What do you think? Is a wild turkey hunt more like a game chess in the woods or is it more like the card game solitaire?
Something, perhaps mostly unknown about charlie elk is the fact it took him five wild turkey seasons before he finally killed a gobbler.
What took him so long?
After all, he helped Minnesota catch grouse for the Minnesota/Missouri turkey/grouse exchange release program so he should have learned something about turkeys during that long restoration period. Well, not so fast. Charlie was an accomplished big game hunter who frequently stalked within longbow range of bedded cervids across the North American Continent. And then, in the early eighties along came the wild turkey opportunities.
After finally being drawn for a Minnesota turkey license in the zone where a band of turkey nuts, including Charlie had released turkeys from Missouri years before; the young, cocky, self-assured Charlie was humbled by a bird with a brain about the size of a walnut. It is amazing how a feathered bird-brained creature could be so elusive.
He planned all his hunts so carefully, doing research to determine in advance where the turkeys roosted, where they would want to go from roost and how they would get there, all to no avail. Then late one morning he saw a truck with plates from Missouri pull into the parking area, an elderly gentleman stepped out walked around surveying the area and then did some cutting on a long box call. Answered by a robust gobble, not more than 100 yards down the trail Charlie had just walked back to camp. The veteran hunter headed down the path and soon a there was a gunshot. The fellow came walking back with a very nice turkey over his shoulder.
The mistake Charlie had been making, in his humble opinion was that he’d been hunting turkeys using many of same tactics as he used for hunting big game. Big game animals do things for reasons that are quite apparent to an experienced hunter. Whereas the wild turkey does things that are apparently done for well, maybe no clear reason at all.
A lot of turkey behavior, if not most, is random, much like the shuffling of a deck of cards. For example, if a turkey is flushed and somewhere different with suitable habitat and maybe an available hen during the spring— that turkey is likely to be just as content in the new location as he was in the previous one, he’ll just roost in whatever tree is convenient as it gets dark. Once this randomness soaked into charlie’s sometimes, most times, dense head, he has killed a turkey in every season he has hunted over the last 40 years.