Fooling Old Tom

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Every year my Pro-Staff and I head to the woods to hunt the old wise Tom. We travel thousands of miles covering numerous states hunting these old guys. Lots of times we end up hunting public lands or private property that have been hunted already. That’s the last thing you want to hear when you just traveled 6 hours that someone else has already hunted the property. We had to come up with a game plan and one real fast.

The first thing we did was ask the farmer were they usually see the birds in mid day. We ask mid day cause we know the birds are just walking around and not out feeding and the birds will be less alert. The birds will also be more relaxed cause during mid day they are normally in there living room. We know how comfortable we can get in our living room.

The next thing we do is find a good set up point from the feeding to the living room. This will usually be a fence row, strip of trees or maybe a creek. We then place a blind close to were the birds are traveling with the hunters ready to go. The next step to out smarting the old birds is place another blind about 30 yards behind the hunters. We call this the calling blind. Once the calling blind is ready we start calling. As we start to call the birds they are focused on the calling blind and not the Hunter's blind. The birds will generally walk right by the hunters blind and never pay any attention to them and keep their focus on the calling blind since that is were the calling is coming from.

We used this set up over 6 times last year in 4 different states and ended up harvesting over 10 birds. We also managed to put 8 of those hunts on film. So if you are filming this works real well for that also. Remember that if you are taking out younger hunters that tend to move around more than we do, this works very well.


arrowflipper's picture

Sound Advice

Thanks for a great tip.  I think that's some very sound advice.  What I actually liked most about your tip is "when" you were doing your hunting.  So many times we think we need to be in the woods long before daylight so we can catch the birds coming down off the roost.  I've had that happen several times but the only reason I may have connected was because I basically ambushed them.  I didn't call one in.

I don't know what you mean by the "living room", but I have found that at mid day, most of the hens have gone to nest and there are some toms out there still looking.  I've tried more times than you can imagine to lure a tom away from the real thing early in the morning and I don't know if it's my lousy calling or just that Tommy won't leave the hens, but I can actually watch them at a distance, strutting for the real thing. 

Last spring, I had already taken my bird so I went out to help my hunting partner get his.  We had hunted the early morning hours without any success so were waiting for the evening hunt.  We had nothing better to do so we went out early in the afternoon to do some calling.  He took his wife to get some pictures and I was carrying a camcorder.  His wife and I settled under a couple of trees about 20 feet behind him and I started calling with my box call.  I'd call a little and we'd sit and wait.  His wife was reading a book because we didn't expect much to happen.  Wrong!  Without warning or noise, here comes a tom, headed straight for our decoys. 

I didn't have any time to lift the camcorder and she didn't have time to even set her book down; the tom was on us and Dave dropped him as he spotted us and started to leave.  What I learned was that time of day does matter and sometimes it isn't the time that we had thought.  We did our setup almost exactly like you did with the two blinds, except we didn't have the blinds.

Thanks for the great tips.... I will do more afternoon hunting and will definitely use the two blind system.

groovy mike's picture


Sounds like good teamwork to me

ecoroamers's picture

Fooling Old Tom

Sounds like you have put your homework into this idea, very nice tactic, never thought of that.  I love to turkey hunt, and my wife won't kill them, but she like to go with me and she loves to eat them.  Pickin's have been slim the last two years so I guess she's going to have to learn to set in the calling blind and talk turkey if she wants to keep having Tom Gobbler over for dinner. Thanks.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

That seems like some good

That seems like some good advice.  I am still a relatively new turkey hunter, and that point of the hunt, after they come off the roost and then are done feeding, is where I am at a loss as to what to do.  Guess I will have to try and locate the "living room".

ManOfTheFall's picture

Definitely sounds like that

Definitely sounds like that would be a good setup. Thanks for the tips.