The sounds of spring and the blooming of trees is in full effect, but there is one particular sound that brings music to a turkey hunter’s ear. The sound of a gobbler’s gobble echoing through the woods on opening morning as he sits high above on the roost. I look forward to this time of year, as the challenge awaits. I have high hopes of successfully bringing in a gobbler strutting and gobbling.
It’s the eve of opening day for Florida’s Spring Gobbler Season, which means a sleepless night filled with excitement. Tossing and turning, I find myself visualizing and strategizing how I will get the job done. What calls to use, sequences, cadence, and what plan B or C may be. Successful scouting on my Trek Mountain Bike the week prior allows me to locate three mature gobblers. So close to guaranteed success, that is, if my calling is on que and God is on my side.
I am set up behind my GhostBlind Runner with my video camera and my array of go-to turkey calls. As the sun begins to break and the Robins begin sounding off, I am anticipating the first gobble. I got set up extra early not knowing exactly where the gobblers were roosted, but I knew they would be within 100 yards or so. The first owl sounds off and bam, three gobblers start gobbling. I wait a few minutes and hit a fly down cackle to let the gobblers know my decoy hens were already on the ground. Right alongside the two hen decoys is a Jake decoy I have in half strut.
It was an unusually cold morning for us in Florida with the lows in the upper 30’s. I could hear birds leaving the roost but all I was seeing were hens. The gobblers didn’t make a sound once they left the roost. At this point, I am thinking they are going to come in silent, which doesn’t always make great video. I had a group of 20 hens come in including an eight inch bearded hen I had seen a year ago. Bearded hens are legal to take in Florida, but I would much rather harvest a gobbler and beat him at his own game. I sat there quietly and very still letting all the live decoys feed around my decoys. About an hour goes by and they slowly feed off one by one but sticking together as a flock.
I am thinking to myself, where did these gobblers go. Just as the hens start to ease out of site, straight out in front of me comes the three gobblers altogether. I hit a few clucks and yelps to let them know I was there. They looked my way but were focused in on the flock of hens. The first call I reached for next was my gobble call. I knew for sure that would get their attention.
Just as I hit the gobble call, they all three answer me back with a gobble and commit towards my decoys. I focus the camers in on my decoys and wait. The last one, bigger than the other two, finally comes into the view of the camera. I hit one yelp for him to raise his head and squeezed off on my Remington 12 gauge. Turkey tag number 1 of the season was riding upside down over my shoulder. Thanks to the gobble call of a less dominant bird! Hunt Strong
Davie “Crockett” Ferraro