Outdoors Shelby County: Mid-season turkey report

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Most turkey hunters across the state and here in Shelby County are experiencing the same scenario on virtually every hunt this season to date. The turkeys began to gobble in the tree well before or right at first light.

They continue to gobble in the tree until they finally fly down. Then they shut up. You might get them to gobble again after a yelp and a few clucks but, the hens take not only their breath away but their big feathered body as well.

As many spring turkey seasons go, this is normally the way the year begins. Don&8217;t get me wrong, there are plenty of hunters that bag big toms this time of the year. However, when the gobblers get &8220;hened-up&8221;, that is when turkey hunting gets extremely frustrating.

Over the last two weeks, the toms have been courting hens and keeping them close. They may stray away to a call just for a listen to your calling only to quickly return to the harem.

Another situation is where the tom waits in his roost tree until all of the hens have flown down and then he makes his grand appearance with a wing-whipping flight to the ground next to the hens.

There is a solution to this problem and many Shelby County hunters have found it.

The gobblers are moving to open areas such as green fields, road beds and clear cut areas to show off for the hens and breed.

By doing a little homework by scouting and looking for signs of the birds moving in and out of these areas, a hunter can set up and wait.

With the help of one or even two hen decoys and some soft confidence calling, the turkey will make their appearance.

Coach Larry Ladner is an avid turkey hunter and one of the first men to ever make an audio teaching technique on how to call turkeys explains that when the turkeys move to a field or open area, the boss tom will try to gather all of the hens he can.

&8220;The boss tom is greedy and will leave his hens if you have a hen decoy placed facing you in the field&8221;, explains Ladner.

&8220;This is like deer hunting this time of the season because you do an awful amount of waiting, watching and listening&8221;, says Ladner.

&8220;The time is coming where the gobblers will have bred almost all of the hens they have and will be looking for more. You want that more to be you&8221;, laughs the coach.

Coach Ladner stated that the last two weeks of the season here in Shelby County would be very good.

&8220;These gobblers will be looking for new hens very soon and that&8217;s when it gets really exciting, so get ready.&8221;