It’s amazing how active the woods seem to be when you aren’t hunting. But just ask any turkey hunter who has spent time sitting out there waiting for something to happen, and he or she will probably tell you that generally, the opposite is what occurs. Even in the best hunting area, the critters are often very good at being where hunters aren’t.
With turkey hunting being a sitting game, it’s even more of a challenge. This doesn’t mean you have to literally sit on your butt all the time. What it means is that one needs to stay in place and wait for the animals to come to them or at least within shooting range after moving till we hear one respond.
That’s been really hard to do during this year’s spring gobbler season in Pennsylvania. So far, the hunt has shaped up to be a tough one. I know for a fact that the birds are out there as I did some preseason scouting and got many responses and visual sightings as well.
But once the season opened, regardless of wherever I go, I’m not hearing anything, seeing almost no droppings or scratchings. It is why other hunters say it is creating their toughest season ever.
The big question is whether it’s the crazy, cold and rainy weather, or is it that the birds are henned up breeding. It’s hard to say for sure. One thing many hunters agree on this year is that turkeys aren’t talking.
That was true even on the first morning when I tagged my gobbler, who came in silent. He was following two hens out into the field who had responded with some hen talk after I’d made a few yelps on a box call.
So what’s one to do? My advice is to just keep getting out there and listening for that bird who, sooner or later, will play the dating game. Yes, it takes persistence and keeping a positive attitude when you’re trying to sit still, and have nothing but a ground squirrel making an appearance.
Yep, that rustling in the leaves behind you gets your hopes up only to be dashed moments later. Don’t let it frustrate you; instead, let thoughts of eating tag soup creep in and make you even more patient.
Remember, confidence is a huge part of hunting, and if you don’t have it, you might as well go home and lounge on the sofa. Stay attentive. Turkey hunting is just like anything else, sometimes it’s easy and other times it takes days. It’s an opportunity that only last a few seconds and requires you to perform with efficiency and precision at any time.