Decision Time: The Gate Debate

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: The Gate Debate

Postby Brian Lovett » May 18th, 2011, 5:19 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, then see how things actually turned out.

The Gate Debate

Man, only brothers can fight like that.

The siblings were helping me try to fill an Iowa tag, and they were both fantastic turkey hunters. However, one was a run-and-gun artist, and the other preferred a patient, passive approach.

That hadn't been an issue earlier in the day. In fact, we'd been surrounded by hard-gobbling longbeards. We just couldn't get one killed. That afternoon, we hit a great-looking area consisting mostly of large ag fields surrounded by mature timber.

The older brother won the strategy discussion, so we planned to walk and call. Not much was answering, though, and we eventually bumped a gobbler that had been coming to our yelping as we stood by a large gate.

"Dang it," the younger brother said. "This is a great place to just sit and call. That's what we should have been doing. Turkeys travel back and forth here all day."

"Yeah, but we have tons of acreage to cover," the older sibling responded. "You never know where you might strike a red-hot turkey. Why wait when you can get tight with one?"

The sun was setting, so our hunt for that day was finished. However, we started to ponder the next morning. We knew the spooked gobbler would like be roosted in the neighborhood, so the debate began anew. Yes, we'd start by the gate, but if nothing gobbled nearby, should we stretch our legs or sit and be patient? I'd have to be the tie-breaking vote.

What would you have done? Post your decision below.

Click here for Lovett's decision.

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RE: Decision Time: The Gate Debate

Postby simpzenith » May 18th, 2011, 5:37 am

When hunting large open areas like you find in Iowa, I like to set up and wait, calling periodically, for the first couple hours of the day. I would save the "Run and Gun" or "Walk and Call" method, as we both apparently like to call it, for a mid-morning hunt.
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RE: Decision Time: The Gate Debate

Postby TurkeyJohn » May 18th, 2011, 5:46 am

I'm not the patient type, but given the scenario, I would sit and wait for a while, perhaps an hour after fly down, if nothing was doing, I mean really nothing, no gobbles, etc, then I'd run and gun, stretch the legs, see if you could fire one up.  Even if I don't get a realistic chance at the bird, at least seeing something in my mind, justifies being there.  You could sit all morning and not see or hear anything after all and that's not my idea of turkey hunting.  Don't like bumping everything in the woods either, so there has to be a fine line.
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RE: Decision Time: The Gate Debate

Postby Bobbyparks » May 18th, 2011, 11:44 am

For me I'd factor in that I'd just bumped a bird at the gate after calling...and I'd probably feel better about moving and calling to find a bird in the morning than I would in the I'd have sided with the less agreesive brother for the pm hunt

That said: For the next morning

I'd likely start at the gate or where ever you had reasons to think was a good starting spot and listen for birds with thoughts of attacking him on the roost..Its hard to be still in the mornings if birds will gobble so ........if they're gobbling I'd go to em or move around to cover some ground after the roost deal was over but at a patient pace...looking for a bird that would play

But.....If they're not gobbling or seemed closed mouthed....then I'd consider setting up and do the perodic calling thing...

Don't think I've answered the question but maybe given some idea of what my thought process would be
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RE: Decision Time: The Gate Debate

Postby Cut N Run » May 19th, 2011, 2:12 am

The fact that there was a bird by the gate in an area they like to travel regularly says that's where I'd hunt the next morning for sure.  People usually only put gates on field or pasture fences where a road access the opening.  The turkeys probably find it easier to go in & out of that area by using the road.  The field (& road) offers an area for turkeys to see & be seen for a longer ways than in the woods themselves, plus there is nearby cover if the turkeys need a quick escape for any reason.
You already had a quiet gobbler coming to your calls that was bumped by running & gunning. If that is how they're acting, you probably stand a better chance of killing one by setting up in a known travel area & calling periodically while paying close attention.
I'm forced to hunt this way because of the land I hunt & it is not as easy for me to get around as it once was.  Every now & then you can get out ahead of gobbling turkeys that are not coming to calls by using a road (or path) access.  The only bird I tagged this year was killed this way.
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