Okay,....works out of the way for a little while. Time for the more important things in life!
Back to the turkeydoghunter scenario. First of all, I find no fault in the JPH strategy at all. His questions are valid ones. I would also like to know where I am hunting....is it hard hunted public land? ....or some exclusive private property that's lightly hunted? What subspecies am I hunting?....and does this area have many turkeys or few? These things will influence both my calling and tactics decisions....and also my state of mind for the hunt.
Based on the information provided by turkeydoghunter, this is probably what I would do: I like to get closer than 200 yards to a roosted bird if I can, and it's dark, so I would probably try to cut the distance to about 100 yards if possible. My theory on this, though, is that it is better to be farther away than it is to spook the bird(s) by trying to get too close. I am assuming that I have not had a chance to evaluate the area and have a pre-determined set-up in mind, so as soon as I can see a little bit without the aid of a flashlight, I would evaluate my surroundings and determine where I should make my set-up and quickly get there and get positioned....sitting with back up against a tree or some other background brush to break-up my outline, preferrably with some low vegetation in front of me, with some moderate openings between me and the turkey(s).
I am not big on calling to gobblers on the roost, and I prefer to wait until the gobbler hits the ground before I call, although in situations where there are vocal hens with the gobbler, I will try to duplicate what they are doing and with the same regularity. However, if there are lots of hens, I know the odds are against me anyhow, so I am more likely to experiment, within reason, with my calling. In these instances, however, I will never call much before it is realistic for a turkey to be on the ground, because I am not going to climb a tree to sound like a hen on the roost, and I find it difficult to believe that close-by turkeys cannot tell that a call is coming from the ground or not, regardless of how you project your calling.
If I suspect the gobbler to be by himself, I have heard no other turkeys calling elsewhere, and I feel confident I have the bird to myself, I will likely wait until he flies down to call to him. I will be the first to admit that sometimes my patience gets the best of me and I will give a bird one soft series of tree yelps, but never until I think he is about to hit the ground. If I see or hear the gobbler fly down, or if the sound of his gobbling indicates he has hit the ground, then I may choose to do a "flydown" with my cap or jacket if I am sure I can get away with it. If I am feeling particularly creative, I may rustle a few leaves to indicate a turkey moving around on the ground.
At this point, I will usually make another series of soft yelps and/or clucks, and then I wait to see what the gobbler is going to do with gun at the ready. Of course, I am hoping that the next thing I will see is the gobbler sneaking towards me, preferrably gobbling and strutting as he comes. If he is not, things can quickly become more complicated. As we are all aware, there are a multitude of "combinations and permutations" that effect calling and strategy at this point. Fundamentally, however, I am generally not willing to raise the ante by becoming aggressive with my calling until I have pretty well convinced myself that he isn't coming.
If he has gone silent and I have no idea of where he is, I will sit and wait for a while, assuming that this is a wary bird that is slowly coming to investigate. All the while I will be listening for tell-tale signs that he is near...drumming, walking or scratching noises, soft clucks, etc. At some point, though, I will have to resign myself to the idea that he is not coming and that I have more choices to make. These will, once again, be based on some of the parameters outlined at the start of this dialogue.
They will also be determined by things such as: Have I heard any other toms gobbling in the distance...do they sound hot, do I think there are other hunters on them, and can I get to them quickly? How much country do I have to hunt, how is the terrain, and am I familiar with it? With my knowledge of the area, the hunting pressure, the subspecies I'm hunting, and their abundance, do I think I would be better off to play a cat and mouse game with this bird, or will I have a better chance of finding a responsive gobbler by running and gunning?
My evaluation of the above will tell me if I want to pull out all the stops on this bird I am on or not. If that evaluation suggests that this bird is expendable, then I will gradually turn up the pressure with my calling. I'll start with a few longer and louder series of hen yelps. After that, I'll add some short-cutting to the mix. Then some full-blown cutting and loud yelping sequences. Desperation may lead me to even trying an aggravated or fighting purr sequence. Each turn of the pressure knob is based on responses, if any, I receive from the gobbler. Hopefully I will hit a nerve somewhere and he will let me know, and the game will be on once again. If he doesn't, then my friends, he has won the day (or at least the hour), and I will tip my cap to him in respect, with a smile on my face, and say thanks for the pleasure of the encounter!