Turkey Hunting | Tips For Hunting High Noon Gobblers
April 5th, 2016 |
Turkey Hunting Tips and Tactics | Mid-day Longbeards
There is certainly nothing better in the spring turkey woods than having that long beard scouted, and pinned down. With the perfect turkey hunting strategy in place, you are set up perfectly to have the gobbler on the ground in time for bacon and eggs. While it is always nice to have the perfect set to intercept that big ole’ gobbler right off the roost, all too often success comes a little later in the day. Midday gobblers can be both challenging and rewarding to pursue. At times these birds can be “darn right hard to handle”, but luckily there are a few things that you can to do level the playing field and put yourself in the best possible position to be successful with a stubborn mid-day long beard.
Mid-day long beards can challenge even the most skilled and seasoned turkey hunters. There are many reasons these birds can be such difficult adversaries. One of the reasons turkey hunters can find these turkeys so challenging is simply the fact that gobblers tend to be less vocal during the mid-day hours than they are first thing in the morning or closer to the evening hours. Additionally, the motive (or lack of) behind being less vocal during this time is simply the fact that they have found their hens, and really have no need to vocalize. For many turkey hunters, these two factors alone can be a deal breaker and have them heading to the Chevy early. While it may seem like all hope is lost, these birds are still very pursuable if you know how to hunt them.
Hunt the Turkey, Not the Gobble
Non-gobbling turkeys are the number one reason turkey hunters pack it in early every spring. For some reason, many turkey hunters tend to believe that if there are no turkeys gobbling, there must not be any around. That assumption could not be further from the truth. Turkeys are wild animals, and will sometimes, not always, “read the script” so to speak. They may not always behave or react the same way in every situation. So in short, just because a bird doesn’t gobble, doesn’t mean they are not there.
Doing your homework and scouting prior to the season is a critical piece of being successful on mid-day gobblers. It is important to understand a turkey’s behavior and how they react throughout the day. That information is far more important in terms of being successful than showing up to a farm cold, and heading to the first gobble. While the latter can be successful, in a situation where the birds are not gobbling you are really left to rely on what you know in terms of the habitats and routines of the birds in the area. If there not gobbling and you have not done your homework ahead of time this can certainly prove to be difficult. If you do happen to find yourself on a new piece of property with some non-gobbling turkeys, just remember to hunt the turkey not the gobble. Looking for sign, such as dusting areas or gobbler scat can help guide you to a good location for a set up. Look for areas where you can see a great distance, and where your calling can carry. Having a good vantage point for both visibility and being vocal can certainly help you in this situation.
This is also a great situation where you can do a little running and gunning, trying to strike a long beard with some excited hen yelps and cuts as well as utilizing a locater call such as pileated woodpecker or crow call. If that happens to fail, just rely on your best instincts and remember to look for good areas where you can spend some time and do some trolling. It just might pay off.
Do Be Afraid to Spend the Time
Non-gobbling turkeys both right of the roost and during the mid-day hours can be a very defeating thing. It can be tough to muster up the determination and focus it takes to actually spend the time that it can take to kill a high noon gobbler. That being said, more mid-days have taken a dirt naps simply because the turkey hunters pursuing them find it themselves to post up and stick it out for the long haul.
From 9 a.m. to noon can be an excellent time to put a bead on the big red, white, and blue noggin of a mid-day gobbler, here are a couple of reasons why. If you find yourself unsuccessful right off the roost, there is a very good chance that the birds you are chasing of found exactly what they are looking for, and that’s their lady friends. While it can be very discouraging there are some benefits here. Later in day, those love sick long beards from the morning will have most likely handled their business. Once a hen is bred, they will typically leave the gobbler in search of nesting locations, potentially leaving that ole’ boy all alone and looking.
While most turkey hunters might be picking up and heading out, others are digging in and preparing to wait the birds out. This strategy is commonly over looked, over thought, and underutilized. If you find yourself in area where there are commonly long beards, regardless if they are gobbling on the limb or not, it can pay huge dividends to hang out and plan to spend some significant time. That is not to say that you shouldn’t move if you feel you can make a play on a long beard, however, if you have done your homework and know that you are in an area where birds frequent then you should plan to stick it our regardless of what happened right off the limb.
These birds might come in silent, one might simply come strolling through and all of sudden you may have your ear drums blown out as they come in gobbling heads off out of nowhere. Once thing is for sure, if a gobbler responds to your calling right off the roost, whether they head your way or not there is very chance they will remember that they heard a love sick hen and can come looking after they have handled what they needed to handle. So do not lose faith, and plan to stick it out.
Striking a Gobble
While waiting out a stubborn, non-responsive long beard can be extremely effective in putting a gobbler on the ground, for some turkey hunters, that’s just not their style. Running and gunning can be an effective mid-day strategy. This simply put, is a method of covering a lot of ground in the hope of locating a gobbling turkey. This may be a bird that is all alone and can easily be convinced to come in or it could be a boss gobbler that has his hens and is just feeling frisky.
Striking a gobble on a mid-day turkey depends both the turkey hunter and the turkey. There are some birds that may not gobble regardless of what you toss their way, while others can be more easily provoked. The trick with striking a mid-day gobble from otherwise quite tom really is frequency and repetition. Typically high pitched calls, whether it is a locater call or a hen cutter, can usually get the job done. The trick that some may over look in terms of technique for striking a mid-day gobble is persistence. Many will give up and move on to another location before giving the bird a chance to respond. Sometimes it can take a mid-day bird a minuet to warm up. Give it a good five to ten minutes before moving on to ensure there is a love sick bird close.
Mid-day gobblers are challenging, there is no question about that. That being said, it is a challenge through persistence and perseverance can be overcome with success. The next time you find yourself facing the challenge of non-gobbling turkeys, just remember to rely on your scouting and hunt the turkey not the gobbler. Plan to spend some time in the pop up blind and settle in for the day. You just might be surprised at what can happen when hunting those mid-day gobblers.