An elusive and frustrating game bird if there ever was one, the wild turkey can challenge even the most ardent hunter’s mettle. With excellent eye sight and the ability to elude all manners of prey a hunters best chances at bagging one typically coincides with the spring mating season. Driven by the urge to mate, the male of the species is particular susceptible to the soft putts and chirps of the mating hens. It is this factor that provides so many of the thrilling encounters between big boss toms and the area hunters that pursue them. Nothing sends pulses racing like the sound of nearby gobble in response to a few delicate circles drawn on a piece of slate or, the high-pitched shrill of diaphragm reed blown just right.
The conditions this spring are better than usual with cool weather and precipitation more prevalent than past springs. The long winter has kept much of the spring growth to a minimum as well. And, the rain brings many early season birds out into the open fields. The cooler temperatures also help keep many of the insects and uncomfortably muggy hunting conditions at bay.
With bright red heads bobbing and thick coarse tufts of hair protruding from the center of their “puffed up” breast feathers, toms are actually advertising themselves and looking to make an impression. Scouting fields just before the evening roost will tell exactly where the birds are working and more often than not will tell you exactly where they’ll be the next morning. Utilize decoys, both hens and jakes, along with some soft calls to bring that trophy tom into range. Remaining hidden and still those last few yards of his approach will be the hardest part. Then, a deep breath and gentle squeeze of the trigger on your favorite shotgun with the sighted centered just below the turkey’s head is all it takes.