Triumph in the turkey woods...

In spite of the unpredictability of wild turkeys, contemporary hunters still manage to succeed.

Of all the different groups of hunters, from deer hunters to duck hunters, rabbit chasers, and upland bird disciples, maybe none are as opinionated and hard headed as turkey hunters. I think they get this way from the nature of the bird that we pursue, but that is another rant for another day. The point here is that turkey hunters believe what they believe and good luck getting them to change their mind, and don’t confuse them with facts.

Now I am fully aware there are some of you in the great wide world that if I say black, you are going to say white…that is just the nature of some turkey hunters out there and that is OK.

 But I really think there will not be much argument if I say that turkeys and turkey hunting is different these days. By “these days” let’s say different from ten years ago, and most certainly from twenty years ago. How are things different? Well, I am so glad you asked!

Turkeys don’t act like they used to. Anyone over the age of 45 may be known for talking about “the way it used to be”. This goes double for many hunters and triple for turkey hunters. Things were different in the past, and we want everyone to know about it, it’s human nature. Having said that I don’t think many turkey hunters today would argue that today’s turkeys act a lot different.

I hear from hunters over much of the country who say the same thing: turkeys don’t gobble near as much as they used to. They don’t gobble as much on the roost and they don’t gobble as much on the ground.


Well, my friends if we really knew that, we would know a lot. I have said for a long time that coyotes have to play a part in this, when a turkey gobbles on the roost, then flies down and gobbles on the ground if he is often attacked by a coyote then this gobbler is going to soon learn not to make so much noise on the ground. I’m not a wildlife biologist, but this makes sense and I have heard it from hunters in other states for many years.

 Also, turkeys do not gobble as early in the morning like they did years ago. It was not unusual for a gobbler to be sounding off in the pitch dark, long before any hint of sunrise or any tweety birds started to sing. Why would that be? I really don’t know, is it the making too much noise thing and attracting the attention of predators? I wish I knew, but I haven’t heard a turkey gobble really early like that for years.

In the same vein I have not heard a turkey gobble on the roost in the evening very much for a long time. In fact, I have just about given up roosting turkeys in the evening. This used to be a very common activity for us, go out before dark, locate a gobbler on the roost, “put him to bed” and be there the next morning. I can’t remember the last time I did this.

Do you think turkey hunting has changed much? Let me know where you are on this. I have to get to bed so I can get up in the ghastly pre-dawn hours to go see if turkeys still gobble sometimes, I am beginning to wonder!

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