"Decision Time" is back! In this interactive feature, editor Brian Lovett will share a scenario from his 25-plus years of hunting turkeys. Each hinges on a critical decision. Post what choice you would have made, and then see how things actually turned out.
That's the Jakes
Times were tough in Texas.
Think about that for a moment. If you've hunted Rio Grande gobblers in the Lone Star State or heard about it from buddies, you know that it's usually not like your average day at the local wildlife area. It can, in fact, inflate your sense of self worth as a turkey hunter.
Now and then, however, drought essentially wipes out an entire year class of turkeys. And sometimes, ideal breeding conditions the next year or two result in a whopper year class. When you have loads of jakes around and relatively few older turkeys, the youngsters tend to turn the tables on their elders. That can make hunting very difficult.
That's where I was one dry April morning. A buddy had taken me to his ultra-secret roost spot to waylay a longbeard, and as promised, there were gobbling turkeys everywhere. One gobbler was seconds from being within range until a wad of jakes chased him away. Another answered my call and came 200 yards in less than a minute before — you guessed it — jakes ran him off.
Finally, after a bit of sneaking around and yelping, we struck two hot-gobbling birds that seemed intent on coming in. They looped around to our left, just below a hill, and were walking to the gun slowly and steadily. That's when we heard yet another wad of jakes approaching from the right, hellbent on chasing off their older cousins. They were about 100 yards away but closing quickly.
"Crap," I thought. "They're gonna come in and ruin it."
The gobblers were probably in range but below the rim of the terrain rise. With the jakes approaching, I had to decide whether to stay put in hopes the longbeards topped the hill or force the issue and crawl toward the gobblers to get a shot. Only one thing was certain: The jakes weren't backing down. What would you have done? Post your decision below.
Click here for Lovett's decision.