Spring gobbler season is in full swing and nothing will try your patience more than the wild turkey. On Wednesday morning I got into a knock down battle with a hen and 2 gobblers before she took them the other way. We called back and forth for almost an hour but they wouldn’t pop there heads up.
At one point they weren’t 60 yards away but they refused to show themselves. It was an intense battle with cutting, yelping, and loud clucking involved. She was quite the mouthy hen and was giving me a piece of her mind. The gobblers would roar out during the conversation and I bet they gobbled almost 100 times.
After standing our grounds, the turkeys lost interest and moved up into the fields. I followed them and they answered me a couple more times but once they got into the wide-open field I threw in the towel. That evening I strategized and came up with a plan.
The next morning, I set the alarm clock extra early so I could slip into the dark woods while the turkeys were still on the roost. I was going to set up the way the turkeys went the day before with thoughts of the birds gliding off the roost right into my lap. Well I should know better by now in all of my years of turkey hunting to form a plan. Wild turkeys are on their own schedule and wherever the gobbling turkey is, will determine where you go.
As soon as the alarm clock went off, I jumped up and sprung out of bed. I grabbed my gear and took a few sips of coffee before taking off to get where I planned on going. It was a beautiful spring morning with calm winds and mild temperatures. The birds were singing and I was in my happy place.
All of a sudden, a gobbler roared out followed by another one. In an instant my plans changed. The birds were roosted on the point to my right and I knew right where I needed to go. I have killed several gobblers in the past when they roost on this particular point.
I quickly walked to the exact same tree where I connected with a gobbler last year. I sat up and started calling and the gobblers answered. I called again just to let them know where I was at and then put the slate call down. They gobbled a few more times and then all went silent once they flew off of the roost. I heard the mouthy hen from the day before but she was in the hollow I originally planned on going to.
I was hoping that my chances were increased with the gobblers roosted away from that filthy hen. I called sparingly for almost an hour but the gobblers weren’t talking. Thoughts started to rush through my brain, like they normally do when chasing turkeys, about what to do next. After a short discussion with myself, I figured the gobblers went around the river face towards that darn hen.
I decided to get up and slowly head that way. I rounded the point and started up the river listening intently with every step. I made it about half way and noticed a hemlock tree that would make the perfect hiding spot. I crawled under the hemlock and as soon as I let out my first call a gobble roared out above me. The hemlock was so full I couldn’t see in that direction. He gobbled again and was in a field above me. Once again, I contemplated on what to do and made the decision to relocate. I got up and slipped on up the logging road and then eased up the hill towards the field edge. I thought since the gobbler was already in the field, I could get out ahead of the way he was going and figured he’d come right in. I should have known better to expect the feathered fowl to do what I thought it would do. I inched my way to the field edge but when I got there the gobblers were nowhere to be seen. Dang, I thought to myself, they must have saw me or something when I moved. I sat there with that confused look on my face that often happens when chasing these stubborn birds.
There was nothing else to do but let out a few calls and hope for the best. I put my mouth call in and gave out a couple of clucks and was immediately answered by the gobbler. He was right back on that point where we started the morning at. I swung wide and went back to that exact same tree that I should’ve stayed put at. I sat up and gave out the sexiest soft purrs and clucks that no gobbler could resist. At least I thought so anyway. I called for almost a half an hour but the gobblers were just going back and forth. Finally, my patience paid off when they gobbled right below me.
I starred at the field edge waiting and watching for them to show. Then I heard a couple of clucks as an approaching gobbler will normally do. A red head popped up, followed by another, and then another one after that. I noticed that the first two were jakes, but I knew from the sound of the gobble that there was an ole Tom in the bunch.
He was bringing up the rear as I saw his big beard swinging as he walked. They were feeding right up the field edge and were coming right towards me. I started talking to myself again and thought this was going to be perfect as they were going to be within 10 yards if they continued on their path. Nope, the lead jake decided to walk into the woods to my hard left. The second one followed and I knew the big gobbler would do the same. I remained still and concentrated on the big bird. The lead jake popped out into an opening about 35 yards away and I knew that would be my shot.
I honed in on the mature gobbler and noticed there was a small oak sapling between me and him. As soon as his head went behind that sapling, I swung my gun into position. The lead jake saw me move and stretched his head out in that opening. The second jake popped out and did the same thing to see what his buddy was looking at.
The two jakes turned and started to run away. It was now or never so I put my head down on the 12-gauge shotgun and took aim. The instant the big gobbler stuck it’s head out in the opening to see what all of the commotion was about I pulled the trigger. He started flopping and the hunt was over.
I love everything that comes with spring in the West Virginia mountains! Morel mushrooms, (which I found a few later that same day), ramps, beautiful blooming trees and flowers, good fishing, and of course spring gobbler season. Get out and enjoy this beautiful time of the year. Spring gobbler season ends on May 11th so there are still a couple of weeks to chase those stubborn birds around. Good luck and be safe.