Hunting Late Spring Gobblers
As much as it pains me to admit it, turkey season is nearly half over. Although I try to pack as much hunting as possible into the short spring season I always seem to fall just short of enough. Family, work, and the “honey- do list” all need their fair amount of attention, so that essentially leaves me a weekend warrior these days. With that being said there is still some great turkey hunting to look forward to in the coming weeks.
Turkey hunting in the second half of the season is not without its’ challenges. If your game plan remains the same from opening day you may end up picking out your turkey in the frozen food section. But.....If you are willing to adapt your strategy to the changing turkey woods you may just put your tag on your best bird yet.
Once May rolls around the gobblers have been actively breeding for every bit of a month or more. Along with the breeding comes the competition to acquire the rights for such acts. So you can imagine that after all of the romance and fighting that has been going on, some of the toms may just be a little wore out. The heart is willing but the body is weak, so to speak. These wore out gobblers are still interested in your love talk but may need a little more encouragement and patience. It is very important this time of year to wait a little longer after you stop calling before changing set ups. That ole gobbler may be coming in quiet to pay you a visit.
Gobblers also become much more cautious this time of the year. Even without hunting pressure, many gobblers become shy just because they are tired of fighting with other toms or getting beat up by groups of jakes that seem to show confidence in numbers. I have never been an advocate for full strut decoys just because they will scare off subordinate gobblers, but even the jake decoy can be perceived as a threat to a rode hard spring tom. For this reason I only use a hen decoy later in the spring. I am certainly not saying that some gobblers will not display aggression this time of year, because that would just not be true, but if you hunt this time of the year enough you will see a gobbler turn and walk away upon the sight of your jake/tom decoy.
With all of that being said, there is some great upside to hunting this time of year. With more hens sitting on nests there is certainly less competition for your calling. If you find a very vocal gobbler it is quite likely that he is lonely and will respond well to your advances. In addition to this, my personal feeling is that the second half of the season is the best time to take the old boss tom of your timber. The most dominate gobblers will be with the majority of the hens throughout the breeding season, but when there are less hens going to roost the odds for him being alone increase significantly. So if you like long sharp spurred limb hanger gobblers…you’re in luck because he is about to become single. Good Luck and Shoot Straight!