I've run into alot of things in the turkey woods that makes a particular flock of birds tough to hunt. One of the oddest situations I have faced was unveiled to me on a small postage stamp sized piece of property this year at Southbound Outfitters. To many gobblers! How can that be a problem? Read on..
Brb and myself had spent 6 days huting this turkey infested piece of ground suprisingly with little success to show. Early on Reeves and Lefteye guided a wisconsin hunter who took a jake ( the only jake we ever saw on the place). BRB and myself however kept setting up and watching the options of fly down routes, mid day hangouts, and travel patterns of these birds unfold. The options were pretty numerous, multiple roost sites, several prime undisturbed and out of bounds strutting areas and one main group of hens that seemed to all be attracted to this guy.
This tom was king on this particular property. He had staked out the primest roost on a high point pretty much dead center of the section we were hunting. Our access included 1/3 of this section and he basically speaking never set foot on our ground after opening day. Each morning he would fly down with his hens and drag em all into this abandoned farm yard and strut all day for every hen on the property. In thinking back and counting hen sightings, theres no doubt in my mind he was holding nearly ALL the hens on the property, all other gobblers were just kicked to the curb and therein lies the problem. Once our hunter knocked down the other dominant bird that was pulling hens into our hunting ground each eveing the other tom had all the action on his roost out of bounds
This situation left a pile ( 12-15 longbeards ) hanging around with nothing to do. A seemed heyday for would be turkey killers. Not the case, these other toms prefferred to spend their days wadded up in groups strutting for each other and basically speaking ignoring the spring thing all together. So many toms so few hens, end result some of the toms just simply dont participate in the breeding. You get a few short minutes am and pm to convince a gobbler that today is his lucky day and he can score a hen. Moments after fly down they are ganged up gobbler tight and headed out of bounds to strut for each other all day in a gay parade.
Our tactics had been whittled down to a few methods, get super tight on a roosted bird and knock his block off when he hits the ground, catch em heading back to roost in the eve, or bust em all off the roost in the eve and catch them trying to get back together in the am. We used all methods with success in the first six days but none of them came easy. Brb and I put our Wisonsin hunters on the gobblers a few times and managed to squeek out one of the other toms that seemed to be in the spring thing just moments after his feet hit the ground. Mark captialized on our roosting pattern and scored himself a nice tom on his way back to roost. Two days later after a flock busting in the eve we pulled another into the gun for Dave Skinner. In fact this was the first real call in of the season on that property. The rest of the hunting had relied mainly on being where the birds were heading and cutting them off. They just didnt want to travel out of their way at all to a turkey call. When they did they inevitably ran into another turkey along the way and the game would close quickly.
Again you would think that with all these turkeys on a section of land many being mature toms birds would be flopping everywhere. Not so.To many toms and not enough hens was proving to be a tougher than usual hunting scenario.
After spending the first week taking folks out and trying to tumble a tom, I got a very much welcomed chance to just go hunt. I had the video camera with me and everything I needed to catch the hunt on tape if the birds would cooperate. We arrived at our parking spot a little late and I made a dash for the other end of the property leaving BRB and Skinner at the car. When I got to the spot that BRB and Skinner were going to hunt I hear the first bird gobble. He's over the hill on the creek on the other side! Not entirely good cause getting across the creek isnt really an option and the trip around will take me at least 20 minutes. Twenty minutes with these turkeys might as well be a half day cause in twenty minutes they will be off the property. So I double time it over the hill and ease over the rise . When i come to the high creek bank I see the tom roosted on the point in the creek right over a large inner corner sandbar. A smile wrinkled its way onto my face right then cause I knew having seen him do it before he was going to fly right down on that sandbar and gobble his gang right to him. I took to creeping down the bank to a tree right out on the point. I was losing low light fast and was very much relieved when i just plopped myself down at the tree. I knew right then I was good to go, at least one gobbler was going down this am.
So here I am in position with a bird 80 yards in front of me and his obvious landing spot 25 yards dead in front of the barrel. I start thinking about whether I can slip the camera out of my pack when to my left 75 yards another tom gobbles. Forget that I can see him now plain as day and if he thought about it much he could very well pick me off. I decided today no camera, I am killing these birds.
As the next few minutes went by each time the point tom would gobble another unseen tom would reveal itself by joining in. All in all before the first bird had flown down 9 longbeards had sounded off 5 in front of me on the other side of the creek and four to my left and right on the very bank I was sitting on. I was pretty well surrounded and entirely confident this was my hunt to have in Oklahoma.
Picking from a grab bag of diaphragms in my vest I came up with a LRGC diaphragm that Skinner had handed me the night before. It was the only call I had that didnt need breaking and in my rush I hadnt loosened up any of my favorites on the way to the hunt. I slipped it in and made my first three clucks. Needless to say I was the center of attention right then and there. All the toms gobbled and three soft yelps later the lefthand tom, a two year old upstart with an attitude pitched right down in front of my gun barrel at 25 yards. He started strutting towards the right. The only problem with him is he really wasn't the bird I wanted. Having had the point bird up close several times he was the bird of the day for me but he was still on the limb 80 yards out.
I sat and thought about it for a minute, take the two year old or wait. I waited in my thinking long enough for the target bird to become annoyed at the two year old strutting his ground. He pitched down to the right of him. Problem is he pitched down and strutted hard right behind the only limb I had in between me and 70 yards of sandbar.
You can see in the picture the overhanging limbs that somewhat block the righthand side of the sandbar. This is what made me pick the bird in the hand over the bird in the bush. The tom was roosted in the dead tree you see just left and behind where I am sitting with my birds. A couple mornings prior Brad and i had watched this same group of toms pitch down and strut right where I am sitting
I decided to take the two year old and be happy. I dropped him into a quivering flop with Marks Mossy. Getting my composure back after the recoil I look at the other tom and hes just standing there at 35 yards now clear of the limb. Well if your gonna just give it to me I guess I'll take it. Wham he went down into a serious flop. Just like that less than 10 minutes from hearing the tom gobble to all done in OK. It was definately a gift of a hunt.