Well, opening day is almost here and I can’t wait to find myself leaned up next to a huge towering oak tree, while I am waiting to hear that 1st gobble rip through the spring air.
Now that season is open and the birds are gobbling, strutting and yelping the only thing to do now is talk him into giving up.
Early season turkey hunting is different than hunting birds on the last week of season. The birds have not been pressured and are normally still fairly grouped up.
This is when knowing how to read birds can either put him in the bed of your truck, or having a turkey vest full of shells. So basically I will break it down into 2 groups: Flocks and Roamers
Flocks- In the early part of turkey season it is common to see multiple toms in a flock with a harem of hens and jakes in tow. These flocks will have safety in numbers because there are more of those razor sharp eyes to spot you.
When you locate a good roost or strut zone for a flock of birds; BE PATIENT. Chances are they will not fly down from the roost and come strutting into your decoys.
I like to use a hen and Jake decoy in the early season and call moderately at first. When I can get a response from a hen, I will try and cut her off and give her some aggressive cuts.
I am basically trying to get here aggravated or curious about the new hen in the area and hopefully she will drag the long beards with her. This is when I like to use an Avian X full strut decoy with a real turkey fan alongside my breeder hen decoy. The birds can see it from a distance and won’t be intimidated by the strutter.
Roamers- What I call a roamer is a gobbler that has already been kicked out of the flock and is pretty much on his own and trying to gobble in a receptive hen. When the flock is cutting up and you hear a distant bird gobbling to beat the band, I will put it in high gear to close the distance to him. This roamer gobbler is trying to pull a hen out of the flock, and hey….it might as well be you!!
This is when I really get loud and proud on my calls. I want him gobbling like he is possessed and when he gets within 100 yards or so, I like to stop calling and make him really hunt me down. Normally when he spots my hen and Jake Avian X decoys, his heartbeats are numbered. This is the moment you have been waiting for all year. I will let him gobble, strut and throw his fan for all he is worth, and then take the breath right out of him.
The main thing is BE PATIENT. After the gobbling at fly down, the birds may go about their everyday routine of breeding and feeding. After midmorning when the hens go to nest, this is a perfect time to slip in and jelly head that roamer gobbler who is looking for love.
If the birds aren’t gobbling, go to a known strut zone and call every 15 minutes or so and give it an hour and see what happens. Remember you are trying to reverse nature, you want the gobbler to hunt you.
Try and figure out which type of gobbler you are going after and it will make it a little easier to fill your turkey tag this year.
G’Luck Texas Nation!!
Story by Shane Smith