John's Journal...


You Can Outlast Toms

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Once I hunted a smart gobbler that had whipped every hunter who'd tried to take him for two consecutive years. Bo Pitman, the lodge manager at White Oak Plantation near Tuskegee, Alabama, usually would save a bird like this for the two of us to hunt at the end of the season.

Another Tough Mid-Morning Tom:
This mature bird usually flew to the roost with his hens every evening and often remained with them all day. He also would walk away from a hunter who tried to call to him. After three days of hunting this tom, Pitman and I caught up to him where he roosted with his hens above a small creek in a hardwood strip between two fields. We tree-called to him at first light and never called again. With binoculars, we watched the gobbler fly down after his hens already stood under his tree. From before Click to enlargedaylight until 9:00 a.m., we watched the turkeys feed about 150 yards from us.

"Don't you think we ought to call to the bird?" I asked Pitman. But Pitman whispered, "No, because that's what everyone else has done who hasn't killed this tom." "Don't you think we could sneak out of here and try and get a little closer to that turkey?" I asked. Even through Pitman's headnet I could see him grin as he answered me with, "Yeah, we can do that. But that's what everyone else has tried who hasn't bagged this turkey." Somewhat frustrated now, I said, "Well, what are we going to do?" "John, we're gonna sit still, be quiet and say nothing,” Pitman explained. “Either the turkey will come down this hardwood Click to enlargedraw between these two fields and walk toward us, or when he gets through feeding, he'll walk out into those fields away from us. So I think we have got a 50-50 chance of taking this bird, if you'll sit still and stay quiet.".

Now I grinned, because I knew Pitman had analyzed this situation absolutely right. Finally at 10:15 a.m., the hens started moving down the hardwood draw with the gobbler behind them. By 10:30 a.m., five hens stood in front of me with the gobbler less than 30 yards from my stand. "When he steps behind that tree, make your last adjustments, and get ready to take the shot when he steps out," Pitman whispered. Finally when the gobbler's head went behind the tree, I slightly moved the shotgun on my Click to enlargeknee, got my cheek on the stock and very gently took the safety off my Remington 1l00 3-inch Magnum. As I looked through my scope, I could see the white crown of the gobbler's head beginning to dart back and forth behind the tree as he fed. Finally when in full view, the tom lifted his head to look for his hens. I squeezed the trigger. By 11:15 a.m., I walked out of the woods with my turkey. Many times you can take one of those late-morning gobblers if you'll stay on your stand long enough to let the bird walk to you.



Check back each day this week for more about BRUNCH-TIME GOBBLERS

Day 1: Middle-of-the-Road Gobbler
Day 2: Mid-Morning Gobbler Tactics
Day 3: More on Mid-Morning Gobblers
Day 4: You Can Outlast Toms
Day 5: Bird Dog Turkeys with David Hale



Entry 295, Day 4