For weeks, that dominant tom has gobbled and the hen or hens came to his position, either to his roost tree or strut zone. Ever notice how many times you raise a gobbler and the hens arrive to intercept him? You started things off and the girl turkeys finished it.
Late in the season, he gobbles and they don’t come to him. Why? They’re nesting, some of them 24/7. Yes, hens leave their nest for a short period of time during the day to feed and do their business. Then they return to the nest. They don’t go to him. The result? You have a deadlock. You call, he gobbles, but doesn’t come. He hangs up. Yes, he may also run right in when they (and you, the caller) fail to appear. That’s the upside of all this. What if he doesn’t?
The answer? Options follow:
GET TIGHT Get tight to his roost tree well before sunrise. Call softly with a no-hands mouth call, if at all, right after he flies down and hits the ground. Clucks and soft yelps may do the trick.
SIT AND WAIT Better yet, if you can nail the hang-up strut zone one day, he might just come to the location the next one, and you’ll be waiting.
FAKE HIM OUT Decoys may or may not pull him in. If he gobbles, and those hen fakes aren't in his location, well then you’re back in a stalemate. Maybe he'll come; maybe not.
WOODSMANSHIP You may just choose to hang out in that area, hoping he crosses your path. Read the land. Pattern the gobbler. For the guy who likes to get a longbeard fired up and bring him in to the calls that may or may not be a hollow victory.
CALL LIKE ONE You can also call like a gobbler (make coarse yelps, roughly three notes long, or gobble, safety considered). During this late transition time gobblers may just want to run with other toms and jakes.
SHOOT LEGAL As this goes, you may even want to find a legal shortbeard somewhere, and fill that tag for the backyard grill. Or not.
Turkey hunting is often challenging, especially late in the game. Enjoy it all. Filling your tag is a bonus. -- By Steve Hickoff
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