The Turkey Hunter’s Bag Of Tricks

I don’t figure I’m much different than most turkey hunters.   Part of my enjoyment with the sport is experimenting with various calls…and for that reason I just happen to have a hunting vest full of the curious little devices.   But have you ever tried to explain to someone — particularly a spouse — what all the calls are used for and why they are really necessary for hunting?   Me neither, well…not until earlier today.   Just one word of advice…DON’T!

As I sat on the livingroom floor I sprawled out my entire collection of calls reliving the memories of mornings gone by.   Of course, I was rejoicing in the sweet success of why certain calls have worked in the past…as well as contemplating a plausible explanation why others just haven’t lived up to their expectations.   With nearly every call I pulled from my vest I could associate some sort of memory with the device — whether it was good or bad.

Then, along came my wife who sat down in the chair next to me.   Now for those of you who are not aware of this…we’ve only been married for about a year.   During this time she has endured many of my sportsman-related idiosyncrasies…but turkey hunting is a new one for her.   In her attempt to understand what I was doing…she asked me about the calls.

Initially I cringed thinking her only motivation for asking was an attempt to prove that I have way too much gear for my hunting exploits.   Realistically, for me trying to explain the subtle benefits of each turkey call would be akin for her trying to explain to me why each bottle of makeup in her cosmetic bag is really essential.   Perhaps some topics are best left unexplored between the genders…but I guess our young marriage hasn’t quite understood that principle yet.

She pointed to the two Tupperware cases and asked what’s in there?   Those are my Cody friction calls, I responded.   The one is a natural slate and the other is glass.   I keep them in these handy Tupperware containers to keep any moisture out from ruining them.   I went on to explain that these calls were my pride and joy as they are very expensive calls that have aided me in bagging more than one bird over the years.   That’s nice…she responded.   But the look on her face told me she was more intrigued and probably silently contemplating how she could somehow add those Tupperware containers to her growing collections of kitchen food storage gadgets.   I quickly put them away to get them out of her sight.

She then asked me about the long boxes laying on the floor.   No wait! she told me.   I better go grab a beer before I hear this explanation.   Upon her return I proceeded to explain to her that this one was my Lynch’s World Champion box call.   I struck the chalked paddle a few times and she told me STOP THAT!   It hurts my ears, she exclaimed!   Honey, you just heard what a raspy old hen would be telling a big old gobbler in an attempt to seduce him.   She wasn’t buying it…the high-pitched sounds to her ears were nothing but pure irritating noise.   So I then picked up my boat paddle…and began serenading her with some sweet sounds from this specialty call.   Again, my wife wasn’t impressed and told me that’s enough.

I proceeded to one by one methodically go through my entire collection of calls both attempting to explain the benefits as well as producing the lovely sounds.   I shook my gobble shaker to imitate the sounds of a big ol’ excited tom turkey.   Her response was…why would you use that one?   Are you hunting gay turkeys?   No, you just don’t understand, dear.   During turkey season a male turkey gets so horned up with sexual energies that they will give away their location simply by hearing a loud sound, such as another turkey gobble.   It’s a locator call mostly used (for safety’s sake) in the evenings when you are “putting the turkeys to bed (roost).”

Huh?   What in the world would you put a turkey to bed for, she questioned?   Because in the next morning you want to put yourself in a position where turkeys are known to be.   No sense getting up early and going to all the trouble of trying to hunt them if there are no turkeys even in the woods.   Okay, whatever…she mumbled.

As I proceeded to practice my various diaphragm calls, my owl hooter, my crow call, my pheasant call, and others she eventually got up from her chair ready to walk away…but not before asking me…when do you go turkey hunting again?   In just 6 1/2 weeks, sweetie…just 6 1/2 more weeks.

I think it was at that point in time we finally agreed on one thing…that spring turkey hunting season can’t arrive soon enough for both of our sakes.

© 2006 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.   No Reproduction without Prior Permission.