I hunted near the old strut zone at the lease today. It was my first time hunting there all season. The Landowner has taken one good Gobbler there a couple weeks ago and lost another that he knocked down, but it flew off before he could get another shot into it. Sadly, it was never recovered and not seen again.
About 6:28, I had one gobble behind me from about the same area I heard it Thursday morning. He sounded off perhaps a half-dozen times before he flew down. A hen flew off the roost about 80 yards behind me and headed for the opening to my right. She crossed the creek and last I saw her, she passed over the rise about 65 yards off.
Since this area is traditionally a strut zone and I was the only one hunting on the property today, I decided to try a gobble shaker call. Before the sound stopped coming out of that thing, the Gobbler behind me was firing back. We volleyed back & forth about 20 times in the span of 45 minutes with me cutting him off mostly. When I gave one call and he did not answer I figured he was getting close and I better get ready. About that time I caught movement to my right and saw not one, but two Longbeards crossing the creek at the same place the hen did earlier. They angled into the woods too far for a shot. Just as they were going over the rise I yelped a few times. The bigger Gobbler instantly went into full strut, though I could only see the top of his fan and his head. The satellite Tom just sort of hung around even farther out of range also looking for the hen they'd heard.
I'm sure those birds either witnessed one of their buddies getting shot from that location, or they busted the Landowner moving when he hunted there, because they were not comfortable being in that area for some reason and I know they couldn't see me (because I could barely see them & I didn't move a muscle).
We have been thinking there was only one Gobbler roosted over where we have been hearing him. To confirm that there are actually two nice birds and to get them to respond almost to within gun range after they have been pressured from that same location is respectable. If nothing else, I now know where to position myself so that when those birds avoid that area and cross the creek in the future, they will not be shying away from where I will be set up. This puzzle is coming together a piece at a time.
I wish I had more time to hunt to figure all this out sooner. Sure is fun trying though. I'm kind of glad that one last week didn't walk right into easy range...we'll see if I have that same attitude come the end of the season if I have one tag left.