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Week 4 of spring turkey season

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It’s week four of our spring turkey season and the hunting is getting tougher and tougher. But the turkeys are still out there being turkeys and if hunters adapt to the changes in their flock patterns, success is still possible. The hot-gobbling is quickly becoming a thing of the past and the hens are off incubating their eggs. So, how should we adapt?
I’m finding that most toms are still on the hunt for hens and will be cruising the edges of thickets in hopes of encountering a breeding hen. They’re gobbling minimally, but rather wandering almost without rhyme nor reason. Any morning success we’ve enjoyed in this last week has been finding the travel routes along the suspected nesting areas and calling sparingly. What calls I have been using are more social in nature; Lots of purring and clucking, sounding more like a lone hen out feeding than a lonely hen looking for love.
Evenings, however are still paying off nicely. A couple of my clients and even myself, have scored nice toms in the evening by catching the gobblers returning to their roosts. I’ve avoided the hot-hen-talk and focused more on woodsmanship to get myself and clients into position.
One great tool for that has been satellite imagery. Once I know an area from which a gobbler has been flying down from his roost, I expect him to return to that area. Now he won’t be in the same tree, night after night, but he will be in the same area.

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I’ll dial up Zoom.Earth on my iphone and study the terrain. I look for choke points, any paths between thick cover or swamp and set up there on what I expect will be an approach route to his roost.
I took my personal gobbler that way. I’d found that bird roosting in a small cypress pond and flying down into a thick stand of live oaks. I was getting zero action from him on any morning hunts, but by studying the satellite imagery, I could spot a narrow stretch of open ground, not very big, on the opposite side of the cypress. It looked like a pretty good spot for him to fly up from.

That evening, I was set up against a pair of cabbage palms, waiting him out. I’d cluck occasionally and scratch at the leaves a bit to sound like a feeding hen until I spotted that big rascal enter the small clearing. I quickly sent him an invitation to join me for supper, via my old Winchester and he accepted; more or less. That gobbler never did make a peep from the time he left the limb that morning, until he died later that evening. Hunting these silent toms can be very frustrating, but if you stick with it, it can be worth your while.

My tom sported an eleven inch beard, had an inch and a half set of spurs, and weighed in at twenty pounds! Oh yes, I was a grinning fool whilst toting that rascal back to the truck! Now, I surely wish all of y’all getting out to the woods the best of luck and if you have any questions or maybe a story to share, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] God bless and good hunting!

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