This past weekend two Mossy Oak Properties Land Specialists took to the turkey woods for a chance at a gobbler. Billy McOwen from North Carolina was hunting with a good friend and business associate, Johnny Seamster, from Kenbridge, VA. As the sun rose Saturday morning they found themselves surrounded by gobbling birds but none could be enticed to step within range. Around midmorning they covered some ground and walked carefully to a stand of hardwood trees that led to the banks of the Roanoke River. While keeping a watchful eye they spotted a few toms strutting but were reluctant to talk back to Billy and Johnny. After reassessing the situation they decided to slip into the timber when the coast was clear and set up a decoy of a strutting tom. The opportunity presented itself they made a break to set up.
Once they were situated in their preferred location the call sequence began. After some time waiting they heard a gobble in the flooded timber. Patience paid off as they soon spotted the turkey walking their way. The stage was set. Both hunters had eyes on the bird and the tom was closing the distance, spitting and drumming along the way. When a opportunity presented itself for a clear shot Johnny pulled the trigger at close range. The bird fell and both hunters were grateful for a successful hunt.
The bird drew his last breath around 11:00 AM. There are a couple of things that stand out to me as to why these hunters were successful. First and foremost they were persistent. After being unsuccessful in the morning they decided to keep at it. Many hunters would have taken this opportunity to take a nap or drive to the local restaurant and grab breakfast. These hunters kept at it and found a way to put themselves in position for more action. Furthermore, they decided that a decoy may be just the trick to draw in a huge river bottom bird. Decoys don’t always work out and sometimes can have adverse effects, but in this instance it was just what was needed to draw a dominant bird in.
It’s known that around mid morning gobblers become lonely after their harem of hens make their way back to the nest. Often times gobblers are responsive to calling during the late morning and early afternoon hours just as much as they are at sunrise. The full strut decoy they situated was just enough draw in a massive old tom who was looking for a fight and it paid huge dividends for the patient hunters.
Turkey season doesn’t last long so I would encourage very hunter to be as patient and spend as much time in the woods as possible. There’s no doubt that sunrise is the best time to catch a gobbler off guard, right off the roost. But that’s not the only time one is vulnerable to a savvy hunter’s tactics. As they say, the best time to be in the woods is whenever you have the chance.
Johnny’s bird weighted 25 pounds, boasted an 11 inch beard and spurs that were a little over an inch long. Congrats Johnny, on your Halifax County tom!