Ask Scott your question in the form below and the answers will be posted in a timely manner. Be sure to check back for your replies.
Q & A:
Q: Bryan from PA: I am pretty decent on a mouth call but I'm trying to clean up my sound and get rid of the mostly rasp I hear when I call. What should I do.
A: The quickest fix is to get a cut of mouth call that exposes the second reed more. Such as a bat wing, yellow venom, Ellis Signature Split V of combo/cutter call. The second step is technique. Keeping a little more tongue contact and pressure on the call at the start of EACH yelp note restricts the top reed(with the cut) from vibrating thus creating a cleaner sound.
Q: Andrew from NM- I hear you talk about being more realistic all the time. Why do you think being realistic kills more turkeys?
A: I feel adding more realism to your tone and cadence convinces a turkey it's hearing a real hen and is much more luring than average or below average calling. More importantly, understanding each call and using the turkeys language to speak to him/her and actually say something is deadly as well. SE
Q: Sonny from IL: How close do you set up to a bird?
A:Off the roost as close as possible. On into the morning hunting, as close as possible. If your moving in on a gobbler try your best to use a locator as you approach. You dont want him coming to you before you get a chance to set up. SE
Q: Albert from GA: Do you practice all year round?
A: Absolutely Albert. ALL YEAR LONG. To stay sharp and polished for the stage and the woods. I try to never let rust collect on my calls or routines. Thanks! SE
Q: Keegan from AL: How much do you call to a turkey on the roost.
A: I call very sparing to a roosted bird just enough to let him know where I am. A few series of tree calls. Then at flydown I give a cackle, then just wait till hits the ground before I make another sound. The only exception to this rule is when he is roosting with hens. I will then play off their calling and try to sound like the most "excited" and ready to breed girl in the bunch. SE
Q:Jimmy from VT: I've been running a mouth call for 20 years, which Mouth Call Magic DVD do you recommend?
A: It depends on what your after Jimmy. MCM get's you going from the ground up with technique for creating realism. MCM2 does the same but with an emphasis on yelping and using the four basic types of mouth calls. SE
Q: Malcolm from TX: I'm looking to hunt complete a grand slam next year. Any quick tips for hunting the different birds?
A: A turkey is a turkey buddy. Get a feel for what he wants to hear and call accordingly. Make sure you take into considertion the different terrain changes as you move from state to state. Use them to your advantage on your set ups. In closing a general rule of thumb is you can talk more to Rios and Merriams than Easterns and of course Osceolas. SE
Q:Jay from KS: Can you tell me how to store a diaphragm call. I've purchased several of yours because I like them so much. I want to store them until I need them. Do I store in the refrigerator, freezer, in the case in a cool place? Does it matter? Thanks.
A: First off, thanks for using my calls! All you need to do is get a plastic cocktail toothpick(or flat wooden toothpick) and slide it in between the top reed and 2nd reed. Then place them in a protective case and put them in the refrigerator. You may want to rinse them with water before you store them long term.SE
Q: John from FL: Scott, First, I attended the 2014 NWTF convention in Nashville and picked up your signature mouth call, AWESOME CALL! gonna tell my buddies about this one. Easy to operate, takes very little air pressure for this call to work. I have a question about cypress heads swamps, how much time do these birds spend in them? Thanks, John
A: From my observations they LOVE them. Period. They roost in them and frequent them, especially when they are dry. They provide shade and shelter and a variety of food sources. Thanks for using my call! SE
Q: Allen from TN: Hey Scott, I own the woodhaven legend slate and the cherry classic crystal I'm having troubles running the calls and wondering if you could make a instructional video that shows how to yelp, cut, purr and all the works. Thank you.
A: I'll get one up soon Allen! Check my channel Scott Ellis Youtube SE
Q: Ed from IL: When I listen to the pros such as yourself, it seems your clucks are very raspy and your yelps have more tone. Not to say the yelps don't have rasp - but the clucks almost seem like pure rasp. I can get my clucks to sound more like pure rasp when I use fairly radical cuts, but with simpler split v type cuts the cluck is high on tone. When I use the raspy type calls, then the yelps have less tone. It seems that you pros can get both the pure rasp on the cluck and the higher pitch tones on your yelps all from the same call. How can I get more distinction between my yelps and clucks in this respect?
A: I'm not sure I would categorize my clucks or any other really polished caller's clucks as raspy. They are generally two notes condensed in a rapid burst of air. They have a high and low note. I dont want pure rasp in my clucks, I want the distintive two note tone, so I generally call off the back of the call or use the "sweet spot" to clean it up. Maybe our terminology is mixed up here. As long as your getting a short popping, abrupt note, I wouldnt dig too terribly deep into it. Some hen's cluck with more of the front high note, some more of the bassy, raspy note. It's all on her voice. Hope this helps. SE
Q: Rodney from IA: I am new to turkey hunting and was wondering about how much to call to a bird on the roost.
A: Very little. Just let him know your there with some soft tree talk. Let him flydown and then the game begins. The only exception to this rule is if you hear hen's roosted with him. At that point I will try to sound like three or four hen's then produce several fly down cackle's a little earlier than normal. Chances are he's just gonna pitch down with his girls but it's worth a try. SE
Q: Wally from MD: Last season I hunted a tom I couldnt kill. He'd gobble on the roost and flydown to nearly the same area every day. He'd answer my calls from about 100 yards but never close the gap. What would you have done?
A: Sounds like he was flying down and hitting a strut zone every morning. I would have set up where he was flying down. Then after he flew down, assess his mood and engage him. SE
Q: Luke from GA: Scott I am wanting to get into using mouth calls. Can you give me some suggestions of calls to learn on. Another hunter suggested Quakerboy kee kee, Copperhead 1, and Woodhaven Yellow jacket. Do you agree and would your DVD be beneficial to me learning or is it for more advanced callers?
A: Those are all great calls to learn on. I would also suggest the Scott Ellis signature, Raspy Red Reactor, Yellow Venom, Copperhead and the Red Wasp(all from Woodhaven). Any call that easily produces rasp is a great one to start with. As for my DVD Mouth Call Magic, it is a more advanced learning DVD, but I did just upload a Mouth Calling 101 youtube.com video. Copy and paste this link in your browser to view. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwPnzMPp5LQ SE
Q: Rick from KY: What is your best tool for practicing to improve the realism in your calling?
A: Once you have mastered the call your using, whether mouth call, pot call etc. I Simply listen to WILD turkeys and mimic there cadences and tones. There are hours of footage on youtube as well a couple of great audio CD's out there, Spittin Feathers and Tree Top Turkeys. SE
Q: Jeremy from IL:I've got a small tract of land to deer hunt this weekend (nov9-10) Have several good scrapes on property borders. What's the best position to hunt?
A:With such a small piece, the WIND is going to be critical to what your doing. Ensure that you use it to your advantage. Hunt into the prevailing wind side of the property. If the bucks are cruising and the sign is good as your seeing, it puts you in a great position to bag a bruiser! SE
Q: Steve from VA: I've been turkey hunting for 25 yrs but jut got into it hard within the last 3 years. When starting a cutting sequence there are times (i feel) there is suction tapped between the top of my mouth and the call making it difficult to start cutting. Once the initial air goes through i can continue the cutting. What's the fix? P.S. : Love mouth call magic. yelping is now much better
A: It sounds to me like you have too much jaw tension. Be sure to start your cutting sequence with relaxed jaws. Also practice a starting "que" to begin your cutting. Something simple like counting down from 3. 3-2-1 "cut" or simulate the cutting motion with your jaws, tongue and lips without any air. After a few practice moves simply add the air. SE
Q: Jonathon from OH: What cuts do you run on the stage?
A: I run two cuts on stage, My Woodhaven Scott Ellis signature call, and a modified cutter.
Q:Justin from GA: Do you think hunters are relying to heavily on decoys nowadays? Rather than advancing their calling skills and have the gobbler come in looking.
A: without stepping on toes or offending anyone, I politely just say yes. :) SE
Q: Rod from MS: Scott, I have always preferred Woodhaven Calls over other makers. I am definitely going to purchase your video. I live in Mississippi and hunt 4000 private acres. Do you use decoys, and if so which do you prefer? Thanks RB
A: Rod, I'm not a huge fan decoys, but will employ if the situation arises. This will include a strutter if I'm hunting a gobbler that I know is the dominate bird in an area. I rarely use a hen decoy. I'd rather choose a set up where the gobbler has to come look for the hen and when he's close enough to see her....BOOM he's dead. SE
Q: Tony from GA: Scott, I will buy a new raspy mouth call and the first time or two I use it it's fine. Then after that it appears that the reeds stick together and the rasp is gone. How do you store your mouth calls from one use to the next? Do you do something to seperate the reeds? Thanks
A: Very simple Tony. Place a piece of flat wooden toothpick, dental pic or plastic toothpick between the top and second recond. Then store them in the fridge. When your ready to call, force a little bit of saliva in between the "picked" reeds and then work the tooth pick out. Then your ready to ROCK! SE
Q: David from NC: Hey,Scott are you going to be at the Dixie Deer Classic IN RALEIGH,NC IN MARCH?
A: No David, I'll be either turkey hunting or at the World Turkey Calling Contest in AK. SE
Q:David from AL:What do you do when a gobbler walks away gobbling at you?
A: If it's not dangerous 1. Gobble back at him 2. He probably has hen's, try keeing at them 3. Circle around, get in front of him and set up an ambush. SE
Q:Cecil from KY:I have a wing bone call a guy made for me but I get all kinds of weird sounds out of it. what's the proper way to use this type call?
A: This is a suction type device. Every sound made on it will be from sucking inward on the call. Push your lips together and suck. Do you hear that squeaking noise that is created? Almost like your kissing? That is sound your amplifying by place the small end of the wingbone in between your lips. Try a Youtube.com search. There are numerous vids.SE
Q: David from AL: Have you ever fanned turkeys?
A: NO-I have heard and read it is truly successful, but I'm not taking the chance on being shot. Even on private land you never know who is lurking......SE
Q: Justin from Fl: Scott whats your call on decoys? 2 jakes and a hen or any at all?
A: I'm not a huge fan of decoys. I rarely use them,although many folks do with success. I am from the "make the gobbler look for you" club. This always entails a set up where the gobbler cannot see the hen he is hearing until he is in gun range. I have employed a full strut decoy with success. This is when I identify, without a doubt, that the gobbler occupying that area is the dominant bird. More times than not he will come running for a fight. I truly feel I use my calling ability as an advantage in many situations where a decoy could help someone who doesnt call very well. That is why as a competition caller, I'm always encouraging hunters to become better callers. Good calling with good woods skills equals consistently DEAD gobblers. That being said, if your are going to use dekes, I would use a jake and a hen in all situations. SE
Q: Stephen from Canada: How much is too much calling to a roosted gobbler?
A: I only give him a few tree yelps to let him know that I'm there. Then a flydown cackle when it's decent daylight. The only exception for me to calling more to him on the limb, is if there are hens roosted with or near him. I will give him more yelping and a create a flydown earlier. I'm trying to fool him into thinking I'm the hottest thing going and I'm on the ground and ready to bred. SE
Q: Chad from IL: How many mouth calls do you carry in the woods during the spring?
A: A BUNCH...I have a medium size crappie jig box. I probably carry 40 or so. They create all different types of hen's. High pitched, low pitched...raspy, not so raspy etc. You never know which hen might tickle a gobblers fancy. SE
Q:Ryan from West Virginia: "I am planning on entering some NWTF friction call contest and plan on buying some new higher quality calls. I have a budget of around $600 what calls would you recommend?"
A:Woodhaven Custom Calls are a great choice.
Yelping-Vintage Hen, Vision Crystal
kee kee-Kee Disc
purring and tree yelping-Purr Pot
Q: Paul from Louisiana: "Do you practice your calling in the "off" season?
A: ABSOLUTELY! I try to run my calls and routines at least weekly throughout the year. It just makes good sense keeping the "rust" knocked off your calls. SE
Q: Mitchell from Indiana: "This is my first year turkey hunting. I've deer hunted for 10+ years. I sit in a stand in the woods for deer. Where should I sit for turkey?? I tried in the woods and got no luck. Do I just sit on the edge of a field??
A: This is a very broad question Mitchell. It depends on what style of hunting your doing. Generally when you start your hunt in the morning you are going try to set up within 100 yards of the roosted turkey and begin your hunt. As far as just setting up in an area to hunt and "blind call" do your best to locate good sign. Scratching, dusting areas, strut marks, droppings and just high traffic areas identified by turkey tracks. SE
Q:Jack from Arkansas:"I bought your DVD and love it, but I'm still having problems with the cluck. Any other advice?"
A:Jack I responded directly to your submission over a week ago. You may want to check the email you provided(or your spam box). At any rate, try using your diaphragm to assist in that short burst of air that is regulated by your tongue. Just a short huff that is brought up from down deep. You should watch your stomach jerk a bit as your pushing the air up. Only drop your tongue as you bring up the air from your diaphragm. This should create that single "puff" of air needed to create a good cluck. SE
Q: John from Florida: "Scott, how do you locate birds in the off season? And if you find them do they stay in the same place or are they always on the move. Me and my 10 year old son are really looking forward to spending some time in the woods scouting out some birds but I don't know where to start."
A: Birds will generally stay in the same area's during the summer time, especially in the summer because food sources are abundant. From insects, seeds and fresh green sprouts, basically they will settle on a food source and will frequent those areas. Since we are talking about Florida specifically, check pastures and open fields as well oak hammocks and any other more open places on the property when your scouting. The poults are constantly growing and needing plenty of nourishment during this time of the year. Also check for any area's of exposed dirt or earth. Look for dusting area's as this a turkey's natural insect repellent and they will use them daily. You can begin your search by being in the woods at daybreak and simply listening for the birds on the roost. They are often very vocal and you will hear all times of flock talk when they are in the trees. SE
Q:Mike from Ohio: "We are having an extra dry and early spring. Will this mean an early end to the breeding, and toms being lonely or are the birds gonna breed at the regular times?"
A: I think everyone has had a dry and early spring. From all reports and my expriences in the states I have hunted the birds have started breeding early and gobbling activity has decreased to some degree in the later stages of the seasons.(I'm refering to the southeastern states) SE
Q: Jake From Florida: "What would you suggest for 2 toms that are henned up with 4 hens all day from what I have seen."
A: I have three quick tips. 1-Try calling to the hen's. Start with some plain yelping, then go to kee kee running. If no response try some hard cutting and excited yelping. 2-Stage a mock fight including fighting purrs, flogging and gobbling. 3-If calling does not work try patterning them and simply set up an ambush. Sometimes calling alone will not get the job done. SE
Q: Josh from South Carolina: "Today I had a unfortunate hunt, I had 2 toms henned up so I decided to wait them out for 3hrs. Finally they come my way within shooting range, just needed him to pass a limb that was in the way. Wouldn't you know it a tractor shows up to disc the field before I can get the shot off. Those toms turned inside out clear across the field into a neighboring field which I can't hunt. My question is will they return ?? How long should I wait before I try again?? Thanks in advance!
A: I'm suprised the tractor even scared them. Many times birds will get used to farm equipment on fields. I would try them the next day without hesitation. SE
Q: Matthew from South Carolina-"This year the field I hunt is planted with oats. Will turkeys still use it as much? If so, is there any specific tatics that you would use for this type of setup ?"
A: Turkeys love oats Matthew! Your field should hold turkeys. As far as tactics go, you can try a decoy spread and set up on the edge of the field in available cover. My personal choice would be just inside woodline around the field with NO decoy. Set up where the old boy has to come looking to find you and by that time it will be too late. SE
Q: Eddie from Alabama- "I just heard your new cd and purchase the four signature calls. I still cannot get the front end pitch as you. What letter or word do you suggest to acquire the yelp on your diaphram call?"
A: Eddie try breathing the word "he" using different pressures and tongue positions. This should help you clean up the front note. Remember we all will sound different to some degree on a mouth call due to our pallet and the size/shape of our mouths.
Q: Gene asks "I live in southern Illinois. where can I find your calls?"
A: You can find my calls as well the complete line of Woodhaven calls at http://www.woodhavencustomcalls.com/. They are also availabe at Bass Pro's, Cabela's and Gander Mountain's, as well Macks Prarie Wings, Midway USA, and Midwest Turkey Supply. SE
Q: Gerald asks " Which # of reeds would you suggest is the best for whip/whines and purr/cluck? and also high end yelping like on your videos?"
A: I recommend my sigature call, the Raspy Red Reactor or the Yellow Venom all with Woodhaven Custom Calls. SE
Q: Caleb from Ohio asks "I was wondering how to store mouth calls after a hunt and when the season is over?"
A: I simply slide a toothpick in between the top and 2nd reed and place them in the refrigerator. A cool damp enviroment will prolong the life of the latex. Another tip is to dip them in mouth wash and then rinse them before using. You call's could be harboring bacteria from last year and you do not want to get sick. SE
Q: Matthew from South Carolina asks "I watched your video on purring, awesome! Are you fluttering your lips?
A: Matthew, No I am purring with my tongue. I would recommend to get you a copy of Mouth Call Magic-it has in depth instruction on how to achieve the purr by fluttering your tongue. SE
Q: Ronald from Florida asks "I hunt mostly public land and was wondering what calling tactic works best on these pressured birds?"
A: It usually depends on what part of the season your hunting. You can confidently "assume" that the early season birds have received less pressure and the late season birds have been hunted hard. That being said early season I tend to call more aggressively and late season I tone it down considerably, mainly clucks and purrs and soft yelping. Regardless of what time frame your hunting, start with basic low volume yelping and only increase your excitement level and volume if needed. You do not want him to gobble his head off, because it will often attract other hunters. SE
Q: Randy from Tennessee asks "What calls should I carry during the spring"
A: I would carry whatever you a most confident with. Becoming proficient with more than one type of call can definetly up your odds of success. You never know what sound may strike a nerve with a tom and bring him into range. SE
Q: John from Georgia asks "I am a beginner turkey hunter, what call should I start off with??
A: A box call(woodhaven real hen) is a great call for starting as far as friction calls. It is to run and will truly produce real turkey tones with minimal effort. As far as a mouth call, I would start off with a 3 reeded diaphragm with some type of cut on it. Whether a split V(my signature call)Cutter, Bat wing etc. This will allow you to obtain rasp with ease and will be easier to control. SE
Q: Steve from North Carolina asks "When do I use the gobble on a tom in the spring?"
A: Generally this I use the gobble as a last ditch effort to lure in a bird that is hung up. Your trying to give the perception that another tom is slipped in on your bird's lady. Your callenging his dominance by gobbling at him. Be very careful when giving this call, as it can lure other hunters to your location. SE
Q: Ronnie from Florida asks "Whats your opinion on optics for your turkey gun?"
A: I LOVE them-I use a TruGlo Multi Reticle-open red/green dot scope. I found that most turkeys are missed because the hunter does not get a good check to stock "weld" and thus will shoot over the tom. With optics you simply put the the dot or cross hairs on his head and pull the trigger! SE
Q:Jimmy from Wisconsin asks "How often do you call a bird gobbling every time you call?"
A: I will start with saying over calling has been the reason for more gobblers not being harvested than any other error when hunting turkeys. Only call enough to keep him moving towards your set up. If he slows down his foward progression get a little more excited with your sequeneces. Add a little cutting and excited yelping. If he eventually comes close and does not get to gun range, quite calling completely for about 10 mins.SE
Q: Shawn from Alabama asks "I've been told to start off learning the mouth caller with a single or double reed and no cuts? Is this true?"
A: NO-I feel this is one of the biggest misconceptions when teaching mouth calling. Using a no cut design does not allow you the ability to cut or produce any rasp. A clear call, also is harder to produce consistent yelps because you have to cleanly roll over each note or it sounds like a sloppy mess! Use a 3 reed V, or cutter style call to start off. It is easier to produce the raspy hen than the clear hen......SE
Q: Sam from Louisiana asks "What do you do when a gobbler hangs up?"
A: The 1st thing I would do is to completely quit calling for about 15 mins. Let him stew and resist the urge to call. More times than not the fact that he feels this "hot" hen has left the area, will get the best of him and he will come looking for love. There are many other answers to this question, I will expound upon the many vaiables that occur when toms hang up, in the "tips and strategies" page......SE
Q:Jeremy from South Carolina asks "What is the best locator call for spring?"
A: I dont have a 100% correct answer for that. I have witnessed areas where there were tons of a particular animal, for example, crows and owls and the turkeys gobbled agressively towards both AND I've seen it where they didnt gobble very well in the same scenario. As well, when I hunted Texas they would hammer at my owl hooting, although we heard no barred owls and I do not believe they even exist in that part of texas. Ultimately I have had success with, peacock, hawk, crow, owl, duck, goose, and well if they had a thunder call that would work wonders! Carry three or four locators with you and give each one a try you never know which one is going to work.
Q: Chris from Pennsylvania asks "What call is the most effective in the spring for calling in gobblers?"
A: I would have to say the yelp is the most effective call used during spring gobbler hunting. It is the hen turkey's most common used call for locating gobblers in the spring.SE
Q: Bobby from Ohio asks "What is the most important factor in spring turkey hunting?"
A: I feel the set up is the most important detail that is often overlooked. Always consider where the tom could be going and choose the path of least resistance for the gobblers route to your setup.SE
Q: Al from Ohio asks "Will a hen re-nest more than once?"
A: Yes a hen will re-nest up to 7 times. With the multitude of predators and dangers facing the nest of a wild turkey, mother nature programmed them correctly.SE