Decision Time: Young Bull, Old Bull

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: Young Bull, Old Bull

Postby Brian Lovett » September 15th, 2010, 7:53 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.

Young Bull, Old Bull

Most folks know the story of the old bull and the young bull, which, in salty fashion, illustrates the classic extremes between youthful exuberance and the wisdom of age. Sometimes, we gobbler-chasers seem torn between those instincts.

Four springs ago, I set off at noon to find a Minnesota longbeard. I stopped my truck at the base of two large, high points and ran an aluminum call. Lo and behold, a turkey answered, but he was so far away I?could barely hear him.

I hot-footed it through a long sheep pasture to the base of the ridge that connected the points. Eventually, I determined there were two birds; one atop each point. I backed off and tried to get a fix on them, calling as I went. The gobbler on the eastern point started to fire up, so I figured I was in business.

I reached the base of the eastern point and cutt hard on my friction call. The bird responded immediately. Better, it sounded as if he'd moved 100 or so yards to the top of the point and was directly above me. Soon, the turkey started gobbling on his own. I just had to get to him.

That, however, was the problem. The gobbler was atop the point, and I was at the bottom. To reach him, I'd have to plod up a long, steep incline.

Maybe another option was better. There was a logging road about one-third mile east that wound to the top of the point. But to get there, I'd have to leave the turkey, walk around the tip of the point, huff and puff to the road, take the road up the incline and then slip into the open hardwoods atop the bluff, all of which might take a half-hour. I didn't want to spend all day getting in position, because the turkey -- as many do -- would probably start to cool down within 20 or 30 minutes.

Young bull or old bull? The clock was ticking.

What would you have done? Post your decision below.

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RE: Decision Time: Young Bull, Old Bull

Postby Turkeybuster » September 15th, 2010, 2:18 pm

To be truthful I would have eased up the hill caught my breath then bushwacked him.

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RE: Decision Time: Young Bull, Old Bull

Postby Cut N Run » September 15th, 2010, 4:11 pm

I would probably try to hike around behind him. If he is above you it would probably be easier for him to see a longer distance, making getting close more difficult. Gobblers have hens turn a cold shoulder to them sometimes, so if he was feeling it before and suddenly hears a hen coming from a different area (especially if that was that area he left from when he originally heard your calls), he might be willing to play along.

That gobbler already moved toward your calls and while he moved to the top of the point, he is expecting a hen to come to him from the direction he heard the cutts from. I would think he would be more likely to stay up high and have the hen come to him than wander off where he does not have as much of a hearing & sight advantage.

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RE: Decision Time: Young Bull, Old Bull

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » September 15th, 2010, 5:27 pm

Being that he moved that 100 yards tells you he looking for company. If he is right above you it's to late to try to make a move because he can see everything below him and can hear everything that moves. I'd find a set up and work him, if he goes cold them you can move on him, but right now he has the advantage.

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RE: Decision Time: Young Bull, Old Bull

Postby Matt Raymond » September 17th, 2010, 6:13 am

I'd slowly split the difference in distance and move up the middle between the hot bird, and the one that was cold on the other ridge. If you you get busted by the hot one or if becomes a stale mate, now you'd be in a better spot to work the other bird. Maybe the other one had something in the way, keeping him from responding to your 1st position.


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RE: Decision Time: Young Bull, Old Bull

Postby Bobbyparks » September 17th, 2010, 1:24 pm

If I had it in me to make it up the incline with a realistiuc chance of not only getting up there undetected but to have a decent set up spot, I'd try it
Otherwise: I'm dead in line with Jim on this. Even with a break in the action he'd likley / hopefully fire back up when you called to him from the new approach 
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