Tips on Turkey Hunting — #17: IMPATIENCE
Impatience. It's often the reason we kick ourselves on a failed turkey hunt. Let me tell you about the four-hour gobbler.
One spring morning I was working a gobbler that refused to come the last few steps where he would crest the hill and come into view. He couldn't have been more than 40 yards away, gobbling regularly, but refusing to budge.
I threw every call I had at him. I yelped. I clucked. I purred. I used a diaphragm, a box, and a slate. No matter what I did, he would not come. I scratched the leaves with my fingers. He gobbled, but stood his ground. When I went silent—so did he. When I would call again, he would respond from the exact same spot. This frustrating contest went on for four hours. I could have gone home and watched "Dances with Wolves" in the hours I danced that that gobbler. He tested my patience to the limit.
Finally another gobbler sounded off, behind me and down over the hill. I craned my neck to see him over my right shoulder. The timber was open in that direction and I spotted him about 100 yards away and closing. What should I do?
My patience had run out with that four-hour gobbler, so I slowly eased myself to my knees and performed a classic wrestling sit-out move to the opposite side of the tree where I could begin working the other gobbler. That was the moment the four-hour gobbler decided to show up. My ever-so-cautious move frightened the wits out of him, and he flew out over the treetops on the steep side hill. The newcomer gobbler shut right up and disappeared.
I suppose my thought process was crippled by the frustration I was feeling, but in retrospect I should have realized that the four-hour gobbler heard the newcomer, too. The fear that another gobbler might take the hen probably prompted him to come closer. My impatience was the reason I didn't get to carry that gobbler home. The lesson is, hang in there.
I’ll be posting more “Tips on Turkey Hunting” as often as I can until the end of May. I don’t claim to be the best turkey hunter around, but I’ll share what I know. It might be helpful to those who pursue America’s greatest game bird. While you're at it, check out my gobbler-killin' Northern Scratchbox turkey call at EverydayHunter.com/turkey-call. It's full of deadly sounds.