How to Handle High Pressure Turkeys

How to Handle High Pressure Turkeys

The 2018 spring turkey season will go down as the toughest turkey season yet for a lot of hunters across the country. It’s been a weird year, with lingering winter weather, disappearing flocks, and minimal gobbling for much of the season. But when the tough days come, you can either hang it up or learn how to handle high-pressure turkeys. Here’s a look at how I did just that this season as I hit the woods with my Mossberg turkey gun in tow.

The season started with me in pursuit of a gobbler close to home that had become my nemesis. I had missed him on several occasions with my bow and he had wised up quickly. He had become called shy, blind shy, and decoy shy. In the early days, he would respond to the call but typically would shut down shy of the danger zone. He was the most aggravating bird I’ve ever hunted. More than once, he’d get my heart racing as if it was finally going to happen, only to yank the hopes and dreams out from under me once again. It was a love/hate relationship, no doubt.

Less Talk, More Action

This bird was a classic example that less can often mean more when it comes to calling. Aggressive calling was typically a deal-breaker on the Nemesis. Less talk often meant more action. So, as hard as it was, I began to leave the calls in my turkey vest more and more. I would say just enough to get his attention and then hush. It goes against everything we know and desire, but there are times when calling simply won’t work.

Sometimes it pays to keep your calls in your turkey vest when it comes to battling high-pressure turkeys.

Ditch the Decoys

The Nemesis became more and more guarded when it came to approaching my decoy setups, particularly after having a bad encounter in previous hunts. He didn’t want anything to do with a gobbler or jake decoy. The moment he saw a male bird in my setup, he would go the other way. I learned to tame it down, go with a single hen decoy if I used anything at all. Decoys are a hot product in the turkey world, but they can often be the very tool that causes birds to hang up out of range.

The Nemesis had grown wary of my jake decoy, so I soon learned to leave it in the truck.

Trail Cams for Turkeys

Trail cameras aren’t just for deer hunters anymore! When the Nemesis finally got to the point of being nearly untouchable, I began to rely on my trail cameras to tell me exactly when and where he was coming in and out of my food plot. He was entering in the same location every afternoon, about the same time, on his way back into the bottoms to roost. The Stealth Cam photos don’t lie. When you see the pattern develop in a bird’s behavior, it’s time to make your move.

The Nemesis makes his move across a food plot on his way back to roost for the evening.

With my most recent information on the latest pattern the Nemesis seemed to be following, I grabbed my Mossberg 930 turkey gun and slipped into the food plot. I was cautious and quiet in my approach, hoping and praying the Nemesis wasn’t already there. I smiled when I realized I had made it in without getting busted. I quickly set up and settled in for the afternoon sit.

I hadn’t been sitting there long when the action began to unfold. When I saw the Nemesis slipping through the timber, headed in my direction, I was glad I had decided to come in early. He was two hours earlier to the food plot than he was the day before. I guess that’s typical of a bird named, Nemesis.

As he nervously stepped into the food plot, I felt good that I had finally duped the Nemesis. But even still, he was nervous. He didn’t take but a few steps into the food plot before it seemed that his sixth sense kicked in and he turned to leave.

I slipped the Mossberg 930 to my shoulder at that moment and quickly pulled the trigger. The Nemesis had finally fallen. It had been a long, bittersweet battle, but it was finally over.


I was all smiles when I finally got to put the Mossberg to work on the Nemesis.

It wasn’t the textbook hunt that we dream about all year long, but it was a punched turkey tag on one of the toughest turkeys I had ever stepped into the woods with. He was a high-pressure turkey that needed an attitude adjustment and I was glad to be the one to give it to him.

The Nemesis had finally fallen to the Mossberg 930.

About the Mossberg 930 Turkey Shotgun

I was hunting with the Mossberg 930 Pistol Grip Turkey Gun. This gun could easily be the greatest turkey gun ever created with its great looks, smooth action, and hunter-friendly pistol grip design. It features an adjustable front and rear fiber optic sight for ultimate in accuracy, even in low light. It’s chambered to 3” and has a 24” barrel. It’s one tough gun when it comes to battling spring turkeys.

About the Author

Brodie Swisher

Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, and seminar speaker.
See all articles by this author