Masters' Secrets of Turkey Hunting
The Mountaintop Ghost
One of the first gobblers that got me hooked on the sport of turkey hunting and nearly caused me to flunk out of high school during the spring when I was 16-years old was the Mountaintop Ghost. This bird, which gobbled every morning daylight, lived close to my home on a high ridge. He would gobble from one end of that mountain to the other. But each morning when I climbed the mountain to attempt to get close enough to take a shot, the MountaintopGhost hushed and vanished.
After a few mornings of this disappearing act, I wondered if I actually was hearing the bird or was imagining him because I never could see him. I used every tactic I knew, had read about or that anybody suggested to get that tom. I called a lot, I called a little, I set up close to his roost, and I tried to circle him. But nothing I tried put me within eyesight of this ghost-like gobbler, although I missed a few days of school that spring to hunt him.
Finally I learned what the turkey was doing. He'd gobble in the morning and then fly down to a glade where he could see the entire mountain and everything around it. He'd strut there and meet his hens. If he saw me coming, he'd leave.
However, one morning I climbed the mountain before daylight and went to the end of the glade where daily the turkey flew down and walked into that opening. I was 200- yards from where the turkey was roosting when I gave three, soft, tree yelps.
The turkey pitched out of the tree, flew to the end of the glade where I was and stuck his head up to look for the hen he had heard in the opening. That morning was when I bagged the Mountaintop Ghost of the high ridge that had forced me to stay out of school and kept me awake many a night dreaming about how I would get him.
This turkey taught me that to take a tough tom, you must learn everything you can - not only about a turkey but about the habitat where he lives. Once you know what the bird's doing, why he's doing it, where he's going and why he's going there, then the task of taking the gobbler is much easier. Many hunters try to substitute excellent calling skills and wearing camoflauge for spending the time required to understand what a turkey wants to do. The Mountaintop Ghost convinced me I had to learn the habits of the turkey first and then worry about how to call him and what camouflage to wear.