Decision Time: Road Rage

In this interactive feature, Editor Brian Lovett shares a scenario from his 20+ years of turkey hunting, asking "What would you do?"
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Brian Lovett
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Decision Time: Road Rage

Postby Brian Lovett » October 13th, 2010, 5:08 am

In "Decision Time," Editor Brian Lovett will share a scenario from his 20-plus years hunting turkeys. Each hinges on a critical decision. Post what choice you would have made, then see how things actually turned out.

Road Rage

Conventional wisdom holds that if a gobbler does the same thing two consecutive days, he's telling you how to kill him. However, the equation gets complicated when the turkey doesn't give you all the pertinent details.

In mid-March 2007, I joined some friends at a sprawling ranch near Kissimmee, Fla. After striking out near a large pasture the first morning, I returned to camp and learned that my friends had a plan for the next day.

"We drove around to check out some spots and saw a bunch of strutters not far from here," one buddy said.

The birds had been in two small mowed areas near a road atop a dike that bisected a large lowland. The nearest suitable roost trees were several hundred yards distant, so it was obvious the turkeys had walked a long way to reach the spot. And because most of the low area bordering the dike road was choked with broom sage and thick brush, it seemed clear the birds had traveled the road. About 300 yards down the road, two dikes converged, right by two oaks. It looked like a great ambush spot.

The next morning, I hot-footed it down the road, trying not to trip on an alligator, and reached the trees quickly. After hemming and hawing a bit, I decided to place two hen decoys about 30 yards behind my setup to provide visual reassurance for my calling. Then, I sat and waited.

As dawn broke, several gobblers started to sound off in a deep oak woods 250 yards in front of me. Perfect. After flydown, it sounded like most of the birds had gone deeper into the woods. However, one gobbler started hammering regularly 200 yards away, near the start of the road.

Several minutes later, however, I heard a melee of aggravated purring and flapping wings, followed by several excited jake-yelps and half-gobbles. The dikes blocked my view, but I assumed several jakes were fighting or had ganged up on the gobbler. After a while, the brouhaha stopped, and everything went silent.

I called several times. Nothing.

Shoot. Had the jakes chased the gobbler away? Was the longbeard just milling about on the road? Slowly, I rose from my seat and glassed the road. Zip.

It was 8 a.m., and the sun was heating up. I had to decide whether to continue with a plan that seemed to have gone awry or pursue the birds that had gone into the oak woods.

What would you have done? Post your decision below.

Click here for Lovett's decision.

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RE: Decision Time: Road Rage

Postby Bobbyparks » October 14th, 2010, 12:04 pm

Brian ,

It does sound like the kind of spot that would be worth setting up and hanging with to see if birds would come in later and/ or a place to start at another morning if it didn't work out that day.

It would depend on if I thought the woods were manueverable.

From what you said it sounds thick and aligatorish?

If the birds semed vocal and moving was an option I'd consider it but from the impression I've gotten I'd stay with the spot and give it time to work. The gobblers (several) were seen more than once so in my view it's just a matter of time and being patient here seems like it could pay off. The road appears to creat somewhat of a funnel / travel route .

Final answer:

I'm non aggressive on this one. I'd stay put, call perodically, and wait for them to come back to a spot they obviously like.
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Cut N Run
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RE: Decision Time: Road Rage

Postby Cut N Run » October 15th, 2010, 11:16 am

ORIGINAL: Bobbyparks

Final answer:

I'm non aggressive on this one. I'd stay put, call perodically, and wait for them to come back to a spot they obviously like.

Exactly how I'd play it too. They were not where you set up the day before and you heard several that morning. It is thick & swampy where you can't see far around you. Give 'em time and see if that dyke isn't a favorite spot to see & be seen. I'd say you are in a prime location. Patience is a virtue. Make sure you have a live round in the chamber and be prepared to tote one out by the feet.

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