Sneaky Gobblers

This year on the youth turkey hunt we encountered a bunch of sneaky gobblers. Several toms mostly came all the way into our decoys but they just would not present a shot. While the close encounters were exciting, they were also very frustrating.

 turkey tracks in the snow 

      Good sign -- fresh tracks

On our first morning we heard turkeys gobbling across the canyon but nothing close. Nonetheless, we set up our decoy spread and began to call anticipating that we could pull a gobbler in from somewhere. It literally took just over 2 hours but we finally had a turkey gobbling in the not-too-far-off distance. My grandson Daxton positioned himself for a shot as we sat waiting in anticipation for an arriving gobbler. Finally we had action; it was Daxton who spotted the tom sneaking in from over our shoulder. But instead of continuing his approach right into our decoys, this wise turkey circled around behind us. Unable to move without being noticed we waited, hoping for the long beard to make the mistake of continuing on his circular path until a shot was possible.

 i went hunting turkeys youth hunt  i went hunting turkeys toms obscured

 Tom came in right behind that oak tree                         Again no shot, more toms obscured

After some amount of time the tom, who was periodically clucking as he attempted to locate a partner, had finally had enough of the charade and slipped back into the thicket and was gone. You might wonder why Daxton didn’t spin around and take a shot, well that was because we were backed up against a clump of oak brush and he could never have made a shot on this sneaky gobbler through the protruding branches.

However, we were determined to hang out and continue calling. Another 2 hours passed when we heard a gobble from the same place the tom was gobbling from earlier this morning. Was it the same turkey, who knows, but we quickly moved our blind 20 yards away from the clump of oak so that we’d be in a better shooting position when the tom approached. But wouldn’t you know it…the tom came in but was again positioned behind the clump, albeit in a different spot to where no shot opportunity existed. For a minute or so he bobbed his head looking for a companion then slipped away. We kept at it, softly calling. Ten minutes later, we had him (or some other turkey) gobbling again!

 turkey hunting ground blind and decoys 

              Expected turkeys to appear right in front of us, near our decoys

As the tom got closer we could hear him gobble but just like before he began to circle our position. I quickly left the blind and dropped down below his current position hoping to pull him straight down and into Daxton’s lap. I softly called a couple of times. Everything was silent for about 10 minutes so I let out a few more soft clucks. 2 minutes later I heard some rustling to my side, 5 toms stood 25 yards from me! Apparently they had continued to circle us and now stood in the wide open from my vantage point, but were completely obscured from Daxton’s view. Another blown chance by some sneaky gobblers.

They day went on with another close call, until at last it happened. A tom finally gave Daxton the shot he needed and the 20 gauge did the trick! Daxton excitedly proceeded to collect his trophy, a very respectable tom with 1 inch spurs and a 9 ½ inch beard!

 mature tom long beard turkey 

 Daxton with mature tom, notice our camouflaged ground blind top left