This past Saturday, the opening day of Spring 2021, I found myself and a client seated on the edge of a small cypress strand. We were there to hunt a big Osceola gobbler; my client and good friend Devin Selowese, has since named the bird, “Chuttles.” The “Chuttles” name came from the raspy, warble way he would finish his gobbles. Made it sound like he was saying, “Gobble-Gobble-Gobble, Chuttle, Chuttle”.
Well, old Chuttles started talking to us just right at the break of dawn and was soon joined by the other six birds. It was insane how many gobblers were roosting together. We were confident in our setup and calling sequences and as soon as there was enough light to see by, that big joker slipped his toes from around the roost limb and flew off without so much as a “good morning.” My clients and I hunted that big Tom for three days with no luck.
I called repeatedly with a homemade box call I built many years before. But even tossing some of the sweetest hen sounds I may ever have created, it was all for naught. Chuttles didn’t have lovin’ on his mind. Instead, I caught up to him several times, and each time I found him in my binoculars, he was hanging out with at least five other toms. They weren’t feeling very amorous just yet and would rather just hang out with their pals.
Now, there’s a lot you can do to hunt the bachelor groups; at least three tactics come to mind and we used all of them this weekend. The first gobbler we harvested, we did by shadowing the flock. I’d stay at a distance, just far enough not to spook that group of bachelor toms, but close enough to monitor their travel while texting the directions to my clients, to guide them into the line travel for an ambush. Jeff Riley, from Ohio, was up first and was able to invite a beautiful trophy Tom home to Ohio. But, it wasn’t Chuttles.
The second Tom of the weekend, fell from crawling in amongst them under disguise. After the first Tom fell, Chuttles led his crew of long-bearded buddies out to a large dry pond. It was grassed over, about two acres in size, and a big dust bowl where they just hung out and strutted in the sun. So, my two hunters got out a plastic representation of a turkey fan.
I hung back and watched through binoculars as Devin and Jeff belly crawled closer and closer holding up that little fan in front of them. I giggled up watching those two big fellas crawling into that field. And you know something? It worked and Devin invited another big beautiful gobbler, home to Alabama. But, once again, it wasn’t Chuttles.
Jeff was fortunate to invite a third gobbler back to Alabama after trailing the Tom-flock to their evening feed grounds along the edge of that little cypress head where it all began that morning. That third gobbler Jeff took.... you guessed. It wasn’t Chuttles either. Nope, we ended the hunt with Chuttle’s feet firmly wrapped around an old cypress branch.
I promised him that I’d be baçk to try him again. Now, Folks, I’d love to hear from you, so drop me a line and tell me some stories of your own adventures at [email protected] God Bless and Good Hunting.