HAMBURG – As a member of the Hunter's Specialties professional staff of hunters, Harrisburg native Matt Morrett has the opportunity to hunt spring gobblers throughout the United States.
In addition, Morrett has won the World Friction Championship five times, the Grand National Championship once and the U.S. Open Turkey Calling Championship seven times. As impressive as his resume is, what he emphasises when giving seminars, like the one last year at the Cabela's in Hamburg, is that there is no need to call like a champion to get a gobbler into range.
Morrett says it is not so important how a hunter sounds when imitation a hen as long as they are consistent with the sounds. That is true if taking a Junior hunter or a Mentored Youth Hunter out for the Pennsylvania Game Commission's youth turkey day, Saturday, April 21, or waiting until the beginning of the regular season, Saturday, April 28.
"With the newer and better technology that we have today, call makers can use technology to duplicate the sounds that a hen turkey makes," Morrett said. "It is the caller, however, who must add the rhythm, the pitch and the sound to the call to make it produce the sounds of a live hen turkey.
"There is no better way to learn how to sound like a real hen turkey than to listen to a hen turkey when she's vocalizing and make those sounds that live turkey hens make. Also, watch DVDs such as "Real Strut Talk" by Hunter's Specialties that contains only wild hen turkey calling, and seeing how the hens call, the cadence they call with and how they more-or-less mumble or sing under their breath when they're feeding aids in duplicating those sounds.
"It is also important to be persistent and don't be one of those turkey hunters who only hunt gobblers from daylight until about 9 a.m. There is no better way to become a better turkey hunter than by hunting all hours that hunting is legal. Stay in the woods and try and take turkeys as long as they can be legally hunted, and my favorite time to call turkeys and the times I have the most success – is from 9 a.m. to noon."
Last year, for the first time, spring gobbler could be hunted from one half-hour before sunset until one half-hour after sunset the second half of the season in Pennsylvania. This year, hunting is legal from one half-hour before sunset from opening day to Saturday, May 12. From Monday, May 14, through the close of the season, Thursday, May 31, hunting is all day for gobblers.
Another factor in having consistent success is to scout the area one is going to hunt and have a plan how to approach a roosting, strutting or feeding area. Morrett believes the most important aspect of scouting is knowing where birds are roosting.
"I also believe that using decoys to hunt turkeys can be a tremendous asset, but the two keys to help use decoys most effectively is to put the decoy in a place that a gobbler can see a decoy, but not until he's within 60-80 yards from the decoy," Morrett said. "For instance, if hunting heavy timber, don't set up a decoy in a group of trees where the gobbler can't see it, but set the decoy up on a logging road where the turkey can spot the decoy from a distance.
"What should not be done is place the decoy in an area where the gobbler can see it from 500 yards away across a field. Also, once the gobbler spots the decoy, quit calling because the more calling that's done after he sees the decoy, the more the gobbler's going to want the hen to come to him.
"If a gobbler starts to strut, drum and display to get that hen's attention, stop calling. Instead, make that gobbler want to come into range, which they often do if they think the hen doesn't see them."