In a perfect world, toms would gobble every day and not stop until your gun was unloaded. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Some days we head to the woods expecting longbeards to thunder through the timber, only to hear silence. Now what do you do?
Option #1: Pattern the Birds
Head to the areas you know the birds typically roost. Scouting plays a huge role because the birds have not given away their postion. You’ve got to know which direction they are likely to head after fly down and where their strut zones are.
Spend time in the woods before the season listening from a distance. Look for scratchings to identify travel patterns. Hang a trail camera over open ridges or small food plots to find strutting areas. Check out potential setups before the hunt. This way you have an idea where to be whether they are gobbling or not.
Note: If toms don’t gobble, chances are the hens aren’t talking either. Keep the calling to a minimum. Hens may only tree yelp and call softly on mornings like this. To be successful, you need to mimic what they are doing. Just let him know you’re there and be prepared to watch and wait.
One hunt we had in northeast Missouri comes to mind. Good friend Phillip Dowell and I headed out to a spot that I scouted the previous week. We got setup before daybreak near a known roost area and waited for the action to start. Only it never did. We didn’t hear a single gobble.
Instead of leaving, I decided to call lightly as if the birds were still there. After one series of yelps, I put the call away. Ten minutes later, Phillip spotted a big tom walking into the pasture below us. The bird headed strait for the decoys and now resides in Phil’s living room. The tom carried not one but two 10 ½ inch beards. Knowing the roost area and the bird’s habits made this hunt successful.
Option #2: Leave Them for Another Day
There is no shame in heading for the truck if they don’t gobble. Don’t risk it if you are hunting smaller areas with fewer birds. Especially if you have several days to hunt. This type of spot will get tough if it gets pressured so wait for another day when the birds are more vocal.
If scouting tells you that turkeys like to roost in different areas from day to day, it can be risky going after them if they aren’t gobbling. You could start calling and have one slip in from behind without warning. This is a good way to spook a bird and make it nearly impossible to call him in again that season.
Silence in the spring woods should be nothing to fear. Hopefully some of these tips will help you this season when you come across a quiet gobbler.
Quiet Toms was last modified: February 9th, 2017 by Bill Winke