posted by Ron on Apr 12

It’s about 9:30 am on April 12, 2010, and I want to share with you the events of a successful Spring Gobbler hunt that took place this morning in the foothills of North Mountain near Whitacre, VA.

There were three of us hunting this morning;  my son, Curry, his buddy and former Sherando Warrior teammate, Hunter Taylor, and me. Curry and Hunter decided they would hunt one side of the property where they had roosted two birds the night before. Curry is trying to help Hunter get his first Spring Gobbler ever.

I decided to hunt the other side of the property where Curry had previously heard a Gobbler on opening day. He had told me the Gobbler would gobble his head off at a crow call, but hadn’t responded to a turkey call. He also told me that the  bird had lots of hens which I knew would make for a difficult situation.

At daybreak I positioned myself between the top of an oak ridge that had been timbered a couple of years ago and a mature apple orchard. Curry had harvested a nice bird on this same ridge last year and there always seems to be a gobbler at this location most years. I patiently waited for a gobble, but heard nothing.

I moved down the ridge a little further and listened some more….still …nothing. Normally I would have given an owl hoot to try and stir something up, but my owl hooter was somehow misplaced and can’t be found. Curry gave me another to use, but it just doesn’t sound right. If the truth be known, I think Curry has mine!

The apple blossoms are out in full bloom which is really unusual. Everything seems to be about a month ahead, which explains why the Gobblers are with the hens.  I concluded that the gobbler may not be gobbling because he doesn’t have to … he already has plenty of  ladies!  So I decided to just sit down and call.

I hadn’t called more than two or three times when I heard something in the leaves and looked up to see three hens coming right to me. They came to within ten yards and never saw me. They finally moved by me to my right. I waited, hoping to see a gobbler in the woods behind them, but one never materialized.

About 30 minutes or so went by and I began to call again. I was using a  Tom Gaskins call, which I inherited from my Dad many years ago. This is a hollow tube type call that uses a wooden striker. Most people say it doesn’t really sound as authentic as some of the newer designs of today. I would have to agree, but for Spring Gobblers, I’ve found nothing that works better. Gobblers will respond to this call when they won’t to other calls. You can still buy the Tom Gaskins Turkey Call at Cabelas.

When I called this time, a gobbler answered me out to my left and it sounded to me that he was at my elevation.  So I started giving it to him pretty hard, trying my best to sound like the sexiest and horniest hen on the mountain. He gobbled again and was closer… he was coming!

I called some more, laid down the call and got ready. This time he didn’t answer and I knew he was looking for me. I strained hard , trying to see him… trying to hear him in the leaves, but nothing. Ten minutes had gone by and I was getting impatient. I had to call again. So I picked up my call and gave a couple of yelps.

The gobbler gobbled…. right behind me to my left…he was in my lap, not more than 15 yards away. I turned ever so slowly to find him and that’s when all hell broke loose. The hens saw me and went in all directions. I could then see the red headed gobbler behind them and he saw me at exactly the same time and took flight. My first shot missed cleanly and, as I chambered the second round, flashes went through my mind of serious ribbing from Curry and Hunter for letting the big bird get away. The second shot was true, however, and I watched the gobbler tumble to the forest floor. The gobbler weighed in at 18 lbs. , had a ten inch beard and 3/4 inch spurs. It was a fun morning!