Eight days in on the 2014 spring turkey season and between the weather and the hens, all I have to show so far is a sore left ankle and several good morning walks trekking around a new turkey property trying to find a gobbler who is callable.
I have had a couple of poor mornings of cold, wet weather, including this morning where I thought the gobbler was going to come on in but, they just stand out among the harem of hens and answer my calls. I think his gobbles translated into something like this ” come on over and joing our party cause I sure ain’t leaving all these hens to come see you!” And so it has been on my trips to the spring turkey woods so far in 2014! They are HENNED UP! This is not unusual for the early part of spring season but, often I can find an old tom or a young boisterous two year tom who will come check out my “little hen talk” and find some number fours and a dirt nap.
This spring, jakes are the only ones to venture in and while they are funny and sometimes a bother, they are not welcome in front of my benelli. Sometimes if they are an agressive bunch, they will cause a grown gobbler to go the other way. This morning, the same four jakes that ran to my calls yesterday and stopped me from moving up on a good gobbler, were roosted in the same area about 100 yards from where I park and they started cackling and calking at the other gobblers when they sounded off but, I was able to slip past them without bumping them from the roost since I got the jump on them a little early and made it on down to the swamp before daylight and waited at a cross road down in the swamp to listen for the gobblers calling from the roost.
With the cloudy weather only a couple of gobblers sounded off at daylight so I made my way slowy toward the closest one, even though he was over 500 yards on down in the swamp. As so often happens, even though I stayed “put” until 6:50, I had not gome 100 yards before I busted a group of hens out of a tall pine at the last little hill side before the creek bottom and they made so much fuss flying off that the gobbler hushed and I sat for the next two hours waiting for things to calm down.
At ten minutes after nine, a gobbler sounded off out in the swamp so I resumed my slip and eased out toward him, covering 300 yards until the bottom opened up into a wide expanse of nice hardwood swamp and I knew it would not be a good idea to walk out in there and be spotted by any turkey that could be close. I nestled in by a big oak and sat for 10 minutes listening and enjoying the morning. At my first yelp, the gobbler belted back a gobble but, he was still over 300 yards away! I peered across the open woods and caught movement but, quickly determined it was deer, 7 or 8 of them were trotting toward me and to my left so I sat another 15 minutes to let them get out of the way and he gobbled again before I could yelp and he was even farther away! I yelped at him louder and with more urgency and he gobbled right back! Then BOOM! And the fellow hunting on the property next door had himself a good morning! I got up and walked back to my truck in the rain and headed on home..
Yesterday morning the weather was the best I have had this season for a morning in the turkey woods and I was treated to the beauty of numerous gobblers as I listed from the top of a big ridge but every gobbler I yelped to that responded also caused clucks, cackles and lots of ‘hen-noise” until everything faded into no responses around 10:30. I sat until 1:00 doing some blind calling and called up a couple of hens before calling it a day.
My good friend Eric Christian, the Operations Manager at Bass Pro in Prattville had a good hunt yesterday morning. He teamed up with his buddy, Danny Gillis, who took a nice 20 lb, sharp spurred old Tom in Autauga county. Eric said they had found the gobblers up there to be all henned up but, Danny was able to do a masterful stalk and get in position to drop the old gobbler, who was field strutting in front of 8 of his lady friends! Glad somebody had some luck in the turkey woods!
Until next week,