Custom call-maker Joey Murphy of Linwood, N.C., said some gobblers haven’t read the ‘how-to’ books on turkey hunting. They frequently play by a different set of rules.

“I often improvise to get a gobbler,” Murphy said. “Turkeys are pressured hard on public lands and become call-shy and hunter-aware. To combat this, I go into stealth mode and put the sneak on a gobbler to get a close position to call him close.”

Murphy (Spursuader@hotmail.com) said if birds are pressured and he hears a bird gobble on his own, or if a longbeard gobbles but hangs up, he gets sneaky before making a call.

“I’ll decide where my best calling position will be and made a wide circle to stay out of sight and sound,” he said. “Usually crows will keep a bird gobbling, but if not, a crow or locator call is all I use to know his current location. I use available cover and topography, even a creek bed, to stay out of sight and muffle sounds. I’ve removed my boots in crunchy leaves to be sneaky quiet.”

Murphy said as he approaches his calling position, he’s willing to belly crawl.

“Once I get to my calling location, I’ll have a tree or stump wider than my back and cover in front to break my outline. I set up in the shade for concealment, and I’ll check the sun position to make sure it won’t be lighting me up later,” he said.

Murphy won’t even break a twig when setting up, nothing out of the ordinary, and his calling reflects sneaky too.

“I’ll start low and soft, and even if he gobbles back, I stay subtle,” he said. “If he thinks my imitation of a hen wants him more than he wants her, he may stand his ground. I have to keep him on the hook, and if the hunt bogs down, I’ll lay a dose of the silent treatment on him. If I’m patient he’s probably going to have to come in for a peek at that stubborn lady.”