Long beards are genetically programmed to hang up on their way to your call. That’s how their beards get long. So, don’t give them any more excuses to delay. Choose a set up location that keeps them coming right into your kill zone.
Deadly set ups are locations that a tom cannot see until he steps within range of your weapon, be it thirty or forty yards. Sure, it’s nice to sit where you can watch a tom coming to your call for hundreds of yards, but he will probably hang up out of range because he can see the place the call is coming from and can’t see a hen there. Even if you have decoys, he may still hang up because he expects the hen to come the rest of the way to him. But, if he can’t see the spot the call is coming from, he will keep moving until he can see it and by then he will be in range and yours.
Over the Hill
If your tom is gobbling on the other side of a hill or ridge, be it field or forest, sneak to within thirty yards of the crest, out of his line of sight and set up there to call to him. He will have to come over the crest to investigate your call and he will be in range when he does
Set up on a small level plateau or bench on the side of hill. Being up high, your call will reach out well and it’s the kind of place toms like anyway, to strut and display. But most importantly he won’t see it until he walks up onto the bench so he will keep coming until he is in range.
Dish it Out
Call from a small depression or dish in the landscape, a little deeper than you are tall, when sitting down. I am not talking about a hole here, just a saucer like depression or swale. Be sure of a safe background with this set up as with all the others. Be ready to shoot when you see his crinkly red, white and blue head appear over the crest. Listen for his footsteps in case he stops gobbling to sneak in.
Around the Bend
Toms will travel along tractor trails and logging roads to get to your call. So, set up to call near a bend in the trail that he can’t see around. This will keep him coming around the corner and he will be in range when he steps into view.
Field toms are tough to call to the edge of the field because they can see there is no hen where the call is coming from. So move back twenty or thirty yards into the woods at a point that’s not real brushy but still provides some concealment. If you can get under a field tom’s feathers with your calling he will come to the edge of the field for a look into the woods and be in range for you.
The Right Tree
For every set up, pick out and sit down in front a tree or stump as wide as your shoulders if you can. When you wear full camo and sit in front of a tree your human outline is obscured to a turkey’s monocular vision. As long as you don’t move you look like you are pasted flat onto the tree. Don’t call from hiding in thick bushes because hens don’t call from thick brush. They only go there to hide from predators or to nest and they don’t call from their nesting locations. Also, toms want safe, easy walking when they investigate a call.
If your hunting spot doesn’t have so much as wrinkle in the terrain to put between you and a tom then a pop up blind is the way to go. Wild turkeys are not alarmed by blinds as long as they don’t see or hear you moving inside them. Set them up under full darkness or a day or two before you hunt where you expect toms to be. Wear black clothes and sit back from the window to be less visible inside. Open the windows on the side you expect a tom to come from. Don’t open them on all sides or a tom will see your silhouette inside. But, be sure to undo the zippers or ties for all the windows so you can open them quickly and quietly if a tom comes from a direction you didn’t expect.
Whether you tag a tom or not often depends on where you sit down to call. So when you hear that tom gobbling, take the time to look for the deadliest set up. Then you will get finally get to hoist that tom over your shoulder, free at last from all his hang ups.