The Turkey Hunting Obsession
Besides being a passionate bowhunter, I'm just as passionate and devoted to spring turkey hunting. Bowhunting is fun, but by nature it's stealthy business. Avoiding detection by a whitetail's nose is always the first order of business when hunting deer but fortunately for us turkey devotees, a turkey can't smell. Someone once said if a turkey could smell like a deer, you'd never kill one.
What I really love about hunting turkeys is the interaction between me and the bird. He gobbles, I answer. He shuts up and it causes me worry. Did he lose interest? Is he just standing in place waiting for the "hen" he heard to come to him? Is he coming in silently? How long do I have to sit here with nothing happening? If I move, will I spook him? It seems like a million things have to be evaluated before a decision is reached. Sometimes the tom will let a hunter know he's walking away by gobbling in an ever-decreasing volume. In that case, I move from my spot of concealment and try to get in front of him. Someone once said you can never call a big tom back to the place he was and I believe it. Call from a place he wants to be and you have a chance of killing him.
Back in the early 1970s turkey-hunting legend Ben Rogers Lee said, "I love coming to New York and Pennsylvania to hunt turkeys. The birds gobble all day." He was right. Back when New York first had a turkey season there weren't nearly the number of turkeys there are now so it was nothing to hear gobbling all morning long as toms attempted to attract a hen. Not anymore. Now, it seems, all a tom has to do is to sit in a tree and wait for the hens to come to him. It's maddening not hearing a gobble on mornings when every turkey on the planet should be gobbling. I may be disappointed but, rest assured, I'll be there every morning before the crack of dawn just in case a tom suddenly finds himself alone. I won't quit unless I walk out with one slung over my shoulder or when the season ends. That's what compulsive turkey hunters do.