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2012 Turkey Season, thus far...

Posted April 12th, 2012 at 05:27 PM by Black Spurs

At this point in the season, one begins to wonder if it is over. Are they finished? Did we miss it?

Even when you know from past experience that there is a lull in gobbling activity and have a pretty good understanding of the breeding cycle, it is hard to convince yourself to get out of the bed and go stand in the edge of a field waiting on a gobble from a turkey you haven't heard or seen in at least a week. My suggestion is that it is not over; it is just about to begin.

Sure we had the so-called "early spring", but that didn't change the photoperiod, which is the main factor regarding the breeding cycle of turkeys.

Were turkeys not gobbling up hens at the beginning of the season and getting quiet later in the morning like they do every season? They were where I was.

Don't we always have that "weird" period about this time in April where the turkeys just aren't "acting right."?

I hear the same things every year. But onto my season thus far...

Opening day was exciting. I heard quite a bit of gobbling, and I got many answers but only two showed up, two jakes. I had been listening to a turkey gobble before the season regularly. Boy, he sure sounded good. These two jakes came from that area. Was there a longbeard in there, or was one of these jakes gobbling with a full gobble? Well, I still don't know.

Day two I decided to go deeper into the woods as these birds didn't seem to want any part of the fields. The first turkey that gobbled was near where I had heard one the morning before the season. I went to him, hunting the way it should be: He gobbles; you go to him... I got as close as I figured I needed to be and sat down to him. I called. No answer. I called once more, and from almost over my shoulder a booming gobble sounded. Wow!!! This bird is about to be smoked!!! He was close. I heard him fly down and begin to drum. I can rarely pinpoint the direction of drumming by a turkey. It sounds like it is everywhere. Often, I will hear it and think I have have its direction pegged only to find out it was in the opposite direction. He drummed loudly for quite some time. Suddenly, he just absolutely roars with a gobble!!! It sounded like he was directly in front of me. I try to look around a bush, nothing. Then, I see him to my right (maybe my internal gyroscope is off its axis). Could this be a different gobbler? He was jake. You gotta be kidding me. I let him walk away and focus my attention on another gobbler I heard in the distance. I have spent the first two days setting up on jakes... I wouldn't have been surprised to find out the other turkey that was gobbling would be a hen.

Day three I had a plan to get into the woods and set up where I heard the one from the second day. I moved on him after the jake left yesterday, but I couldn't do anything with him. He disappeared... I was running late, but when I crossed the creek, I heard him gobble on the edge of the field, still in the tree. I moved swiftly to within about 60 yards of him on the roost and set up at the edge of a drainage ditch. I called, and he answered immediately. I called to him again, and he cut me off. Yes!!! I got quiet and waited. Soon, I heard a turkey fly down. I saw two turkeys land in the field about 100 yards away. Then more landed. I saw one longbearded gobbler chasing jakes in a circle. I saw other turkeys but couldn't get a count or tell much about them. They promptly left the field and entered the woods on the other side of the field. I got up and made a quick circle around, spooking a hen along the way. I got set up and called a few times to him, and he answered. He even came closer, but then I saw a hen through the woods going to him. He shut up, and so did I.

Day five (fourth hunt) I made an evening hunt and caught him in the field all by himself. You know that story if you looked in the turkey hunting forum. He had a 11 1/8 inch beard and 7/8 spurs. I mismeasured some of that initially tyring to fight skeeters and entertain kids and neighbors.

Since then, I have spooked a couple, one of which I should have killed. But I don't really care that much about killing one I catch with his guard down in a logging road or in the edge of a field. I would rather call him up; however, I won't hesitate to shoot a "target of opportunity." I just prefer the calling. So, we are down to two more weekends, and I will be out there after them because I firmly believe that at least one good day is still ahead.
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