Sadly, all things must come to an end, or so I’ve so often heard stated. But, this Sunday at sunset, ends this year’s Spring Gobbler Season; and what a season it has been! My clients and I have enjoyed some remarkable success and witnessed some amazing sunrises and lots of beautiful wildlife. Wild turkeys have been abundant in each part of the state I’ve travelled to, but none more so than right here in my home county.
Don’t worry though, even though the season is nearly over, there are still opportunities through the coming weekend to invite mister gobbler home. Now, if you haven’t enjoyed success yet this season and have a yearning to take advantage of this final weekend, there are some things I’d like for you to bear in mind. Mostly, that the breeding activity is winding down and the excited calling we used during opening weekend will more than likely run your bird off rather than invite him home.
Tone it down. Soft breeding yelps will get your message across just fine, but don’t overdo it. The toms are still seeking company from the hens, but social calling, clucks and feeding purrs will be in your favor. Use multiple callers and scratch the leaf litter about your position to help sell the idea that there is a small gathering of hens feeding near you. You may want to include assembly yelps with a raspy call to imitate an old boss hen gathering the flock to feed; the toms will slowly drift in to check on the girls just in case one or two may still be feeling a bit frisky.
Don’t discount the use of gobbler yelp; deeper, slower and more drawn out than a hen’s. That can often spark his desire to reacquaint with the other bachelors in the area, bringing him to your set up and hopefully onto your table. Know that the big toms have lost a lot of weight during the breeding period and will be likely focusing on their bellies. Find the food sources where tom tracks are prevalent and begin your calling there. I’ve always been told, “it’s easier to call him in when he wants to be there anyway.”
Recently, My five year old niece Payton scored her first gobbler by taking advantage of a food source. Soft yelps and clucks melted away a big boss tom’s caution and he entered a rye field in the north end of our county, to join the feeding flock he thought he’d been hearing. Her daddy was along for the hunt and was a great help in steadying up the tiny-turkey hunter as she sent that big boss a dinner invitation he couldn’t refuse…. Old Uncle Toby is mighty proud!
For any of you getting outdoors, I wish you the best of luck! And, if any of you would like to share a picture or a story of your success, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] God bless and good hunting!