Q.: The scenario here in Pennsylvania is this: from about 5:30 a.m. until approx. 6–6:15 a.m. we are hearing quite a bit of gobbling then nothing or very little after that. Can you give me some advice as to what I should be doing or not doing? Thanks for the help.
A.: Thanks for the question Andy. The gobblers are calling on the roost to indicate their location to hens, either in nearby trees or at some distance. Often hens will fly down, walk to the gobbler's tree. He'll then fly down and they'll move off. Situations vary of course with different configurations of birds. So, that accounts for all the gobbling early. The gobbler(s) in your scenario are likely shutting up once they hit the ground since they have real hens alongside. No need for them to gobble: the hens are there with them. What would I do?
(1) Get in real tight to the roost (50 yards or so; less if terrain allows), in the dark, a mouth call in the appropriate position, shotgun on the knee of choice, and a dose of patience. Don't move. Only your eyes. And your finger when you click off the safety, and you pull the trigger on a gobbler after they all fly-down. Better yet, watch exactly where they fly up at night, and be right there in the morning.
(2) As the season progresses, you can expect some of those hens to start nesting. I sometimes mix it up and hunt mid-morning on the chance of catching gobblers alone. You're not doing anything wrong. They're just henned-up.
(3) You can also try to simply call a hen or hens to your position and they might drag a gobbler along with them. Get the boss hen fired up. Mimic her every call. Try it and let us know how you do.
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Realtree turkey hunting editor Steve Hickoff has chased gobblers all over the United States and Mexico. He was born and raised in northcentral Pennsylvania, and now makes his home in Maine. Hickoff was named the NWTF Tom Kelly Communicator of the Year for 2019, a prestigious award reflecting his longtime work promoting hunting and conservation as a turkey hunting writer, editor and book author.