John's Journal...

What to Do When Three Turkeys Gobble

GPS to Success

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Most of us when we hear a turkey gobble immediately make a beeline to that turkey. We never stop to wait and listen to see if an area has any other gobbling turkeys in it. Remember, all turkeys don't gobble at the same time every morning. On many a morning, if I go to the first turkey that gobbles, I'll spook the tom closest to me because he hasn't gobbled yet. But what do you do when you hear three or more turkeys gobble? I've learned to plan my morning hunt instead of chasing the first turkey that gobbles. Here's how.

First I'll take out my hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver and markClick to enlarge the spot where I'm standing as a waypoint. I try to find two limbs and lay them across each other to make the shape of an X. Or, I'll make an X in the leaves with the toe or the heel of my boot. I'll use my compass to note from which direction each turkey has gobbled. I'll name the turkeys No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3. Then I'll write down the direction to each of the turkeys, according to my compass, and their approximate distance from me - 200 yards, 1/4-mile, 1/2-mile, 1 mile, etc. With this information, I can return to my starting position, if I don't get the first turkey I go after, and know which way to walk and about how far to go to reach my next turkey to hunt. Too, I can go back to that same starting position where I've heard all three turkeys gobble, if I return to hunt them on another day.

I also try to learn the type of terrain between my position and the turkeys and to determine the route the turkey probably will travel. I'll use aClick to enlargen aerial or a topo map and pinpoint all three turkeys' locations on the maps. I like to go to to find the best maps of most areas. Over the years, I've learned that the more planning I do before I go after a turkey, the greater my odds for taking a turkey. Once I've made my decision, based on the facts on which turkey I most likely can take, then I'll start moving toward the gobbler. I also have two backup plans and two other locations where I can go to hunt the other two turkeys I've heard gobbling, if I fail to bag the one I've decided to hunt.

Of course, like many other turkey hunters, once I hear three turkeys gobble, I always mistakenly believe that I'll remember where I've heard all three turkeys gobble. I think I'll call them and go to them later, ifClick to enlarge I fail to get the first bird. But once I start after a gobbler, I forget everything else that has happened that morning and focus all my attention on the turkey I'm hoping to bag. That's why I never go afield unless I ...

* carry an Ultra Fine Point Sharpie indelible marker and paper in my pocket,

* take a compass with me,

* use a GPS,

* mark a waypoint, and use the compass to get directions to each turkey and

* estimate the distance to each turkey before deciding which turkey to hunt first.

Tomorrow: When “Stuff” Happens

Check back each day this week for more about "What to Do When Three Turkeys Gobble "

Day 1: GPS to Success
Day 2: When “Stuff” Happens
Day 3: Gobblers to Give Away and Gobblers to Keep
Day 4: Why to Choose the Best Turkey Instead of the Closest Turkey
Day 5: How to Nail Down the Toms Before You Leave


Entry 449, Day 1