I made it into a beautiful, remote and quiet section of Dallas County hardwoods well before daylight this morning and got all my camo cover, my turkey vest, my calls and other gear together and stood outside my truck to watch a marvelous spring daybreak.
Not long after that, I heard it, that single gobble that is just far enough away that you ask yourself, was that a gobbler or wishful thinking? Then after what seems an eternity, there it is again, that unmistakable sound that still makes me get excited more than 50 years after my first turkey season. The gobbler was not “tearing it up” as we like to describe a gobbler that is screaming out gobbles at the top of his lungs so loud and fast that you can hear him run out of breath at times when the gobbles just stumble out of this throat.
No, this gobbler was using a very measured pace in his broadcast and I could tell he was probably turning on the roost limb and sending gobbles out different directions. Some gobbles would sound like his location was 400 yards and the next one would be so faint as to cause you to believe it was two different gobblers. No, he was the same one doing both. I could tell by his voice, It has been my experience that many gobblers have a distinct gobble that you can “pick out”. IF they gobble enough or you have interactions with them on enough trips to that location trying to talk him into a ride home with you.
I heard three other hunters “owling” at various locations around my hunting spot but, he seemed to pay them no attention as did any other gobblers in the vicinity since none of them gobbled at the “fake owls”. I have an owl call, a pretty good one, since my fake owl is not too realistic. I guess some of my fellow hunters have not figured that out yet, or they have had success in the past walking through the early morning woods screaming HOO WHO HOO HOO!!
I would rather be patient and let the gobbler have some time to sound off on his own and then silently as possible make my way towards him. That was the case this morning. After he gobbled several times I felt like I could set up in a small food plot that was only 200 to 250 yards from where I parked my truck and it was accessible by a small dirt road that made for a silent and easy walk. I got about a hundred yards from the truck and then decided to do something I rarely do on daybreak hunts. I walked back to my truck and got my decoy bag out and hauled them down to the plot and set them out.
I just bought a new Benelli Super Vinci and wanted to have a clear shot for my first hunt since I was unsure of the front sights visibility in the woods and the few times I shot it to check the pattern I was in a field so I wanted to duplicate that level of light. I picked out a good wide tree to hide at the base and in good cover with the sun to my back and my gobbler and hen decoy set up for an easy shot. I have used this plan successfully many times before, with and without decoys since I normally don’t like to use them except on an afternoon field hunt or when a gobbler has proven himself “uncallable”.
After about 20 minutes of silence I heard the gobbler sound off and I sent him back a sweet mild yelp. GOOBBBBLLLEEE was his reply so I just hushed and waited… In about 10 minutes I heard the leaves crunching and could tell two birds were coming up out of the woods. My first thought was “probably jakes” since the birds were coming in fast.
Then I saw them at the worst spot possible, they had circled around the food plot and were standing over my right shoulder at less than 20 steps in the area where I could not move around to get in a shot taking position. I thought “no problem” they will come on out to my decoys, and they slowly started to do just that. But, when they appeared in the plot, they were at 77 yards and looking toward my decoys. Too far to shoot, I just waited and thought they would come on in to the decoys who were set at 30 yards. For 20 minutes these two grown, long bearded gobblers just stood in a full strut and looked tuff. I figured they were working their courage up to come down and double team my old B-mobile gobbler decoy and steal his hen. but, they must have lost their nerve because they just turned and slowly strutted out ot sight. After another 20 minutes, a sharp cutt and yelp on my Red Wasp mouth call brought another loud gobble from down in the woods where they disappeared but, I knew they were not coming back.
Without other gobblers to go to since none were sounding off in the area. I decided to just hold tight and call “low key” style. After a couple of call sequences, I saw turkeys walking toward me through the woods and three gobblers came into the field from a different direction and two of them broke into a strut when they saw my decoys. They slowly strutted toward me but they stayed a little more than 70 yards away strutting and drumming for 10 to 15 minutes before they walked out of the field and were gone..
Oh well, some mornings in the turkey woods are like that! But, I had a great opening morning of my 52nd spring gobbler season and that alone is reason enough to consider this morning a successful hunt that was really enjoyable! and Lord willing, I will be right back there tomorrow morning before daylight to enjoy another spring morning in the Alabama turkey woods!!
Hope you get a chance to hunt some spring gobblers! It is truly exciting!!
Post Oak out.. in the spring woods..