Turkey calling can be frustrating sometimes. You never know exactly how the birds will respond to your calls or if they are even around to hear you.

With that being said here is some advice from a man with decades of turkey calling experience. It also doesn’t hurt that he has plenty of experience producing turkey calls as well. Dean “Redbeard” Mundhenke, founder of Madhatter Calls, is considered one of the foremost experts on not just crafting calls, but how to use them as well. Here are five exclusive tips from Dean that you can utilize in the upcoming season to increase your odds of success.

1. After the first week, listen to the hens in the area, if they are vocal then chances are you can be just as vocal. Once they begin to sit, their “talk” becomes less frequent and quieter, and so should yours. Opening weekend is a different story. Most times you can call as much and as loud as you care to, but that doesn’t last long especially not for the old toms.

2. In addition to learning the calls of the wild turkey, cadence etc., learn how to act like one in the woods. Don’t go off a hundred miles an hour, calling all the time. Walk slow, scratch some leaves, listen to the other birds. Often times a crow, woodpecker, squirrel, or blue jay will give away the presence of the forest king.

3. Let the gobblin’ tom tell you how to proceed. If he’s hotter than a pistol, cutting off your every call, then enjoy it and hammer him with your skills. If it’s just once in a while, shut up, he knows where you are.

4. Let the birds go about their roost talk as if you were never there, especially once they’ve been hunted a few weeks. You might do better with fly down wing beats, some leaf noise. Once he hits the ground, throw him some soft sweet talk and go from there. I find less is more later in the season. They know the real hens are quiet then because they don’t need predators finding the nests. He might just think you’re an old barren hen no worthy of his time.

5. The only real expert in the turkey woods are the turkey’s themselves. You really can’t make hard and fast rules for there is always one bird that wasn’t in school that day. Best just to spend as much time in the woods, when he’s ready to die, you can crow at him and kill him, until then……….good luck.

Here is a short documentary on Redbeard’s obsession with all things turkey hunting. You might say that his passion is a Disease…

 

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  • piseco

    Boy, that sure is the truth! I started hunting them in 1980 and since then I never missed a day during the seasons. Between myself and calling for other folks I have killed over 200 gobblers in 4 different states. I’ve finally had to quit. Just gotten too darn old at 82. But it surely changed changed my life; and for the better! I can’t make up my mind if hunting gobblers or big bucks is the most fun. It just depends on what I am doing at the moment I guess.

    • Dean Redbeard Mundhenke

      Sure would love to sit on a porch and hear yer tales my friend. My hopes I just croak on over from a heart attack when I throw that last bird over my shoulder for the Dead Bird Rodeo…don’t ever wanna flat out quit……..but we all know that’s likely not to happen. Congrats on a fine run sir and should we ever meet, I’d be proud to shake yer hand.

      • piseco

        Well, many thanks sir! Turkeys have, among other things, certainly taught me the value of humility above all. Each time I have concluded that I was a hot-shot turkey hunter, the next bird has made me realize that I barely even know what I am doing and am probably an idiot.

      • Dean Redbeard Mundhenke

        You got that right, they make a fool of me more times than not but that’s what I love about it. I was just thinkin’ it may be one of the few sports you can fail at and still have a good time. Fishin’ maybe but heck I’d rather miss a gobbler than loose a fish. I hate it when that happens. HA

      • Buckhed

        Redbeard…sound advice coming from a sage of the turkey woods.

        I likewise hope my last day on earth is in the turkey woods.

        I look forward to seeing you in Unicoi next year. Heck I may get a wild hair and ride down to see you one day.

      • Redbeard

        I’d love that buddy, I just joined a lease in Lincolnton, GA and scouted it yesterday, saw two big strutters and a group of about 8 gobblers, most likely jakes, but I believe it will have birds. Mostly pines, cutover and food plots, big ass foodplots. That’s pretty close to SC.