Decision Time: Creek-Bottom Combo

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: Creek-Bottom Combo

Postby Brian Lovett » November 9th, 2011, 4:58 pm

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.

Creek-Bottom Combo

The turkey hunting tradition in Alabama runs long and deep, so I’m never surprised when I encounter traditional turkey hunting challenges there.

Pressured birds? Yep. Henned-up gobblers? Sure. Tight-lipped longbeards? Check. A combination of those? You bet.

But let me back up. One hazy afternoon, a friend pointed me toward a food plot at the end of a logging road and wished me luck. I slipped in quietly, set up and was getting ready to yelp when a hen beat me to it. An air-splitting gobble followed.

The gobbler was probably 100 yards away in a thick, nasty creek bottom. The hen was to my right, which meant I was between them. I eased a few yards closer to the gobbler and yelped softly on a slate. He cut me off with a double-gobble, so I readied my gun.

And then the hen yelped again and moved toward the gobbler. The longbeard, in turn, gobbled and moved toward her. I chimed in as much as I could, but I was already a third wheel. Within two minutes, the lovebirds had shut up and moved up the ridge.

No matter. It was close enough to dark that I figured the birds would roost nearby. The next morning, I slipped into where the gobbler had been, found a dandy hide and prepared for action.

Nothing. No gobbling, no drumming, no visuals — zip. The bird couldn’t have been far away, but he obviously wasn’t in the mood to play. I figured I could wait another hour at the setup just in case or try another area. Patience and subtlety are always good choices in Alabama, but I wasn’t so sure that sticking with that setup wasn’t a waste of time.

What would you have done? Post your decision below.

Click here for Lovett's decision.

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Re: Decision Time: Creek-Bottom Combo

Postby TurkeyJohn » November 10th, 2011, 1:05 pm

Hey Brian,

Not sure if the right answer, but hey, 50/50,

I'd stay right where you were as at some point she'd tire of him, either bred or need to feed and she'd leave him and he'd be lovesick to find another "hen". If you were doing soft calling, he may stroll your way for an opportunity.

Not sure, like I think, 50/50, so i'll check your answer now,

Turkey John ;)
Hobby.....Is there anything other than turkey hunting??


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Re: Decision Time: Creek-Bottom Combo

Postby Gobblerman » November 28th, 2011, 5:59 pm

My decision in this case, as in most others, would depend on a bunch of variables. Is this hard-hunted public (or private) land, or is it a lightly-hunted, turkey-rich utopia? How much country do I have to hunt? How many days do I have left to hunt and how many days have I hunted so far? How have the birds been reacting to my standard hunting and calling methods? Have I had some close encounters with vocal and receptive gobblers, or have I reached the point where I know my only hope is to play the conservative waiting game?

Personally, I hunt turkeys to hear them gobble and, hopefully, come to calling with some level of responsiveness. However, that does not always happen, and in some places, I'm sure that it rarely happens. It could well be that the area you were hunting in Alabama is one of those. On the other hand, I absolutely hate hunting turkeys by sitting and waiting on silent gobblers. I have done it, and will do it again when the need arises and I feel I have no other option. ....But I hate hunting gobblers that way.

The bottom line, I suppose, is that if I had hunted the area enough to think that I was not going to strike a responsive bird by moving and calling, I would park my rear end at or near that spot, call softly and sparingly, and hope that the gobbler was in the area and would eventually come to investigate. ....BUT, I really HATE hunting gobblers that way!!


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