Turkey season is here! For some, this is the big dance. Personally, I've been practicing my calling in my SUV to get hyped. Despite all of that practice, I think I had more progress in an hour of talking with Scott Ellis than months of busting my ear drums on my drives.
If you know Scott, you know he's bad news for turkeys. The man is a three time Grand National Calling Champion. He's been published, hosted television shows and completed four Grand Slams, two of which were single season and two Royal Slams. All this to say, when Scott is a great resource to learn from.
Scott's new app, Turkey Tech, puts his years of wisdom right in your pocket. I've been using this app for about a month now and I have to say, it's the best turkey calling app I've used. The content—from the real turkey calls to Scott's box and mouth calls—is fantastic.
The Turkey Tech team is this week's giveaway partner. We have two calls from Woodhaven—Scott's own mouth call and the Woodhaven Cherry Classic Crystal Friction Call—and a Turkey Tech t-shirt! To enter to win, be sure to download the GoWild app and find the Giveaways Trail!
I hope you enjoy my chat with Scott! If you think his advice here is good, be sure to download his app!
Brad from GoWild: What is something you see most new turkey hunters doing wrong?
Scott: The first thing is they don’t learn enough about the wild turkey—that’s the biology of a turkey and what makes a turkey tick. You need to learn about their breeding, roosting and feeding habits. The second thing is to learn the vocabulary of a wild turkey. What the calls are, and what they mean. What does a yelp mean? What does clucking and purring mean? Knowing these few key points will help you understand how to hunt and call the gobbler with much more success.
GoWild: What’s a good tip for beginners and veterans alike?
Scott: I have three tips that work for both. The first is know your equipment. Know your gun and its range. Very often, turkey hunters go out and have never patterned a load. They buy the hottest load, they put a turkey choke in it and they never understand the effective killing range. You have to know this before you go into the woods.
The second tip is memorizing what’s in your turkey vest and where it’s positioned. I’m talking about it all—from your mouth calls to your owl hooter, from shotgun shells to your toilet paper. I just switched vests, and I’m having to relearn my vest. You don’t want to get into the woods, strike a bird, get into the heat of battle and then be moving around trying to find your pruners, box call chalk, mouth calls etc.
My final tip is to know where you’re going to sit down before you ever make a call. Very often the hunter will run his call, before ever knowing where he/she would set up if a bird actually gobbles close. At this point they often plop down on the first tree in sight, never giving a thought of how that set up could make or break the hunt.
GoWild: Those are great tips. I know I personally need to do a better at all of that. I get impatient and just start calling as I run and gun for sure. Now, tell me about your setup. Are you working with a blind or are you on the move?
Scott: I don’t use “pop up” blinds. I often will just sit at the base of a tree. However, I do sometimes use natural cover to conceal my position. Sticks and limbs, palmetto fronds, etc. My philosophy is to set up in a position where that gobbler cannot see the hen is hearing. Therefore, he must close the distance to get eyes on the sexy hen he’s hearing. When this occurs he’s in gun range. Game over. Use bends in the roads, big woods, contours on the edges of fields or if your field hunting, set up 20 yards inside the woods line to play “hide the hen.”
GoWild: Scott, I need you to settle this for me. I’ve heard so many people say turkeys are smart. I’m not so sure. Do you think these are intelligent animals, or are they just very perceptive?
Scott: Turkeys have an innate ability to survive. Period. They’re not near as smart as we give them credit for but their will to survive is unmatched. From the egg to adulthood, they’re a sought after meal for predators. Raccoons, bobcats, coyotes, panthers, bears the list goes on and on. Every predator in North America is trying to make a meal of a turkey. Couple their fear and instincts, with their bionic like eyesight/hearing and they will appear to truly be geniuses.
I do have to state that these wily birds are quick to learn. When turkeys are frequently hunted and are spooked, they rapidly figure out that every sound in the woods isn't a turkey. This is when a turkey becomes call shy and even more so gives the impression of high intelligence. To add, some of what is perceived as a turkey being intelligent is simply a turkey being a turkey. They either walk the other direction gobbling or hang up out of gun range with the hunter marveling at the old rascal out playing them.
GoWild: I could pick your brain on turkey hunting tips for hours, but let’s talk about your app, Turkey Tech. I’ve personally been using it quite a bit, practicing for the season. But I want to hear from you. How do you best recommend people using this app? To practice before hitting the field?
Scott: Yelps, fighting purrs, contented purrs, cackles, cuts, clucks,—all of this and more is defined in the app. There is audio of me producing the sounds on a pot call and a mouth call. There is audio of the wild turkeys giving the call and video instruction with me on pot and mouth calls.
One of the keys to the app and its success are the text tips. They define the call, what it is, when turkeys give that call, and when hunters should use the call. A hunter can read these pro tips, and learn that a yelp is the basic of communication. He or she can learn that when the turkey’s hung up, they should probably try a cut. The app walks you through this process of getting to know the bird. From a calling perspective, it goes back to what I just said: Learn the language of the turkey, and learn it on multiple calls.
Anyone can up their calling and hunting ability with this app. The newbie can learn from knowing nothing. The veteran can improve his calling ability, and maybe understand the call on a more detailed level.
GoWild: This is one of the most useful turkey calling apps I’ve found. I love all of the variations in the samples, we can hear you calling on pot and a mouth calls, and we can hear real birds. It’s very unique. Why did you all approach the app from this way?
Scott: There’s not another turkey app like it on the market, nothing this detailed. This gives the user a chance to hear me give the call and wild turkeys give the call. It will then show how close we as humans can duplicate their language. You can even record yourself then compare it to the real birds or my calls. Always key on cadence and rhythm. That’s way more important than the tone of the call. Listen to the turkey’s do it, then hear a grand national champion do it, gives you a good base line. If you can get within the realm of those sounds, you will be successful. It doesn’t get more comprehensive than that.
GoWild: What’s your favorite feature?
Scott: I love the fact that you can listen to real wild turkeys and compare your calling to the real thing. The wild turkey call you’re hearing from the bird goes hand in hand with the live instruction I do. These are my audio clips from my hunts over the years, so we are able to stand behind the accuracy and authenticity of the calls. It’s hard to choose one particular part of it, because they all go hand in hand. But if I had to choose one, that’d be it.
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