Hunting and Fishing News & Blog Articles
Late-Season Gobblers: It’s The Bottom Of The 9th And Where Are The Gobblers?
Personally, the late season is my favorite time of the wild turkey season. Truthfully, to me, it can be the most reliable time to get the spring season’s best gobbler action.
Opening weekends and the early seasons usually generate the lions share of the hunting activity in the turkey woods. Also, at that time mature spring gobbler populations are at their annual peak and hens and gobblers haven’t been yelped at by hunters for weeks. We call and they answer. But that is short lived.
Plus, in most areas of the country hens are still receptive to a gobbler’s attention. And longbeards can be very responsive to calling because of the change to the gobblers activity.
As the season winds down, hunters have killed many eager gobblers and also spooked and bumped plenty of others.
With increasing hunting pressure, gobblers can turn tight-lipped in a heatbeat. Late season foliage thickens and trees of all sizes green out a little more each day. (That is, unless you are a weekend only hunter and you miss the creap part of the green up.) But one thing up you won’t miss is the arriving flying insects. And for some, as the fishing gets good, their interests change as turkey hunting becomes more difficult, many folks have scratched their turkey itch.
But gobblers still roam the landscape, — and they’re absolutely seeking hens and when possible, breading them. Which has the side effect of increasing their egg production. In fact, as more hens lay their eggs and begin to sit on nests, your chances for striking a hot longbeard increase as the late season ticks away.
Last Season Strategy
In videos I hear it said that turkey hunter strategies don’t vary much late in the season. But that’s not the way I see it. The gobblers make a big change at that time — and so do I.
I go back to established roost areas I know of and set up a pop-up blind on a trail in the area. Preferably a trail close to a river or pond. While the hens are sitting on eggs and then supervising their hatchlings; the gobblers begin walking and gobbling. For example, at roosts along our area’s river I hear gobbles off and on during (1) mid day and (2) afternoon. They are looking for whatever hens want a visit from a gobbler.
I get a few sandwiches, plenty of water, every mouth call I own, a slate and aluminum striker call, some pop-tarts and I go to one of my pop-up blinds and hang out.
It’s possible to see solo gobblers and smallish groups of wild turkeys at this time. Wild turkeys are spread throughout their home ranges by the late season. You don’t usually encounter big wads of hens or roosts with 10 gobblers like you did during early spring.
Ok, back to the matter at hand, start with your best yelper call use it every 30 minutes. Make 2 to 4 yelp sequences. And when you hear a gobbled, near or far off, give him a series of cuts on your best Cutter call. And do every trick you know to bring him on over.
In addition, I use late spring’s dense foliage to slip closer to gobblers — roosted or on the ground. Woods that were barren in mid-April might be lush and green in late May, allowing you to sneak a few critical yards tighter to a longbeard. Just remember that foliage also muffles gobbling somewhat, so turkeys may be closer than you think.
Nothing stifles gobbling and turkey activity like high winds. And warm temperatures! When the mercury tops 80 during sunny spring days, turkeys normally shut up and seek out cool, moist, shady areas to spend the day.
Locate these spots
One last late-season caveats: Know what poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac look like. And stay away from them!