If you don’t have much room to roam, getting to know the routines of your local gobblers is probably your best chance to fill tags this spring. Not sure where to start? Here’s a little know how.
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It isn’t considered normal to know a particular gobbler’s hourly schedule. No, I wouldn’t tell someone who doesn’t hunt how well I’ve gotten to know a few birds. The thing is, patterning gobblers has helped me tag a lot of tough toms. Running-and-gunning to find a hot gobbler is effective if you have room to roam, but for most of us getting to know our local gobblers’ routines is a surer way of filling tags.
Last spring, for example, I spent six mornings targeting the same wise, old bird. He evaded every ruse. The tom’s favorite trick was circling me with his head peering like a periscope just over a ridge line and out of range. But when I heard him gobble at 10 a.m. I knew his hens had gone to nest. He was lonely. Even better, I knew just where the old boy was going. I ran up a wooded mountainside. I was still sucking air when the gobbler came pecking along. The only call I made was a yelp to make him stretch his long, red neck.
Pattern a Gobbler
Find locations where you can listen for gobbling just before sunrise and just after sunset without bumping turkeys. Some gobblers will wrap their toes around the same limb every night; most roost in several consistent locations in the spring—the dominant hen in a gobbler’s harem sets the routine.