Tom Hang up Techniques

Discussion in 'Turkey Hunting' started by Velvet ears, Feb 25, 2019.

  1. shaman

    shaman 8 pointer

    Jul 20, 2004
    Neave, KY, USA.
    I remember this like it was yesterday:

    "Who coined this silly term. . .?"

    It was 10 years ago. The kid I referenced in this is now on the cusp of 21 and is a big burly sheet metal worker.

    I've had 10 years to think about gobblers that hang up. I've solved the problem sometimes by:

    1) Heading away from the gobbler
    2) Closing on the gobbler -- Podcast from the 2012 Opener.
    3) Staying put and shutting up
    4) Staying put and calling

    . . . but most of the time, whatever I do, I end up going in for lunch without a bird. What I have learned is that about half the time, the gobbler has a hen in sight, and that she's the one leading him away. In that case heading away does no good. Neither does any sort of serious calling. The rest of the time, the gobbler is alone or with a few acolytes. In that case most everything else I've mentioned is no good.

    I do have one hard and fast tactic that seems to work. Most times, you can assume a lone gobbler that hangs up is doing so, because he is expecting you to come to him. He hears you and stops what he's doing and goes into a strut. If you go silent, the gobbler may come. I have spent a lot of time listening to turkeys in the off-season in preparation for my podcasts, and there are a lot of times when turkeys' calling becomes muffled or silenced by wind or obstruction. Turkeys . . .

    Ooops. It's late. I gotta run to work. More later.
  2. rlb165

    rlb165 10 pointer

    Dec 10, 2001
    Hey, don’t keep us in suspenders! What’s the one hard and fast tactic??!!
  3. bondhu

    bondhu 12 pointer

    Jul 3, 2015
    Battle Run
    My son and I had been hunting hard to fill our last 2 tags. An it was the last day of season and it was last hour of hunting. We found ourselves watching 4 strutters and 6 hens on top of a wide open ridge 800-1000 yards out,no reason for them to work. So we walk back to truck, and begin driving out the ridge to leave. At 600 yards turkeys start heading out over ridge peak toward woods. I could tell they believed out of sight, out of mind.
    I drive to where they where tell my son lets go, shuck shell in shotgun ,run over peak, covey of turkeys rise up, boom, long whiskers down. Ask my son why didn't you shoot he said I was amazed they were still there. I love to hunt'em as much as I like to fry'em.
    mudhole crossing likes this.
  4. DH13

    DH13 12 pointer

    Jan 13, 2012
    Shelby county
    Most of the time when a Tom hangs up it is because he is with Hens. He is going to love the one he is with first. What I do is leave him alone. Then come back after lunch in the same area. When his girlfriends go to nest. He will be back in the area looking for the hen [yourself] that was there looking for him earlier.
    bmason likes this.
  5. shaman

    shaman 8 pointer

    Jul 20, 2004
    Neave, KY, USA.
    Sorry, I had to run off to work.

    When turkeys call to each other in the spring, I'm often in the middle of it, hiding in the bushes, trying to get audio for my podcasts. What I hear is not a continuous conversation. What I hear is something over here, something over there-- it's hard to tell who is talking to whom. I'm not really sure the turkeys know either. What's causing the discontinuities is wind and the lay of the land. A gust of wind will shorten a the distance that a hen or gobbler can be heard by a considerable amount or carry it downwind.

    The geography changes things to. A mess hens may step down into one of the folds out in the pasture, and though they were coming through clear as a bell at 100 yards, you now can't hear them at all at 50.

    I figure the turkeys sense this. So a lusty hen going quiet on a gob is not unnatural. He probably knows where you are at 300 yards. I've had gobs answer in a high wind at that distance-- just one gobble just after lunch, and then show up as if they were on a wire at 5 PM. Their ability to locate you at a distance is phenomenal.

    So my hard and fast tactic is to play to that; I shut up and let the gob's imagination work on him. If he's out for romance, he already has an idea of where you are. When I get a gobbler coming in, I go quiet and get ready. The most I'm going to do is rustle some leaves or maybe cluck a couple of times.

    When I have a seriously hung-up gobbler, and I'm desparate to break the empasse, I'll answer, but not in a way that is conversational with that gob. There's a natural rhythm to conversation, human or turkey. You know when someone is trying to answer you; turkeys do too. When, and if I call, I'm off-rhythm. I'm acting like I haven't heard that gobbler, and I'm off doing my own thing. I'll throw the call in the opposite direction if I can, and make it sound distant.
    bmason likes this.
  6. turkeyfan

    turkeyfan 12 pointer

    Dec 1, 2004
    Richmond, KY
    I second this, curiosity like the old saying " kills the cat"
  7. WildmanWilson

    WildmanWilson 12 pointer

    Dec 26, 2004
    Western Ky.
    Good advise from everyone.

    Turkeys will hang up for different reasons. I've watched them hand up because a limb was in their way or a small ditch that was 3 inches deep and a foot wide or an old fence with holes in it. Things they can easily cross will sometimes hang them up. At times they will end up working around it and come on in but others they will leave. If they go out of sight set up a different place and they may come right in.

    If they are henned up its best to call to the hens and get them mad and he will follow.

    I've seen them hang up out of range with decoys. They will stay out in the middle once they see them and want the hen to come to them. Its best to get in the woods on a bird like that and make him guess where you are. Fanning can be very effective too.

    I worked an old bird once for a week and he would not come in. A thunderstorm rolled in and he would gobble to the thunder but he was going away from me across several fields. I followed for several hundred yards and he went over a hill in another field and gobbled like crazy but would not come in. I finally turned around and called behind me and he popped up and I was able to end his gobbling days.

    Sometimes I'll try to cut and cackle and get him really fired up and they will come in. I usually try that after the silent treatment.

    Nothing works all the time
    PUBLIC RAT likes this.
  8. bmason

    bmason 6 pointer

    Mar 31, 2006
    Hang-up Visible in a field:
    I carry a tail fan for this scenario. I prefer to call'em in, but this is fun too!

    Hang up visible in the woods:
    Go silent and rake leaves
    Try a gobble call to see how they respond to competition
    Used a fan last year to provoke a fight

    Hang up NOT visible or gobbling :
    (What I should do)
    Go Silent and be patient
    Get up and go the opposite direction to not scare the bird; if its coming in silent.
    (what I really do)
    Get up and move closer to the area I last heard the gobble and scare the bird to the next county
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
    Munson likes this.
  9. Marsh CallUser

    Marsh CallUser 12 pointer

    May 20, 2011
    Bowling Green, KY
    Heard tell ear holing em with a 22 works good on hang up birds.
    Feedman likes this.
  10. mudhole crossing

    mudhole crossing 12 pointer

    Aug 20, 2007
    East ky
    I've had toms within 15 yards of me just under a rise. I could hear them drumming, walking in the leaves, gobbling. Sometimes it JUST doesn't happen. But when it does, nothing better than I've experienced.
  11. riverboss

    riverboss 12 pointer

    Jan 26, 2009
    northern ky
    Drop your pants and do a #2 game always shows up when your pants are down!
    xbokilla likes this.
  12. xbokilla

    xbokilla 12 pointer

    Jun 28, 2012
    Especially does. They’ll stand in silence while you do your business then the second you’re finished and get your pants about halfway up they’ll blow and scare off everything in the woods.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
    riverboss likes this.
  13. xbokilla

    xbokilla 12 pointer

    Jun 28, 2012
    I’ve haven’t had too much luck at making them come in when they’re hung up. Maybe 1 or 2. I needed the advice on here. Couple years ago had a big one hung up about 80 yds away on neighboring property, finally he eyeballs my Jake decoy and came sprinting like he was on a string. He crossed the fence into my property and I got impatient and missed before I gave him a chance to get to the decoys. We learn from these things though because the very next year I watched one come on a quick walk around an old logging road and I had a couple shots but just sat nice and still until he blew up about 5 yds behinds my decoys and I rocked his world. Hunting the woods, I’m definitely going to try the leaves scratching. I’m a decent caller but feel like this make a real difference in a hang up where I hunt.

    PUBLIC RAT 6 pointer

    Feb 18, 2014
    Having hunted so much public land certain tactics work well every year. Using those push pin calls in each hand with a mouth call and rustling leaves is such a killer move. I've actually had to dodge deer running by me because 2 Tom's were running to my spot. If gobbling and got on track shoes try to get in front of them but don't hen call, use a crow or hawk call to pin point him. If you use a hen call she will take him somewhere else. Wait till he's real close and soft call or take a chance and bushwhack him if you have to. You earned it.
    riverboss and Munson like this.
  15. riverboss

    riverboss 12 pointer

    Jan 26, 2009
    northern ky
    I enjoy bushwhacking just as much as calling them in! If a bird hangs up on me I will hunt him everyday until I kill him.

    I like watching from a distance and getting his routine down, then slipping in and waiting, when he's in range I will make one light henn yelp, and when he pokes his head up as to say, what the hell! I drop the hammer.
    Been using a 20 ga the last few yrs, I think I'm going to get a 410 soon
    PUBLIC RAT likes this.

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