Using A Crow Call In The Spring Turkey Woods by Matt Wettish
Each day as I head out into the woods I carry many locator calls in my vest, but none of them make me feel like I am at a disadvantage if I don’t have them, except for the crow call. The crow call is a great locator, but a master for allowing an undetected change of position.
When I choose a crow call I look for a few key attributes:
Locating A Hung-up turkey with a crow call draws less attention to you, and may allow you to move in to a better position undetected.
Photo by: Author
First, it needs to sound like a real crow. Like any call in my vest, I want it to reproduce as natural a sound as possible.
Second, it needs to be loud. While contending with all the other daytime noise such as wind, traffic, other birds, etc, being loud is extremely important so the sound will carry and strike gobbles at a greater distance.
Third, I prefer a high pitch call. One, because higher pitches seem to cut noise, travel further, and have more impact once there … and two, higher pitch sounds of both turkey calls and locators tend to strike gobbles more consistently, maybe because of the aforementioned reason.
Lastly, I want it to be easy to use. I don’t want to have to concentrate on a call to use it when I’m in the turkey woods, especially if I am using it to maneuver on an already located bird.
Now, on to using the call in the woods. Obviously, I don’t like using the crow call during the early pre-dawn hours until I can actually hear the crows themselves making noise. Again, it goes back to sounding natural within your surroundings. Once the crows start, it’s game on.
Start your crow calling just like you would start calling turkeys. If the birds could be close by, you don’t want to blow them out, so start at a soft to medium volume. But, if you know that the birds are way out there, let ’em have it. The sharp shrill sound of the crow’s caw-caw-caw is a great way to get birds to gobble at a distance without giving up your position.
Using the crow call to get a bird to gobble gives a hunter the advantage of knowing the bird’s location, without drawing the bird’s attention. A turkey will gobble to a crow in response to it, not because he is answering it like he does a turkey call.
What this means is that when a turkey answers a turkey call, he looks for it. It’s another bird that he is communicating with. Whether he comes to the call or not, that’s another thing. But, he is actually talking back to the call, which means he may or may not be paying attention to where that sound came from.
With a crow call, the bird is gobbling in response to the sound. Just as if it were thunder, a woodpecker, an owl, or even a gunshot in the distance. He’s not answering or paying attention to any of those things, he’s doing what is called a “shock gobble”, which means just that, the sound shocked him into gobbling. Therefore, he’s usually not paying attention to it, or where it came from.
A turkey hunter that realizes this can capitalize on a bird’s reaction to the crow call. Getting a bird to gobble without using a turkey call can mean that a hunter may be able to slowly and carefully slip in closer and closer on an unsuspecting gobbler to set up. Once close enough, sit down and start calling softly. To a gobbler, you are a hen that has finally responded to his calling and has shown up on his doorstep. The chances of this bird closing that short distance at this point are, well, let’s just say… Have your gun up and ready.
The other perfect time for a crow call, and my personal favorite, is when a bird hangs up just out of distance and view. We’ve all had that bird come in from hundreds of yards out only to hang up just out of distance and gobble his head off. And of course, he won’t leave. He goes away a little, but when you use a turkey call to find out where he is, he comes back in to the same spot and pins you down. This is one of the most frustrating positions to be in, for sure.
To remedy this, I sit quietly and wait … five, ten, fifteen minutes … whatever it takes for the bird to drift away a little. Then, I give him the crow call. When he gobbles, I know where he is, and if he has drifted off slightly, I will quietly sneak up as close as I can to where he gets hung up. Once in position, get yourself ready and your gun up before you call. Let out a few soft hen calls, and he’ll think the hen has finally given up and come in to his area. Chances are he will come right back to that same spot. And at that point, it’s game over.
So, next time you go turkey hunting, make sure you grab your crow call and put it in your vest. Hopefully this will help you be a little more effective next time you head in to the spring turkey woods. Best of luck, hunt hard, and hunt safe.