Forget the Gobbler Run and Gun
Dr. John Woods 04.11.18
Ever try to chase a wild turkey down on his turf? As they say, all that running just made you tired and the gobbler kept going over the next hill. Trying to outwit a savvy gobbler is one thing, but attempting to run ahead of a fleeting tom is basically foolhardy.
Back in the day, somehow it got in vogue to run and gun. Simply put, this meant that the hunter tried to I.D. where the gobbler was gobbling from and trying to sprint ahead of his prospective escape path to get in front of him. It’s easier said than done.
A wild turkey gobbler is not smart as some suggest. They are merely paranoid. You know the old saying, “While a white-tailed deer thinks every man is a stump, the wild turkey gobbler thinks every stump is a man.” They just stand around looking and listening 360 for the next think that might eat them. Turkeys do not like wind, rain, falling trees, coyotes, or any other threat. They will run off in a New York second at the least sound or movement or even take flight if the threat is serious enough.
Accordingly, they are hyper sensitive to unusual noises and errant movements. Therein lies the secret to defeating a wild turkey to the roasting pan. The paramount skills for an effective and consistently successful turkey hunter is to be mouse quiet and still at all opportune times.
The classic turkey hunting strategy may be old school, but it still works more often than not, all else being equal. Which things rarely are when it comes to hunting turkeys. There are just too many variables in the process.
The hunter enters a prospective turkey woods at daybreak. He listens intently for gobbling. Then he slowly picks his way toward the roosted bird as close as he dares approach. If the tom is still bellowing out, he/she finds a good sitting spot with the back against a tree wider than the hunter.
A calling spot is carefully picked to not only conceal the hunter as best as possible, but to have as clear a view to potential gobbler approach routes. Once settled in he begins to issue as seductive a series of hen calls. The game is to make the gobbler think you are the hen ready for action.
If everything works out according to the textbook, the gobbler will approach gobbling, strutting, and trying to pinpoint your location. Ideally he enters the open within gun range and a shot concludes the game. And if you think it all happens that easily, then you have never turkey hunting.