Some Pennsylvania gobblers disregard blogger’s prior observations
Sometimes, scrutiny and examination of a subject that led to a reliable opinion on that topic, is quickly proven questionable at best, when the reverse of actions one considered normal become evident.
Such is the case of my past post that highlighted the reduced calls of wild turkeys in the spring, because spending a first-week of spring gobbler season in upstate Pennsylvania provided areas where the turkeys were “talking their heads-off.”
A relaxing and entertaining 10-day stay at camp, which ended late last week, furnished both rackety and silent moments in the woods where wild turkeys live. The fishing wasn’t bad either.
The opening morning was without a gobble. By 8:30 I had numerous deer walk past my spot, and just about all were sporting a new starting point growth of antlers. About a half hour later as I rested against a large hemlock base, a loud cluck sounded from behind. The call startled me, but I sat still for fear of my peaking around the hemlock would only spook the bird.
I knew it was looking for the turkey that had been calling occasionally, which of course were my pleading imitations. The clucks repeated. I remained still and silent, but I knew the bird was on the move when the clucking started shifting away.
When I was sure the bird was far enough away, I reversed my position and called once more. No success with that maneuverer.
Monday was quiet also, perhaps due to heavy drizzle and thick fog. But Tuesday was different. I accompanied a friend to a different location. He had harvested a jake the first morning at this spot, and heard other birds. A clear sky, with no wind, made that day’s start perfect.
The first spot was silent. After a half hour, we moved toward the place where my friend had shot the jake. On the way there a gobble rang out down a sidehill. The friend said to move on to where we were headed, knowing if nothing happened there, we could return to try and tempt this bird.
At this next place there was no response to our calling, but my friend was able to show me the spot where he downed the young male. We moved to a large field edge, placed a decoy in the short grass, and found trees to sit against. We sat about 40 yards apart, myself at the edge of the field, my friend moving back into the woods. We would both occasionally call.
A half hour later a gobble sounded across the long width of the field. Within minutes a turkey walked into the field and went directly to strut. Through clucks and purrs, he headed straight toward the decoy, with me on my butt directly hidden behind the fake.
He was about 90 yards out when a powerful and deep sounding gobble rang out from the woods to my right. The bird heading toward me went quickly out of his blueish head color, turned, and headed in the opposite direction from where the strong gobble came.
Soon two jakes sporting about 5-inch beards, entered the field from where the strong gobble came, but I knew these two hadn’t made that call. As they moved farther into the field, they would gobble when —what I assumed to be a “boss bird” — would gobble. The boss never entered the field, but he came close to my spot at times, although thickened brush never allowed my to see him.
I could never get the jakes close enough to shoot, and although the shared calling of myself and the companion behind me kept the boss bird yelling away, it all ended with the young guys losing interest —or perhaps, gaining fear of the thundering gobbles — the field, and the master beside me going silent.
For over an hour I’m sure, I heard over a hundred gobbles while sitting next to that field, proving that some spots the turkeys living there sure are not concerned with the presence of coyotes. That remained the best day of my week of hunting.
I cannot dismiss the effect of coyotes on turkey calling though, as another friend heard a roosted gobbler the first morning, but the bird then moved quickly away. He did, however, catch glimpses of two coyotes that seemed interested in his calling.
As for the fishing during my stay, I’ll tease a bit by mentioning big March browns emerging and staying on top of cold water, only to be whacked by hungry trout.