"I use a good cackle and cutt so they know it's not one of the hens they have already bred," said Kohl.
After this early morning breeding call, however, be careful not to call too much. Too much calling later in the season can turn a lonely gobbler into a wary one. This is particularly true in areas heavily pressured by other hunters.
"In the late season, people tend to keep calling and calling," said Kohl. "Birds can get call-shy, particularly on public land where there is a lot of pressure."
Be a smart caller. Always practicing good calling techniques will help minimize call-shy gobblers. Certainly, heavily hunted areas produce call-shy birds, but easily avoided mistakes will educate them, too.
When yelping or cutting to locate a bird, make sure you are concealed, or your outline is broken up by a tree or bush. A gobbler needs only to have one eye above the crest of a grassy horizon or around a tree or bush to see a long distance, and he'll locate the source of that call in an instant.
Don't walk and call, and avoid standing on a ridge where turkeys can easily see you. If he sees you calling, he's just become smarter.
Try other methods with call-shy birds. Put the calls away and just rustle the leaves a little bit. When you do call, try soft clucks and purrs instead of the harsh cutts and yelps that may have worked in early season.
High grass presents another challenge in late season. It's much easier to see birds in the early season, when the grass is low. But during the late season, hunters must always be on the lookout for birds. Often, all you see is a turkey head popping out over the grass. Birds may also concentrate in wooded, shady areas because of warmer temperatures in late season. They may approach silently, particularly if they're call-shy.
"I've had birds come up totally quiet, and then they're just there," said Kohl. "I use binoculars more in the late season to glass for birds because the birds are harder to see."
Finally, realize that turkey hunting is not an exact science. A strategy that works for one late-season bird may not get a response from another gobbler.
Kentucky's spring turkey season is open until May 4. The season bag limit is two birds, which must be male turkeys or turkeys with visible beards. Only one turkey may be taken per day. For complete licensing information, equipment restrictions and other regulations, pick up a copy of the 2008 Kentucky Hunting Guide for Spring, available wherever hunting licenses are sold.
Hayley Lynch is an award-winning writer for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. She is an avid hunter and shotgun shooter.