The boss gobbler thundered several times before flying down. We couldn’t see it but anxiously awaited its approach. We had taken all the hunting precautions- rising early, sneaking into a known travel route from the roost, having a gobbler decoy staked out, and my best calls at the ready. However, our best-laid plans fell flat, and the tom and his hens took an off-ramp to a distant meadow. We sneaked, crawled, and slithered to within 100 yards of his strutting area, but he wouldn’t budge.
Western turkey hunting is often a cold affair.
Tackle its Aggression-
I’m hunting in South Dakota where a gobbler decoy is often the best allure. The season had been open for two weeks and most toms had been called to or spooked from their roost. Normally, even buggered gobblers will attack another gobbler, yet the old turkey I was after had survived several seasons and wasn’t interested in mating games.
My TenPoint Viper launched at 430 fps and was topped with a Burris Scope
Geared for Quick Shooting
South Dakota has Rio and Merriam subspecies that exhibit similar behaviors. Once they leave the roost they may travel a mile and roam throughout the day. As a result, sedentary Eastern tactics rarely work. I love hunting from a blind, yet the wind frequently blows (Some would say constantly) and fabric flapping in the wind is a deterrent to usually clueless turkeys. The Burris Oracle X allowed me to instantly aim at unknown distances on turkeys that are frequently on the move.
Sevr Titanium heads offer a solid 2-inch cut.
Go for the Body Shot-
If you have followed my turkey hunting posts in recent weeks you know that I’m a big fan of neck shots. However, on moving turkeys at varying ranges where I must hide in natural surroundings I planned to shoot for the vitals, often aiming just above and forward of the legs. Aside from striking the vitals, a hit in this location prevents the turkey from flying and hobbles it for easy retrieval. The blades of Sevr heads nest into the ferrul so they fly very accurately and aren’t affected by the prairie winds.
By late morning most gobblers have bred nearby hens and become easier to call.
Since we knew where the gobbler usually roosted, we returned in mid-afternoon in hopes of ambushing the flock. About an hour before dark, the big tom and three hens showed up at the same spot where I had tried to fan it in the morning. The gobbler strutted and circled for 20 minutes or so before making a beeline for the roost. Again we hoped that the boss tom would fight an intruder, but the big bird would not approach. My best shot was at 50 yards on a moving bird, not an ethical attempt despite my excellent equipment.