One of the toughest decisions to make on a turkey hunt is should I stay put once I’ve set up on a gobbling bird or should I move if he’s not coming in? The gobbler in the picture put me in this quandary. I normally stay put because I know patience kills turkeys but the conditions were just right to move on this bird. The leaves were wet from a recent rain and we were in hilly terrain.
He was running with hens but still very vocal, gobbling to my hen calls saying, “Come join the party.” But the hens kept leading him away from me. This had gone on for two hours. and I could not entice the hens to come in either. So when the hens led him over a ridge, I snuck up that ridge with the stealth of a cat on a carpet. When I peaked over it, a hen and I saw each other at forty yards. She didn’t give the alarm putt but walked away. The tom stepped into view and ran to follow her but he stopped to strut where I had a clear view of him. That was all I needed to get the crosshairs on his neck at forty yards. When he came out of strut I touched the trigger and he was mine.
Those nasty hens make it tough to call in a tom, so when the conditions are right I will move toward them. The right conditions are hilly terrain to keep out of sight, sound muffling rain and absolute assurance I am the only hunter in the woods. I was, in this case, hunting my own property.
If the leaves had been crunchy as cornflakes I would have had to stay put and don’t believe I would have got that bird that day. Turkey hunting requires both patience and the flexibility to react to situations as they develop. Staying put once you set up is a good rule but don’t be afraid to break it when the conditions are right.