Sitting in the stand for hours on end can sometimes make for a miserable weekend of hunting. Sitting and having the expectation that a whitetail will walk down a trail or come to check a scrape can drive a person go crazy!
I have recently been a victim of this insanity. Temperatures are still not cooperating for the elusive whitetail here in Missouri. The mornings are pleasant but shortly after daylight the temps jump up to mid 70s and most know that those temps make it tough to make an all-day sit. With deer movement being very limited and the anxiety to hunt through the roof, I sat and stuck it out. Passing the time became very difficult, I began singing songs to myself and checking my phone every so often and checking the weather for some satisfaction that it would hopefully break.
I eventually decided to use the time to educate myself. I had turkey fairly close to me every morning, now being that I am as hardcore as they come to turkey hunting in the spring I paid very close attention to every sound that these birds made. I had a good friend of mine tell me a while back that the best way to learn the language of the wild turkey cannot be found on the internet, the best and only way to hone your calling skills is to find a flock of turkey on roost, sneak in under them and listen. Don’t communicate with the birds, just listen. So while I was sitting in my stand I watched as a large flock of birds sat in a tree and woke up to start a new day. The birds were very talkative for a fall morning, the toms were gobbling and the hens were yelping and clucking loudly and often, it kind of felt like a cool spring morning with the toms trying to sweet talk the hens and the hens tempting the gobblers!
As I sat thirty yards from mother nature’s orchestra, I took mental note on which birds spoke the most, which birds spoke the loudest and so on and so forth. Thus, instead of trying to fight off Mr. Sandman and falling asleep on the stand, I educated myself on the language of the elusive wild turkey. Like I said before, it is hard to keep your morale up when sitting on the stand for long hours, so why not educate yourself in the meantime?
The birds pitched down to the bottom and scattered from each other in the process. Most turkey hunters know that the best call for the fall season is the kee-kee run. It is a locator call that the birds use to find each other and establish the flock again. Some people can pick up a mouth call and nail it on the first attempt. But for me, it had always been my major weakness in mouth calling. So as the birds sat there and found each other with the kee-kee, I joined in with them (it’s never a bad idea to take a mouth call in your pack when early whitetail hunting, you just never know!). I would talk to them and they would respond in the same tone that I had just made.
Shortly after I could see three blue heads over a log making their way towards me! I didn’t get overly excited because they were 70 yards away and did not appear to be convinced that there was another bird on top of the ridge. The birds made it to about fifty yards and then milled off down the hill. I was not too upset, I had finally had some action in front of my stand, and I had just perfected a new call sequence to add to my arsenal! The moral of the story is, go into the woods with the mindset to learn something new every time you go in. I went in planning on killing whitetail knowing that the weather was not in my favor. But listening to those turkey talk for an hour helped me learn more about how turkey communicate and it will help me in the future when I’m chasing after the big Missouri gobblers!