Most of my hunting stories occurred years ago when I could cover a lot more ground than I do now. This month I thought I would give a report on what happened during this spring gobbler season. To start, I hadn’t been sick for a year and a half, but I managed to catch a bad head cold, along with a bout with allergies. Not the best way to begin.
By the middle of the second week, I felt strong enough to get into the woods. I gathered up my turkey gear and took a drive in the mountains. Through the years I know of several good listening spots. It was after 8:00 till I left the house. Chances were slim that I would hear a gobbler, but they were better than my chances while sitting in my easy chair in front of the TV.
I like to use my old Lynch No. 101 box call to get a bird to respond. I had managed to sit on my one-sided call years ago and broke the handle. I thought I had ruined it, but after gluing it back together it works well enough, and the gobblers don’t seem to mind. When I’m working a gobbler that’s in close, I switch to a mouth call to keep my hands free.
It was a clear, sunny morning with no wind. Perfect conditions for hearing a gobbler but not necessarily for finding one. I made a few stops along the way without hearing anything and debated if it was worthwhile to stop in the next open field. Even if I heard a gobbler in the ridges across the main hollow I couldn’t get to it, and it was unlikely to hear one nearby. I decided to stop anyway and gave a few cranks on the old box call.
Was that a gobble?? I moved over to the edge of the woods and made another call. Another gobble and it wasn’t that far away. Back to the truck to grab my gun and gear. I made my way a short distance down the side of the ridge until I found a blowdown that would make a reasonably comfortable seat. My days of kneeling or sitting on the ground beside a tree for extended periods of time are over. I sat down on the log, popped my mouth call between cheek and gum, put on my camo hood and gloves, got myself situated, and gave another call.
Another gobble! I think he’s coming in! All got quiet except for some squirrels making noise occasionally in the dry leaves. It wasn’t long and I heard another noise in the leaves nearby. Suddenly I saw movement and a turkey head made its appearance about 30 yards away. I flipped the safety off, but my shotgun wasn’t aligned with the opening. The head moved behind some trees, so I took a chance and slowly shifted the shotgun to a better position. Immediately the head popped back out from behind a tree, and I heard a loud “putt”!
It was game over!! I heard a rustle in the leaves as the gobbler retreated down the ridge directly in line with the same group of trees. I was disappointed but could hardly believe that my first time out I had the good fortune of calling in a gobbler.
I went back later and heard what was most likely a hen on the same ridge. But no gobbler. That same morning on the way out, I stopped at another listening spot and was surprised to hear another gobbler! It was 11:00 and not enough time to pinpoint his location and get set for a hunt. This hunting from a truck was working out surprisingly well.
The chances of me tagging a gobbler are remote since I can’t cover much ground, and heaven help me if I need to get up or down or twist around for a shot.
But…I found two huntable gobblers and called one into shooting range. Not bad for a lazy old dude!
Next month we’ll see how fishing went this year.
Graduate of Bergton Elementary (Class of ’65)