Now that the WI season has been over for a couple of days, it has given me time to look back at the last 8 weeks and think about what I learned. It doesn't matter how long you have been turkey hunting, every year seems to throw a new situation or to at you. The classroom is a beautiful place but the teachers are harsh and do not grade on a curve. I count this season as a huge success, even though there were tags that went unfilled. But the real question is what did I learn to take with me on future hunts.
The biggest thing this year was that I didn't always go with my first gut instinct. I over thought the situation and chose the wrong set-up. Sound familiar? Here is a prime example. I had been hunting a certain property for several weeks that was loaded with birds. There was one small secluded field that the birds really liked. It was a stubble field with woods on all 4 sides. The only access point was a farming lane that connected it to another small secluded stubble field. The birds would roost in 3 different sides of the field each night, so you never new for sure where they would be roosted but you knew they would hit that field first thing in the morning. It was down to the last season here and there was only one gobbler left consistantly roosting by this field. He started roosting in pretty much the same spot finally and he was a really nice bird that I was pretty sure had multiple beards. So I set my sights on him. No other bird would do for mr the rest of the season. It was the last weekend and I set-up Saturday morning well before light and waited. He gobbled 3 or 4 times off the roost and flew down into the field really early, later I figured out someone came in on the neighbors property and bumped him cause he hurried off then began gobbling in the connected field then gradually made his way to the old railroad tracks where he spent a lot of his mornings strutting. That afternoon my plan was to intercept him on his way back to the roost, but he got to the field early and beat me to the spot, so I could only watch as he went to the roost from a distance. So the next morning my first plan was to set-up by the lane as I knew he would go that way, but instead I thought I would sit in the same spot as the morning before, cause hens were roosting over there and after all he had been bumped the morning before. Well you guessed it, in the morning he flew down to the field, strutting, gobbling and putting on a show. Then the hens came out to him and he walked 20 yards from the spot I was going to set-up and headed for the tracks! I think I deserved a slap to the back of the head as he should have been over my shoulder as I walked out.
But, again I am sure I will end up doing it again and I guarantee he will be at the top of my hit list next year. The moral, go with your gut and don't overthink it, remember his brain is the size of a pea and doesn't reason things out like I did!