Johnathan Alford said that when dealing with a hung-up gobbler, expect the unexpected.
“I’ve killed a number of gobblers that were not the hung-up bird I was hunting,” Alford said. “The soft calling and realistic scratching will often get a response from a totally different gobbler that will slip in from behind or from the side of my position.
“These gobblers hear the other one gobbling and know he’s at least temporarily not approaching and will use that opportunity to slip up on what they believe is a hen. This creates an interesting situation when they approach, especially from behind, because they may not make any calls or just a cluck when they get close. Lack of movement is crucial, of course, so I temper my calling. This is good time to use a mouth call.
“I cut my eyes from side to side frequently to scan for a gobbler approaching, but I also tune in to the woods around me as much as possible. I listen for any ‘walking in the leaves’ noise or a cluck or any turkey sound. If I think a bird is approaching from the back, I sit still and quiet and hope the bird walks by me. If he doesn’t see me scratching the leaves before I sense he is there, there’s a good chance he’ll walk past me. Sometimes it’s hens, so make sure of your target, but I’ve killed several big gobblers while working a hung-up bird. And since we can take two a day, there are times I can still successfully hunt the original gobbler.
Alford said if he’s calling for a friend, he’ll set up so he can see to the back and one side, and the shooter covers the other side direction.
“This sneaky gobbler on your 6 (o’clock) will occur much more often than a lot of hunters think,” he said.