Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Gobbler Won't Come
By Steve Hickoff
He’s out there but could care less about your sweet hen yelps. What now?
Do nothing. True, that gobbler might never come. Or another hunter may have also heard that turkey you’ve fired up with your calling. They might move on it and start working the bird, maybe not even realizing you’d been. In other words, you located the gobbler for them. And now you’ve gone quiet only to hear a shot in the general vicinity of “your” bird. Relax. That means you can hunt some more.
Play hard to get. You’re the yelping hen. That gobbler wants you to come to the strut zone. Call in one location then walk away. If the gobbler comes closer but not the full distance, slip back in that direction—or wander to one side or the other. That strutter wants action. Acting like you don’t might just make him break strut and come to you. Another trick is to have one buddy do this as you stay in the original spot. What’s the downside of all this movement? The gobbler might bust you as you move, or work in your buddy’s calling direction (s/he should have a gun).
Go get something to eat. That’s right: order some eggs, grits, bacon—or whatever. If a spring gobbler doesn’t want to play, leave. Sometimes this tactic—playing it cool but with confidence—makes the difference. You might go back to the same location and kill that tough spring gobbler.
Think it out. Don’t know where the turkey roosts? Watch and listen for the gobbler going to roost at fly-up time or use locator calls to pull a shock gobble from it before fly-down. If that gobbler has hung up all day, strutting but not coming, think hard about the strut zone the bird has favored. If you know the land well, and especially where the turkey roosts, be there the next morning, right on the edge of it. Chances are it’s an open area, say a wooded clear-cut or pasture corner.
Give up. Putting your energy into one tough turkey can burn up your season. Sometimes it might be best to find a fresh gobbler to work.