, when the ladies go back to their nests later in the morning, leaving Mr. Tom all alone, he can be quite vulnerable and much easier to call in using the traditional calls such as yelping and cutting.

Something else that many experienced hunters can attest to is the fact that even when alone and vulnerable, quite often that gobbler will only come in so far, and then won’t budge another inch! “Hung up birds” are very tough and frustrating to deal with. But of course, those older wiser birds stay put for good reason…the natural order of things is for the hens to go to him…not the other way around. It’s in this scenario especially this “leaf scratching” technique is very deadly! I’ve found again and again that if a bird won’t come in because of greed or lust, he will because of gluttony! Yes indeed…even animals fall prey to the “seven deadly sins!”

When a gobbler or hen hears what he/she thinks is another bird stuffing its greedy beak with all kinds of delicious food, they almost always come right in. Sometimes they come running in so fast that they are right on top of you, and other times they come stealthily tip-toeing in to investigate, thus, you have to be ready for anything. So to wrap things up, if you encounter some stubborn birds this season, be sure to give this leaf scratching and feeding purrs calling technique a try. Check out the video below to see more, including a demonstration of this technique.

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