John's Journal...

Late-Season Gobbler Tactics

The Ghostbuster

Click to enlargeEditor’Click to enlarges Note: When you hunt turkeys during the late season, you’ll have to hunt the toughest gobblers on the property. But hopefully, you’ll have a history of those turkeys. You should know what they’ve done in the past, and what you can expect them to do in the future. You have to decide on a method you haven’t used in the past to take those turkeys. You’ll have to abandon what’s considered turkey wisdom and use off-the-wall tactics to hunt these tough toms. Let’s look at some tough toms I’ve hunted, the people I’ve hunted with, and how we’ve finally taken our birds.

This turkey had built up a reputation for 3 years at White Oak Plantation, near Tuskegee, Alabama. Many had hunted him, but no one had taken him. You could get him gobbling, but when you reached the place where you thought you’d find him, you wouldn’t see him. Extremely hard to pattern, the Ghostbuster seldom stayed anywhere for long. At the end of the season, Bo Pitman, a guide and lodge manager at White Oak, and I hunted this bird for several days. Every tactic we used didn’t work. Finally, on the evening of the third day we hunted him, we put hiClick to enlargem to bed at his roost above some flooded timber with a creek on the right side of the gobbler’s roosting tree, a large field on the left side and between the creek and the field, a small patch of hardwood timber about 50-yards wide.

Click to enlarge"We’re going to go to the Ghostbuster before daylight, and I’m not going to call to him," Pitman said. The next morning, before daylight, we got in close to this ole tom’s roost tree. As the sun came up, we could see and hear the Ghostbuster strutting on the limb –almost within reach, but just out of gun range, screaming and often double and triple gobbling. "Bo, you gotta call to him," I whispered. "No, I’m not going to call to him," Pitman whispered back. "I don’t care what he does, I’m not going to call to him."
After an hour of the Ghostbuster’s constant gobbling, Pitman finally succumbed to my pleas and those of the screaming tom. He gave three light tree calls, and the turkey quit gobbling. "I knew I shouldn’t have called to him," Pitman said. But in about 15 minutes, the turkey started gobbling again.

Tomorrow: Still Hunting the Ghostbuster

Check back each day this week for more about "Late-Season Gobbler Tactics"

Day 1: The Ghostbuster
Day 2: Still Hunting the Ghostbuster
Day 3: The Squirrel-Tailed Gobbler
Day 4: Ole Slick
Day 5: More with Ole Slick



Entry 400, Day 1