The wild turkeys flew down before shooting light this morning in Wisconsin’s unit 3 area. First the hens pitched off their roosts at 5:15 hitting the ground running like they had somewhere to be. They must have nests they needed to tend to. The gobblers sounded off and pitched off roost shortly after and that’s where things got interesting. Their fly downs were more like long range glides carrying them well out my sight and hearing range. In the “big” woods of areas of Clark County this makes for a challenging hunt because the toms just keep ranging further out all day long while giving the hunter little indication of where and which way they are heading. These toms had a lot of altitude off their red oak roosts so I figured they would have glided out a ways, I took a compass bearing and headed in the direction they went.
A lone gobble slices through the morning silence, distant, as in, across 2 creeks and in the middle of the swamp. There are dry islands in the swamp but the water is too high for causal wading out to them. The trolling box call is put away and replaced with a Tongue Teaser. After a couple of yelps and bionk clucks a gobbler joins me on the trail staring intently in my direction about 40 yards away. Oops, busted and game barely started. Big wings clawed for air as he took flight to parts unknown. Where there’s one turkey usually/sometimes there are more and now it’s past time to get setup.
I select two different Willlowridge tongue teasers calls one built from purple heart and the other made of chestnut are placed in the go position ready for some very robust aggressive calling. On mornings in the big turkey woods I have learned aggressive calling works best to bring in turkeys. Once they get interested a hunter needs to keep them hooked with no slack in the audio line, for if slack is allowed toms will usually get distracted and throw the hook. At this point in the game I’m thinking that distant gobbler or the one who flew away are the best chance.
Alternating between the calls I cast out course yelps, aggressive purrs and clucks for about 15 minutes elicited a gobble which I answered immediately and continued cutting his gobbles off midway at each gobble. The gobbles were getting closer and I must admit I was playing around more than really expecting the turkey to travel all that way across the two creeks to me. Before I knew it, not only did the gobbler arrive but he brought a gobbling buddy. Both turkeys went in and out of strut as they closed the distance, I continue to cluck whenever they could not see me. Only one turkey gobbled the other just strutted along silently.
As the toms cleared brush entering the open red oak woodland they did their final strut and pirouetted. When the fans blocked their heads the tongue teaser gently slid onto my lap as my Remington rose to target… Unfortunately for his buddy, the silent buddy offered the first clear headshot and I took it.