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.
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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