Turkey Hunting Tips and Trick: How To Hunt Late Season Gobblers Successfully
What You Need To Know For Late Season Gobblers
With turkey season coming to a close in some of the states, hunters are either finishing up tags or becoming frustrated with old birds that always fool them. This turkey blog will outline methods for changing up your tactics to bag that trophy late season gobbler.
Scared, Mature Turkey's.......Now What?
Gobbling Tom Late Season (Photo Credit: Southeast Missourian)
As the season winds down the birds have been called to, pressured, scared, shot at, and downright abused in areas that have a large hunter presence. In other areas, you may have birds that have not had as much pressure and are easier to hunt. In a recent article by NWTF about the frequency of birds gobbling it was stated that as a bird gets older he will gobble less often. This works the same within a single season, but then again its always about right bird right day. The pressured birds will often gobble in a safe area such as the roost or the middle of a field making it difficult to get to them. These turkeys will gobble to bring hens to them instead of going out and looking for them. You can set up and call to them but sometimes they just will not commit. There are several methods for bagging a bird like this. Wait it out and call every 30 mins until he commits, reap him, motion decoys, different styles of turkey calls, and moving locations sometimes will help.
Turkey Reaping Late Season Gobblers (Photo Credit: Outdoors Channel)
Reaping is a method of turkey hunting in which the hunter hides behind a strutter decoy such as the Primos Killer B or Mojo Tail Chaser and sometimes even a real turkey fan works. The hunter can crawl towards the bird that will not commit without spooking it. Sometimes the bird will come looking for a fight which can create some close encounters, while other times the bird will move in the other direction. If the Gobbler has been dominated in a fight recently he may be scared of the full strutter. More times then not he may know it's not a real turkey and bolt away. Either way, it will not work every time. This is a very dangerous way to hunt turkeys and should not be used on public land.
This Realistic Motion Decoys From Dave Smith Turkeys
Another tactic for tricking late-season gobblers is motion decoys and little or no calling. Hens, jakes, or strutters that spin and move their fans. Sometimes if the old boss gobbler sees movement he will commit easier and without worry. By the end of the season, birds have been called to a lot and may not trust a hen call. Call quietly and less often and you will be surprised how many old birds will come in silent. Sometimes with a motion decoy, all it takes is a single cluck to get their attention than a little bit of motion.
Late season birds will respond differently to different calling that they have not heard. For example, gobbling will bring the old birds in looking for a fight. A Jake yelp or gobbler yelp can give older birds confidence especially when they regroup after all the hens are bred. A soft whine in the thick cover can get that bird to hop that tree or walk around that bush clearing the way for a shot. Sometimes it takes the right call at the right time to get that bird in the freezer but be careful, calling too much can also make them weary.
Jakes In Search Of Hens
During the spring there is a Marko Polo game going on with the birds. Hens trying to find gobblers, and gobblers trying to find hens. Sometimes, the hen will move away from or towards the gobbler. Don't be afraid to move back on a hung up bird and act like the hen is leaving him. If your hunting in a pair leave your buddy where he's at and move back and call. This will get the bird within range sometimes. Lateral moves work sometimes due to obstructions in the bird's path, and also moves towards the gobbler. If you decide to move forward, be sure you know exactly where he is or you will scare him off. Turkeys have incredible eyesight.
My least favorite but effective tactic for turkey hunting is hunting them like deer. The sit and wait approach on a trail, firebreak, or favorite roost tree. The sit and wait method is sometimes successful but for me, it defeats the whole reason I hunt them. So next time you have that old bird hung up just out of range or just out of sight try one of these methods and you may just bag that bird of a lifetime.
I have heard a lot of people call turkeys smart and I used to agree with them. However, from my experiences, I would have to call them weary and not smart. I have seen turkeys do some very unintelligent things but as a bird gets older and has more experiences of near death they get more wary of the situation at hand. If you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear about your late season gobblers experiences. Send us any pictures you get this turkey season to be featured on our social media pages. We hope you will read this article to help jump-start your quest for ultimate late season gobblers.