John's Journal...

What to Do When Three Turkeys Gobble

Gobblers to Give Away and Gobblers to Keep

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Most of us when we hear a turkey gobble immediately make a beeline to that turkey. We never stop to wait and listen to see if an area has any other gobbling turkeys in it. Remember, all turkeys don't gobble at the same time every morning. On many a morning, if I go to the first turkey that gobbles, I'll spook the tom closest to me because he hasn't gobbled yet. But what do you do when you hear three or more turkeys gobble? I've learned to plan my morning hunt instead of chasing the first turkey that gobbles. Here's how. 

Why Give Away Gobblers:
Using this same system of marking my spot, getting a compass reading, estimating the distance and numbering the turkeys I hear gobbling, at times, I give away turkeys, especially on public-hunting lands. I don't go after...Click to enlarge
* the turkeys that gobble closest to the road. I assume that someone on the road already has heard that turkey or will hear that turkey before I can reach him.
* a turkey when I see a car parked on a road because often I'll find the hunter closer to the turkey I hear gobbling than I can get.
* toms that gobble often on public lands, since I'll assume they'll call in hunters as well as hens to them. So, I'll then move to the tom that gobbles the least.
* a gobbler that another hunter's hunted for two or three mornings in the same general area.
* a bird once I hear another turkey hunter calling to one of my three choices. Instead I'll let that hunter hunt that bird, and I'll go to another turkey.Click to enlarge

Although I call these turkeys giveaway birds, that doesn't mean I won't hunt them. I just won't hunt them at first light. I'll let other hunters hunt them then. I'll still number these turkeys, get compass directions on them, guesstimate the distance and write down the information. I'll go to these turkeys after I've had a chance to hunt the turkey I've selected to hunt that morning first thing. Generally I won't go to the giveaway turkeys until after 10:00 am. Then when I do move to where I've heard these toms in the morning, I won't call to them until I've set up and am prepared to shoot. I'll call very little and plan to wait a long time for these birds to show up.
Just because you give away a turkey at first light doesn't mean that no one can take that turkey.  You may find this bird easy to bag later in the day. Or, if your state permits afternoon hunting, you may want to go to this bird just below fly-up time.

What If You See Three Birds Together:Click to enlarge
You may run into a three-gobbler situation where you hear three turkeys gobble and find them all sitting within 300 yards of each other. Instantly you'll think that if you move in close enough you can call to all three toms. Then whichever one comes in first, you'll take him. But don't forget that:
* six eyes and six ears now will search for you, instead of two eyes and two ears.
* three turkeys gobbling in one place may mean they're all jakes.
* three gobbling turkeys will have numerous hens around them, which means that you may spook the hens before you can get within calling range.
* probably other hunters have heard that large amount of gobbling coming from one spot.
* the likelihood of a gobbler's walking up behind you increases at least 100-percent than if you only have one turkey to hunt.
* more than likely all three of the toms may get into a fight when they fly down, and one or more of them will leave the area.

I don't mean to imply that I won't go to three gobbling turkeys. Sure I will, just like you. But I also will move extremely slowly to those birds, expecting to spook hens. I'll also think I'll find henned-up gobblers when I arrive. Too, I'll figure another hunter's hunting these turkeys and proceed with caution. When I get into a multiple-gobbler situation, I often focus so hard on taking one of those three gobblers that I forget about all the negative things that can and will happen in this situation.

Tomorrow: Why to Choose the Best Turkey Instead of the Closest Turkey

Check back each day this week for more about "What to Do When Three Turkeys Gobble "

Day 1: GPS to Success
Day 2: When “Stuff” Happens
Day 3: Gobblers to Give Away and Gobblers to Keep
Day 4: Why to Choose the Best Turkey Instead of the Closest Turkey
Day 5: How to Nail Down the Toms Before You Leave


Entry 449, Day 3