By the time the month of May rolls around turkey season is more than halfway over. Usually, during the last part of the season you have the woods to yourself. It is actually a very good time to hunt. Hens are spending time on their nests, so if you can locate a gobbler, there is a good chance he is by himself and will respond to a call. I have had good success this time of year.
The turkey hunt I want to tell you about this month occurred on the top of Gate Mountain. I’m not sure exactly how I got there. I think I walked down over the top but that’s a little tricky because you have to go around some private land. The only other way to get to the top of Gate Mountain is to hoof it over from Gauley Ridge. That’s not for the faint of heart, but you can get there before you might think, if you are in pretty decent shape.
Anyway, I was on the top of Gate Mountain about daylight. Just as it was just getting light enough to see, I heard a gobble on one of the steep ridges on the Dull Hunt side of the mountain. The turkey wasn’t that far away, so I hustled down over the top, found a decent place to set-up, gave a few calls, and waited. The gobbler would answer my calls and gobbled pretty good for a while, but refused to come in. It’s not unusual for a gobbler to “hang-up” and insist the hen come to him. The stalemate continued with the gobbles coming less often as I maintained my cramped position.
While I was trying to get the first gobbler to respond (without much success), another gobbler had started gobbling on the next ridge. He seemed to be more interested in my calls than the one I was working with. Do I continue trying to convince the gobbler in front of me to come in, or should I go after the second bird? Decisions, decisions…!?
I decided to go after the second gobbler! After all, I didn’t have a lot to lose. The second gobbler might come in, and the first gobbler was unlikely to go anywhere. Also, sometimes making a move can convince a “hung-up” gobbler to take those final steps into shotgun range. Especially if there is another gobbler in the area.
I didn’t have to move far, maybe a couple hundred yards, to set-up on the second bird at the top of the next ridge. Again, I gave a couple calls and the gobbler answered right away. Our conversation had just begun, when I heard a gobble back across the top of the mountain from the direction I had just came. I called again and it gobbled even closer. I changed position to get ready for a shot and waited. Another gobble and I saw movement. A few minutes more and the gobbler walked into an open area. The old double barrel spoke and I ran up to put a boot on the neck so it didn’t flop down the side of the mountain.
You never know what will happen when you step into the woods. By pure luck I was in a position to work two jealous gobblers that were competing with each other. Apparently neither one had hens with them. Most times, if something bad can happen it will. But occasionally everything falls into place for a successful hunt.
Until next time!
Graduate of Bergton Elementary (Class of ’65)