I felt as smug as a dog tied up with link sausage when I leaned back into a massive stump and pulled up my camo face mask. My confidence was high because the bare spring woods were ringing with turkey talk. I had heard two different long beards sound off and possibly a third or a gobbling jake, plus a bossy hen giving something what for with loud cutting. The turkeys had me surrounded but surrender was the last thing on my mind. My plan was to stay put and call until one of those gobblers came by.
Three hours later I was still holding to that plan but seriously doubting it. Both toms had done two wide laps around me gobbling in response to my yelps almost every time. I knew they were following feeding hens so I called to the boss hen with loud, bossy cutting. What she said back to me in a jealous rage can’t be printed. I gave her the same right back only worse but she wasn’t enraged enough to come in and whip me. She just led her lover boy away on another wide loop around me.
The two flocks of hens, each with a tom in tow, were so vocal I could pattern their route as they made wide circuits around me in the woods. I was thinking about relocating on their route so I could ambush them on their next lap when a flash of movement to the side caught my eye. Five jakes in silent mode had sneaked in to twenty five yards. They were all looking over their shoulder for a tom while looking for then hen that had been calling all morning. My decision to take one of the jakes was heavily influenced by the burning ache in my backside. I got the gun up and picked out the first one that gave me a clear shot. When the shotgun roared one flopped and four ran. Staying put had paid off with a sixteen pound short beard. There’s nothing finer on the table than that but what happened next has always made me wonder about the trophy tom I might have had if I had relocated or tried another call.
As I was hiking out with the tagged jake slung over my shoulder I rounded a curve in the trail I saw a sea of dark feathers on the trail ahead. A flock of hens was milling around and in the middle of the trail a tom and hen were breeding. When they finished up another flock joined them. These I figured were the two groups that had been around me all morning. The second group had a tom also and he came charging at the first tom. They both leapt into the air and crashed into each other spurs first. They jumped at each other again and beat each other with their wings. I moved from tree to tree to get closer. For this bout I wanted to be ringside. They were so involved in their fight they wouldn’t have seen me drive up in a yellow Cadillac. After spurring and beating each other they wrapped their necks around each other like a pair of snakes and got into a pushing match. They pushed back and forth in what seemed like an equal battle until one tom simply walked away. The other ran to catch up with the hens that had drifted off into the woods.
If I didn’t already have my tag on a jake, one cluck would have brought that, now hen less, tom to me. I decided then and there to figure out how to lure lusty toms with hens.
What I’ve leaned since then makes up a chapter in my e-book “How to Hunt the Wild Turkey.” Henned up toms are the biggest challenge to the spring turkey hunters. Get the low down on how to deal with those nasty hens.