First Tom Down: My Successful Turkey Hunt with Ridge Rocker Pot and Diaphragm Calls

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Turkey

  • shotgun
    method
  • 9
    beard length (in)
  • eastern
    subspecies
  • 2
    total spur length (in)
  • private
    land type
  • 1
    right spur length (in)
  • 1
    left spur length (in)
98 Comments
196 Upvotes
  • Joe's avatar

    Good job man! Way to get it done! I enjoyed the read and it provide some good insight to calling techniques. Thanks for sharing!

  • Derek's avatar

    @Joe it's a technique I have used several times and it works as long as the Tom follows the hen (usually does) and the hen doesn't bust you. Just mimic everything she does and even call over top her as soon as she starts. It will get her fired up. I only recommend doing it though if you know a tom is with her. If one isn't you just get a pissed off hen who will bust you and run and tell the whole woods.

  • Dane's avatar

    Congratulations man! That’s an exciting hunt

  • Derek's avatar

    @Dane I was shaking like a leaf when he was out in the field drumming away and the hen was almost in my lap.

  • Tom's avatar

    Congrats on a nice gobbler. Thanks for sharing your full story. It’s not all about the kill.🦃💥👍🏻

  • Mike's avatar

    Congrats man! Nothing like getting a little sassy👊

  • Derek's avatar

    @Tom definitely not all about the kill

  • Derek's avatar

    @Tom and thank you!

  • Derek's avatar

    @Mike thanks! I was the queen of sass on this one, haha.

  • Joe's avatar

    @Derek @Mike

  • Appalachian's avatar

    @Mike sass talk is where it's at

  • Derek's avatar

    @Joe ha! I can't unsee this.

  • Joe's avatar

    @Derek haha 😂 my daughter is making fun of me for posting it.

  • Mike's avatar

    @Appalachian yessir, no doubt. Mocking pisses little kids off, but not as much as a boss hen, haha

  • Mike's avatar

    @Joe 🤣

  • Appalachian's avatar

    That's a special bird right there! Way to go!

  • Appalachian's avatar

    @Mike unfortunately this year I've only encountered sissy hens who lead him away so far this year, need to find me one that's ready to throw hands for her man 🤣

  • Derek's avatar

    @Appalachian thanks, man!

  • Mike's avatar

    @Appalachian I always say “I know you are, but what am I?” in turkey🤣🤣. But yeah, it takes the right kind of hen. I swear I got the same one to pull her man in the last 2 years. She has that distinctive smoker’s yelp🤣.

  • Derek's avatar

    @Mike at this point she's got to know what she's doing!

  • Mike's avatar

    @Derek her soul mate is a black widow 🕷

  • Appalachian's avatar

    @Mike yeah I believe they all got their voices, especially the gobblers. I always go for the deepest, longest yodel. It's paid off thus far

  • Mike's avatar

    @Appalachian absolutely. If I hear a voice crack and a diesel tractor, there’s no question on which direction to head.

  • Joe's avatar

    I can definitely hear the pitch difference in the different hens. The other day I rotated between 3 different diaphragm calls that give a variance in pitch and rasp and each one got different hens from the same group to fire back.

  • Appalachian's avatar

    @Mike unfortunately I only heard like 3 gobbles in the past 3 days, starting to forget what they sound like at all 🤣

  • T.J.'s avatar

    @Derek, nice work Brother.

  • Tom's avatar

    Nice job Derek. About time you got one for yourself, persistence pays off. Sounds like a great hunt and getting that first one for the season takes the pressure off for the rest of the tags. Great story and a great hunt.

  • Brayden's avatar

    Atta boy Derek!!

  • Bradford's avatar

    Congrats!🦃

  • Derek's avatar

    @T.J. thank you, man!

  • Derek's avatar

    @Tom thank you so much.

  • Derek's avatar

    @Brayden thanks!

  • Derek's avatar

    @Bradford thank you!

  • Bruce's avatar

    Great bird and a good story. Congrats

  • Ferg's avatar

    Solid work dude. Never hurts to wrack up some learning and experience helping others get it done eh. Great news you had your good turn dude

  • Al's avatar

    Congratulations! Great looking bird. 👍🏻👊🏻

  • Derek's avatar

    @Bruce thank you!

  • Derek's avatar

    @Ferg thanks man. It was quite the experience.

  • Derek's avatar

    @Al thank you!

  • Dwayne's avatar

    Way to persevere @Derek. Kinda helps when you get to go on your own and not babysit others. No one there to take the prize out from under you. I use to see birds in that part of the farm all the time. But like you, for some reason I never hunted that section seriously. Back in the day it was because that piece bordered a certain someone(s) who I tried to avoid at all cost. Long gone now and much more pieceful in those parts. Congrats on joining the longbeard club.

  • Donovan's avatar

    Hell yeah brother 👊

  • Mike's avatar

    @Appalachian weather related hopefully. That’s gonna change!

  • Ricky's avatar

    Sounds like and awesome fun hunt. Congrats on a great bird and thanks for sharing all your strategies. 👊🏻🦃

  • Chuck's avatar

    Oh man the story was well worth the wait!!! Great job

  • Appalachian's avatar

    @Mike two of the days were ideal, ironically I heard gobbles on the rainy day. Other folks in the county and around the state said they were gobbling round them. I don't know, in my 12 years of chasing them I can't really figure any consistent correlation to good gobbling days vs bad. I mean just the other day they were gobbling great in subfreezing Temps with snow blowing in sideways and dead silent on a calm 50 degree morning. I try to keep tabs on the barometric pressure as well. After a lot pondering and discussions I've decided to just "shut up and hunt" 🤣 besides the only real consistency to a successful harvest that I've noticed is that I was in the woods with a shotgun

  • Derek's avatar

    @Dwayne thank you. I don't always mind the babysitting part, and honestly calling those birds in and bringing joy to someone else's hunt was prize enough for me, but it was nice to finally get one for myself.

  • Derek's avatar

    @Donovan thanks, man!

  • Derek's avatar

    @Ricky thank you! I'm not sure how many strategies I have, haha. I just get lucky from time to time.

  • Derek's avatar

    @Chuck ha! Glad it was worth the wait. Thank you, brother.

  • Mike's avatar

    @Appalachian all I can tell ya is wind speeds are the only correlation I’ve made over 30 yrs. Less than 10 seems to be the most vocal. Maybe that’s because I can’t hear past that. But you’re right, I was in the woods with a shotgun or bow EVERY time I killed one 🤣

  • Derek's avatar

    @Appalachian well said! Haha. We got skunked today. Didn't even hear a gobble. Over cast, cool, a little windy.

  • Mike's avatar

    @Derek see! 👆

  • Joe's avatar

    @Derek I had one with hens this morning at day break just as the rain cleared that was gobbling. I couldn’t close the distance fast enough and they moved on. I may have gotten too aggressive hammering at the hen and pushed them off, sass didn’t work for me this morning.

  • Derek's avatar

    @Joe did you go after them or did you try to call them to you?

  • Joe's avatar

    @Derek I tried calling them in first. The Tom kept gobbling but would leave his hen. I’m pretty sure my inexperienced fighting purr calls and aggressiveness pushed the hen off, she didn’t want anything to do with an angry old hen that sounded like a dude in camo 🤓. I tried to cut them off before they went into the next hunting area and couldn’t out flank them fast enough.

  • Ferg's avatar

    @Derek yer welcome fella. Enjoy the meals to come

  • Derek's avatar

    @Joe sounds like you did the right thing, man. Sometimes they just win, haha. When I'm trying the whole "piss off the hen" method, I just try to do exactly what she does as far as vocals are concerned and ill start calling on top of her before she's even done. Sometimes though the hen just doesn't want to fight and they will just move on. You also can blow them out with that technique too unfortunately. It's like everything, works sometimes, but not all the times. Just a tool for the toolbox as they say.

  • Joe's avatar

    @Derek haha, I like doing things the hard way. I learn more lessons that way. The hen was being really soft in her calls. I though couldn’t move on them without letting them see me and completely spooking them. I was on a side bench of a ridge where I watch the hens from the other day pitch to when I was with my son. I hoped they’d come down the same way and work right to me. Instead they went straight to the bottom and we’re about 200 yards from me over an edge and had no desire to come back up to my bench. In hind sight I could have probably closed 100 yards and they never would have had visibility.

  • Appalachian's avatar

    @Mike I always say there's one somewhere with his mind lost, i just need to get within earshot of him

  • Mike's avatar

    @Appalachian haha, fact!

  • Joe's avatar

    @Appalachian that’s the one I’m looking for! Old crazy bird with 3 beards and 2” hooks 🥃. The miles I’ve put in so far haven’t been enough.

  • Appalachian's avatar

    @Joe Shoot Man. I got lucky and killed one the very first time I ever decided to chase them when I was 16. I was ruined, but it took me 3 mores years to really figure it out. Just keep going relentlessly and it will happen. Most of the birds I've taken have been from 9:00 to 3:00 and it happens fast. If you find one gobbling on his own mid day find a spot to sit where he can't see you until he's already in shotgun range before you make the first call. Good luck out there!

  • Joe's avatar

    @Appalachian thanks for the tip! Unfortunately where I’m hunting I only have until 1:00pm to shoot. However that does give some encouragement to keep after them until the last moment. Most of the toms I’ve seen strutting are in mid to late afternoon and I wish I could get on them during that time block.

  • Little's avatar

    Congratulations!!!!

  • Derek's avatar

    @Little thank you!

  • Brad's avatar

    That’s a great story. This is exactly what me and @Danny were trying to do with the hen who came in to us. Yours played out better!

  • Derek's avatar

    @Brad thank you! It doesn't always work, but it's deadly when it does.

  • Jarrod's avatar

    Great bird brother!! Congratulations 👍

  • Derek's avatar

    @Jarrod thank you! You counting down the days to Indiana's opener?

  • David's avatar

    Congratulations on a great hunt! Reading your story has my heart beating a little fast!🦃👍👊

  • Derek's avatar

    @David thank you! You should have been there, haha! Mine was out of my chest for a bit.

  • David's avatar

    @Derek in a way I was by reading your story. I bet it was, I know mine would've been. Especially since I've never turkey hunted. Congratulations again on finally connecting for yourself.

  • Derek's avatar

    @David thank you, sir.

  • Pat's avatar

    Congrats and awesome hunt!

  • Derek's avatar

    @Pat thank you! How's your season going?

  • Bradley's avatar

    Man congratulations on the Tom!!! And thanks for sharing the story...I think I’ll keep this in my mind and maybe I can have an opportunity to use your technique here!! Thanks again brother and congratulations.... you certainly earned this one!!! 🤘

  • Derek's avatar

    @Bradley thank you and good luck! Great beer choice by the way! Busch, the thinking man's beer.

  • Joe's avatar

    @Bradley @Derek in all honestly I’ve never had a Busch.

  • Derek's avatar

    @Joe it's God's gift to man, the fountain of youth. Haha, but in all seriousness, it's my favorite domestic beer. I'm a beer guy, love craft beer and micro brews, huge fan of anything in the stout family, but Busch is my go to.

  • Bradley's avatar

    @Derek I love a good bush too!!! 😳🤣🤘🤘

  • Joe's avatar

    @Derek haha that’s crazy… the quintessential red neck beer is your go to… and I can’t judge it because I’ve never had it. I really enjoy craft beers and have always given the Busch-latte drinkers crap. I’ll have to at least try it before I give another word if flack to someone.

  • Tom's avatar

    Nice work!

  • Derek's avatar

    @Tom thank you!

  • Pat's avatar

    @Derek actually… great! tagged out for the first time since I’ve started Turkey hunting.

  • Derek's avatar

    @Pat nice, man! Congratulations! Outside of this tom, it's been very slow and quiet here.

  • Pat's avatar

    @Derek same with NKY. Easter morning was the only time I had two fired up but they got hung up. I tried to move to them with a reaper I bought this year but I spooked them. I need to work on my gracefulness with that lol

  • Derek's avatar

    @Pat yesterday morning was the only morning I've had birds fired up but it didn't last long. This morning they are quiet as a church mouse again.

  • Jarrod's avatar

    @Derek yes sir. Would’ve bought a KY tag but I can’t stop fishing right now 😂

  • Derek's avatar

    @Jarrod ha! Very good point. I actually have an Indiana tag that ill be trying to fill this season also.

  • Brandon's avatar

    Congrats bud

  • Derek's avatar

    @Brandon thank you!

  • Zack's avatar

    Congrats buddy 👍

  • Derek's avatar

    @Zack thank you!

  • Joe's avatar

    @Derek I tried my first Busch-latte today. Not bad for $7.80 / 12pack. It was definitely more crisp than I expected. Holding that can reminded me of all my uncles at family reunions when I was a kid for some reason…. Most of them had sleeveless shirts and mullets 😉. Beer is like hunting, people have their own style and that’s cool.

  • Derek's avatar

    @Joe such a majestic photo! Love it! I'm just out here trying to raise awareness for the best beer ever, that's all. Glad you tried it out tonight! I'm definitely the uncle at the family reunion, so it fits.

  • Joe's avatar

    @Derek haha I’m pretty sure your a bit younger than I am but welcome to the family uncle Derek! Standing around the fire waiting to see who quits drinking first and who will be the last to wake up.

  • Jacob's avatar

    Loved the detail. Great Turkey!

  • Derek's avatar

    @Jacob thank you!

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Derek's avatar

Derek T

Kentucky

Part time at GoWild, full time Firefighter/EMT. I'm a hunter, angler, outdoorsman, conservationist and novice trapper. Love spending time worshipping God in the outdoors. BHA Member Ducks Unlimited Member Kentucky Wild Member NWTF Member Trout Unlimited Member Whitetails Unlimited Member

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