Despite being a tough season, I can't complain too much as I was able to fill 3 of my tags. Unfortunately, the inconsiderate person in charge of creating my exam schedule did not take into account turkey season. Thanks to them, I spent the last two weeks of turkey season studying and taking exams instead of chasing lockjaw gobblers.

My main competition this spring was "hit squad" jakes. These groups of 4-5 jakes are the equivelant of the mafia in the turkey world. Every piece of our property was crawling with a squad just waiting to run off a gobbler. Among other things, this lead to gobblers gobbling less and being much more secretive about their locations. I found myself patterning the gobblers like whitetails and having to ambush them instead of calling to them. This season tested my patience as well as my woodsmanship. I welcomed the challenge.

It was hot, they weren't gobbling, they weren't coming to or responding to calls, they were henned up, etc. But they were still there...and still killable. My need to adapt and adopt different hunting strategies made me a better hunter. If it isn't challenging, I wouldn't love it as much as I do.

I spent the majority of my time guiding for my wife, father, and brother-in-law. This resulted in 3 shots fired and 0 turkeys- but we had fun anyways.

When gobblers are hard to come by in seasons such as this, I cannot stress how important it is to be in tune with your surroundings. Two of the birds I killed were located the old fashion way: I heard them stratching in the leaves. On our property, we have several roads and logging roads that allow me to sneak around undetected. I was doing a little runnin and gunnin around noon when I heard my second bird. It was windy and I knew birds would likely head towards a hollar on the leeward side of the mountain. As I was nearing a logging bench adjacent to the hollar, I heard what sounded like a turkey scratching below the bench. After sitting down beside a tree overlooking the bench, I let out a few soft clucks and yelps on my mouth call. Nothing. I waited a moment and let out a slightly louder yelp. Booyah- he gobbled not 50 yards away. He seemed to like the soft calling so I continued with it until I layed him to rest 15 yards away. Good thing I didn't carelessly approach the area and let out a thundering series of yelps and cutts with a box call.

I killed the two other birds without making a peep. I ambushed one while he was scratching in the woods and the other while he was feeding and following a hen in the field. Nothing glorious about either kill- but satisfying none the less.

The gear I used:

Modified Ol' Tom Essentials Vest: Best vest I've used thus far. Very lightweight and tight to the body. I was able to sneak and crawl with ease.

Hooks Mouth Calls: Best mouth calls I've used hands down. Incredible volume with very little air. I was shocked at the amount of turkeys I was able to locate with these calls.

Lights Out Aluminum/Copper/Slate Pot Call: I'm a huge fan of these calls. Excellent craftsmanship and sound. The aluminum and copper are flat out killers. The aluminum is a known killer, but his new copper matched with an osage orange striker is ruthless. His slate call is also outstanding. When matched with a pecan or black locust striker, you would be hard pressed to find a sweeter talking call.

Core4Element Switchback Pant: Best warm weather hunting pant I've ever used. I need very durable pants when hunting these mountains and these pants excelled. A little pricey, but I don't mind paying for quality.

I also never leave the truck without a small, double-sided box call. This year I went with one from Rocky Top Game Calls and was very pleased with its sound and versatility.

I'm also a big fan of plain aluminum pot calls. Zink's Thunder Ridge aluminum and Enticer's Silver Fox also get two thumbs up from me. Trust me- I've tried them all!

Anyways, here are some pics:






Edited by String Music (06/19/12 01:26 PM)
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