Right Place, Right Time - by Chris Gercken

In a perfect world, we would all love to have the time to go out the night before a morning hunt and scout birds.  Roosting a big gobbler so you can set up on him in the morning makes anyone feel much more hopeful than going in blind. Well, sometimes life gets in the way and it’s hard to find the time to peel away from the family or work to get that done. For those hunts that have minimal “homework” involved or are last minute, I’m going to give you some tips that will help you be more successful in the turkey woods.

Understanding Your Birds - As spring approaches and the gobblers start establishing their dominance over the others, they will start to break away from the other males and focus on the hens. Most states set up the hunting season so that the actual breeding season will have begun before the hunting starts. That being said, birds start to do very unorthodox things when this is happening.

Focus on the Hens - A flock of hens can tell you a lot about what’s going on with the time table of the breeding season. If it’s open season for hunting and you find yourself glassing a large number of hens together, typically the largest and most dominant of the gobblers will be with them. It could be just one Gobbler, or it could be a group. If you find just one hen all by herself wandering around, chances are she has already been bred and she’s looking for a nest sight to lay her eggs safe from predators. Other times smaller groups of hens say 3-6 birds will break off from a larger group and be on their own when breeding season comes around. This can work to your advantage in a few ways. It is much harder to run and gun/stalk birds with 30 sets of eyes constantly looking out for anything suspicious. The odds get better for you with less birds together. Also, the less dominant Gobblers that maybe got beat up by the larger birds in the weeks prior, have set out looking for those smaller flocks of hens or lone hens. If you can find the Gobbler out on his own or with the smaller flock of hens, chances are you’ll be able to get him killed. These birds are very receptive to hen calls even in the middle of the day.

- Chris Gercken