Decision Time: Another Day in Mexico

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: Another Day in Mexico

Postby Brian Lovett » March 28th, 2012, 9:32 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.

Another Day in Mexico

If you go way back to the sixth installment of “Decision Time,” you’ll remember how I shot my first and only Gould’s during a three-day hunt in Sonora, Mexico.

I didn’t care that it had been a tough hunt. I didn’t complain that I felt like I walked from one end of Mexico to the other. And I didn’t mind that my bird was possibly the smallest adult Gould’s gobbler ever recorded. However, I was concerned because a camp-mate hadn’t shot his bird yet, and his hunting options were dwindling.

Let me back up. I shot my gobbler on the third day of the hunt on a small, rocky ranch surrounded by majestic Sierra Madre Occidental peaks. The key to that spot — as it is throughout much of Mexico — was that it held water. Most of the turkeys seemed to be wadded up in one giant breeding flock, but they were always near the old ranch yard and its stock tank.

Actually, after several hours of trying, my guide and I hadn’t done anything with the breeding flock, but we’d yelped in several jakes and my bird, a diminutive 2-year-old. When I shot, the breeding flock erupted from the area near the stock tank and hustled up the mountain. No matter. I was tagged out. But what about my buddy?

Had I been at home, I would have hit another spot the next morning. After all, I’d just killed a bird and boogered the rest to high heaven. But we weren’t at home and, not being intimately familiar with that part of the Sierra Madres, didn’t have many other options. My buddy would have to hope the ranch-yard turkeys weren’t that spooked or try his luck in parts unknown.

Our flight left at 9 a.m., so he only had one shot.

What would you have done? Post your decision below.

Click here for Lovett's decision.

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Re: Decision Time: Another Day in Mexico

Postby dewey » March 28th, 2012, 10:10 am

In my experience you can shoot a turkey and when the others are on high alert give them the lost turkey call, kind of a "Hey I am over here." Heck it worked perfectly for a friend of mine and I last fall. He shot one and then I called the remaining turkeys to me and then I harvested mine. I guess if I had to do it I would sit down by the water because they are going to be on full alert and give them the lost turkey call.

my 2 cents

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." --Mahatma Gandhi

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."--F. Scott Fitzgerald, American writer


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Re: Decision Time: Another Day in Mexico

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » March 28th, 2012, 11:00 pm

If they are limited to areas that they like to come to and your time is short, I'd be right back out there sending them some aggressive talk early the next morning.

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Re: Decision Time: Another Day in Mexico

Postby Cut N Run » March 29th, 2012, 3:50 pm

If there's no more water to be had in the area, your buddy has to hunt near it, especially in a last ditch effort. The turkeys may be more spooky than usual, but they need water to survive.

Luck Counts, good or bad

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Re: Decision Time: Another Day in Mexico

Postby Gobblerman » March 29th, 2012, 8:51 pm

The problem with the situation you describe is not whether the birds will come back to the water because of the shot. They definitely will. It's just a question of whether they will do it in the time your buddy has left to hunt. Having to catch a flight at 9:00 a.m. means that, realistically, he will probably have an hour or two to hunt. Will those birds come to water in the first two hours after daylight? Maybe, but it is by no means a sure bet.

In fact, I have been in the exact same situation,...hunting Goulds on the last morning,...trying to get a bird by hanging out around a water hole. Didn't work on my hunt because the birds were not arriving for their morning drink before about 10:00 a.m. I went home empty-handed that year after passing up several early-hunt birds because I didn't want to end my hunt too early.

Based on my experience then, I would suggest a standard, early-morning roost hunt rather than hoping for the birds to show at the water before you had to leave. Goulds are typically hard-gobblers on the roost, and finding the roost site before dawn the last morning would probably be pretty easy.

So, what I would have done in your case was to hunt the roost at first light with hopes of calling a gobbler in early. If that did not work, I would have moved back to the water hole, set-up, called regularly, and waited them out until it was time to leave.

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