Decision Time: Taken to the Wood Shed

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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Ben Sobieck
 
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Decision Time: Taken to the Wood Shed

Postby Ben Sobieck » June 23rd, 2010, 4:31 am

In Decision Time, Editor Brian Lovett will share a scenario from his 20+ years hunting turkeys. Each hinges on a critical decision. Post what choice you would have made, then see how things actually turned out.

Taken to the Wood Shed

Like good mystery novels, some turkey hunts click when you accumulate clues, add up evidence and reach a satisfactory conclusion.

But as I've learned through the years, most turkeys don't read mystery novels.

The Woodpile Gobblers sure didn't. About the only things they did regularly were gobble and frustrate hunters. Oh, and as their name indicates, they also seemed to follow their hens past a large woodpile near a field edge at some time every day on their way to the neighboring property. Some days, they walked past the pile at 6 a.m. Other days, it might have been noon.

Of course, the obvious way to kill the Woodpile Gobblers was to -- duh -- sit by the woodpile. However, I hesitated to do that, mostly because I could usually make the longbeards gobble and had come close to killing them during three previous cutt-and-run hunts. Also, I didn't feel like sitting against a woodpile for hours, feeding the deer ticks and waiting for a bird with no sense of time to wander by.

But as the season wore on, I became increasingly frustrated by the Woodpile Gobblers, and the time came to make a final stand. Would I wait them out in turkey hunting purgatory or hope their vocal nature led me to a sure-kill walk-and-call hunt?

What would you have done? Post your decision below.

Click here for Lovett's decision.

Give up? Go fishing with Roland Martin instead with this book.

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Gobblerman
 
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RE: Decision Time: Taken to the Wood Shed

Postby Gobblerman » June 23rd, 2010, 6:13 am

Once again, I don't like killing turkeys with the ambush method.  That's not to say I haven't done it....or will not do it again, but I would much rather hunt gobblers by fooling them into coming to my calling.  After all, that is really what turkey hunting is all about. 
 
The problem is, that no matter what anybody tells you, there is a such thing as a "call-shy" gobbler (I am opening myself for a serious verbal thrashing with that comment...but the truth should be known).  So sometimes, you have to just suck it up and realize that if you want to kill certain gobblers you have to resort to woodsmanship and sound hunting strategy in lieu of calling. 
 
I have hunted plenty of gobblers in my day that would gobble like crazy to my calling and absolutely not approach regardless of the calling tactics used.  We've all played the "turkey herding" game, where you set up "callers" and "standers" and let the callers try to move the birds towards the standers.  I don't know how many times my hunting partners and I have made our evening strategy on a roosted bird with the plan based on the premise of "you get on one side and call, and I'll get on the other side and wait for him to fly down and move away from you towards me."  The fact is, with a great many older gobblers that have been through a few spring seasons, you would do best to be the guy that is sitting and waiting. 
 
With that prelude in mind, I suppose my strategy, if I really wanted to punish one of those gobblers for being so obstinate, would be to become tick-bait by the woodpile.  I might even try to fool myself into thinking that my calling made a difference in the outcome of the hunt by clucking or purring very quietly to myself....making sure it was not loud enough for the turkeys to hear it and possibly make them reverse course.  
 
When the birds finally sauntered by, whether it be in an hour...or eight,...and I summarily dispatched one of them,...afterward I would console myself by saying that my "woodsmanship skills" and " patience" played a very important role in my success. ....And you know what?  ....I would be right!
 
Jim  

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WillowRidgeCalls
 
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RE: Decision Time: Taken to the Wood Shed

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » June 24th, 2010, 9:02 pm

Being the aggressive hunter that I am, and knowing that the birds pass that wood pile at some time every day and also knowing they are henned up, I would run the gambit. I'd start out at the wood pile at day break, and listen where they are roosted, then move on them. If I could get within a couple hundred yards of them, I would wait until I heard a bird fly down. Then I'd do a fly down cackle and start calling as I worked my way back to that wood pile, leaving the impression that I'm (the hen) leaving. Now given that this is a safe area to do so, and not a safty issue. Just before I got to that wood pile and set up, I'd start gobbling and calling aggressively letting the flock know, there is a new boy in town. I would throw a challenge at not only the boss hen but also the toms that are around her. If you can get even one hen or the boss to follow, chances are the flock will follow to answer your challenges, or at least get them headed your way and passed that wood pile a lot faster then just sitting all day and waiting. Again given that this is not a safty issue, this works on henned up birds especially if there are more then one tom with them.
WillowRidgeCalls
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Gobblerman
 
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RE: Decision Time: Taken to the Wood Shed

Postby Gobblerman » June 25th, 2010, 4:51 am

 
Good, sound strategy there, Scott.  I like your plan much better than mine!  It's always a lot more fun to interact with the birds than it is to take a passive approach just to kill one of them.  I'm not confident it would work, but based on the information we know, I think it would be a very reasonable approach.  If it did end up working, you would feel a lot better about it than I would with my ambush tactic. 
 
Jim

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RE: Decision Time: Taken to the Wood Shed

Postby Uncle Nicky1 » July 28th, 2010, 8:56 am

I would set up a pop up blind, get a comfortable chair, & settle in at the woodpile, too much of a sure thing for me to pass up. Maybe set up a couple hen decoys & call softly.


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