Decision Time: Swamp Ding-a-Ling

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: Swamp Ding-a-Ling

Postby Brian Lovett » July 7th, 2010, 9:03 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, and then see how things actually turned out.

Swamp Ding-a-Ling

As much as we dissect every twist and turn of a turkey hunt, that pesky element of chance often rules the day.

One morning, I was blind-calling along a southern South Carolina logging road, facing a small food plot. Suddenly, a gobble erupted about 75 yards to my right, and within seconds, I saw two shadowy forms slinking toward me through the palmettos.

Grinning under my facemask, I raised the gun and slipped off the safety. Just then, however, the gobblers hit a small slough to my right, took a hard left turn and slipped out of sight. Soon, they were strutting and drumming 15 steps directly behind me in the road.

As I peered over my shoulder, however, I caught movement in the food plot in front of me. Sure enough, three hens were pecking their way through the open area.

It was dilemma time. If I tried to spin around the tree, one of the gobblers would likely see me, and the hens would certainly bust me. If I waited, the gobblers might walk down the road toward the hens, giving me a point-blank shot. Or, the longbeards might simply melt into the thick palmettos and disappear.

It was go for broke or hope for the best, and I had to decide immediately.

What would you have done?
Post your decision below.

Click here for Lovett's decision.

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Bobbyparks
 
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RE: Decision Time: Swamp Ding-a-Ling

Postby Bobbyparks » July 7th, 2010, 11:31 am

Brian I like these scenerios you throw at us.

If I could see the gobblers and they both walked behind a tree or something long enough for me to make a quick turn around and get my gun on them...I'd do it and not worry about the hens.

It'd have to happen quick because the hens would putt and run but the gobblers or at least one would likely hesitate long enough for you to get off a shot because he wouldn't know why the hens spooked or which way to go.

If I could'nt see the gobblers or didn't feel I could do it and have a chance to get off a responsible shot.....I'd stay still and hope for the best.

They'd still be around and it could unfold in a way that you'd get a chance or move on them afterwards
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Gobblerman
 
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RE: Decision Time: Swamp Ding-a-Ling

Postby Gobblerman » July 7th, 2010, 3:18 pm

Bobby's got a good plan, but trying to quick-draw Easterns, especially when it involves trying to do it while repositioning about 180 degrees, is an "iffy" proposition, at best.  I would initially bet that the gobblers would eventually head for the hens and present me with a gimmee opportunity at some point.  However, if I could keep an eye on them and they started to wander off in the wrong direction, I would do exactly as Bobby suggests,....wait til they go behind something that obscures their line-of-sight to me, and try to scoot around and get the gun on them before they skedaddle. 
 
Of course, if there is no chance they will go behind something that would allow that extra second or two needed to adjust and shoot, then all bets with the quick-draw would be off.  Easterns usually just react too quickly to movement for this old boy to get situated for a shot that fast.  In that case, I would let them wander off and hope that I could call them back, or that the hens would be too much of an enticement for them to resist. 
 
Now, if you were hunting Merriams or Goulds, this situation would be a no-brainer.  Those two subspecies just don't react like Easterns, Osceolas, and Rios to close-range movement.  With either Merriams or Goulds, you could most likely just swing around, take a sip of your favorite beverage, read the morning paper, and look at your horoscope before they would have sense enough to run off. 
 
Jim

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RE: Decision Time: Swamp Ding-a-Ling

Postby woodzman » July 8th, 2010, 2:08 am

Since the hens just arived and are feeding in a food plot, It's a good bet that they will be there for a while. I think I'd sit tight and see what developed with the gobblers. Those hens may have a tom with them too, that has'nt shown himself yet and theres a good chance the gobblers behind me will end up out there with the hens anyway.

Bob

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RE: Decision Time: Swamp Ding-a-Ling

Postby Bobbyparks » July 8th, 2010, 11:36 am

ORIGINAL: Gobblerman

Bobby's got a good plan, but trying to quick-draw Easterns, especially when it involves trying to do it while repositioning about 180 degrees, is   With either Merriams or Goulds, you could most likely just swing around, take a sip of your favorite beverage, read the morning paper, and look at your horoscope before they would have sense enough to run off. 

Jim




Jim ,

I know you're right about the Easterns being quick responders and I don't think I've ever tried what I've suggested and just let birds walk if I can't get on em while stationary and propped.

You quote above buddy is slightly exaggerated though. You could sip your beverage and maybe read the front page and your horoscope but not the whole paper................Maybe thats what you mean't and if so please overlook this.
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Gobblerman
 
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RE: Decision Time: Swamp Ding-a-Ling

Postby Gobblerman » July 8th, 2010, 12:57 pm

"I know you're right about the Easterns being quick responders and I don't think I've ever tried what I've suggested and just let birds walk if I can't get on em while stationary and propped.

You quote above buddy is slightly exaggerated though. You could sip your beverage and maybe read the front page and your horoscope but not the whole paper.........."   ---Bobby

 
Me?....Exaggerate?! ....Surely you jest!  You know full well that I never exaggerate.  Just ask Mark Hay and Reverend E,....they'll stick up for me! 
As for swinging around on those Easterns, You could probably pull that off....bein' and ex-baseball player and all.  Us old, slow guys know better than to try that!  ...except on Merriams and Goulds....    [:D]
 
Jim

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Cut N Run
 
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RE: Decision Time: Swamp Ding-a-Ling

Postby Cut N Run » July 9th, 2010, 5:31 am

I read this one twice so I didn't miss the last day of the season part, like I did last time[:@].

Since you said food plot, my guess is that we are dealing with private land, meaning the birds may be near there again in the future, especially if they are not being heavily pressured in that area. I know for a fact that Easterns don't wait around and take notes if they see something out of place move. I can't speak about the other species as I have never hunted them.

From my experience, it has been better for me to hold tight and try to be better positioned the next time out, rather than risking not getting busted and moving to try to shoot at those birds. I can only say what has worked for me in the past.

Jim
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RE: Decision Time: Swamp Ding-a-Ling

Postby TRapper » April 3rd, 2011, 4:31 pm

i would go for a quick movement that would at the very least surprise the turkey long enough to get a shot much like a quick shot on a pheasant
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