Today is the opening day of Missouri shotgun turkey season. I learned that from the morning TV news. In past years I would have scouted, at least by listening, and would have had a pretty good idea where several gobblers roosted and which way they normally went when they flew down.
But just when you think you’ve got a gobbler figured out he will change his routine.
It’s normal for a gobbler to roost a mile or two or three from his strutting ground.
I used that to my advantage on a gobbler I was seeing in a field on the west side of a highway. Somehow I figured out that he crossed the highway every night and went long ways east to roost in thorn trees. I set up my hen decoy on the east side of an old tractor trail through the woods and cut out a blind for me in a cluster of small thorn trees close to a half mile from where he like to strut. The only shot I would have without hooking my camo on the thorns was to my decoy which was about 25 yards away.
Come daylight the gobbler was right where I wanted him to be east of me a long ways. I never made a peep on my turkey calls I always carry. After about an hour, the strutting gobbler silently approached my decoy. I let him get in position for a clear side shot at his head and neck. I carried him a half mile and gave him a ride home with me.
Another time, I knew where the gobbler was roosting and got between him and the field where he liked to strut.
Only problem, he’d gobble a while on the roost then fly over my small peninsula of trees and land way out in the field where he’d call the hens to him. I had to think about that one.
The farmer had left a round bale or two at the edge of the old brushy road that ran all the way across the end of the field and to the timber. I put my hen decoy a few feet from the first round bale and hid behind the next one.
Come daylight, the gobbler opened up in his usual spot. I kept quiet. He flew down on my side of the trees but a long ways from my hiding spot. A hen, evidently with the gobbler, saw my decoy and raised quite a ruckus. She crossed the fence row/road and was traveling away from me but I kept quiet.
After several minutes she came back to the fence row and out into the hayfield. I could tell from her chatter.
The gobbler followed her and when he saw my decoy he came in a dead run. I let him get well in range then put two ounces of No. 6 Heavy Shot in his head and neck. He also gave him a free ride home with me.
I only got one bird that season but I felt like I had outwitted an elusive bird.
That won’t happen this year. Can’t walk without my walker and not that far. KL