Cumberland Times-News

Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors

March 8, 2014

Gobbler stuff can get crazy

Tough, old bird

The third gobbler I killed was in 1990 while hunting on Pond Hill near McCoole. Relatively early in the morning I sent out a couple yelp calls. Immediately, 75-100 yards away, what sounded like three gobblers got into a fight.

Among the aggressive purrs and cutts were turkey sounds I had never heard before and have never heard since. This cacophonous battle went on for at least 30 seconds and then everything went quiet.

“Aha,” I thought. “We have a winner.”

Eventually I could see a gobbler circling above me and then turning in my direction. I tagged that 17-pounder with a 9-inch beard. When I skinned the gobbler I found shot in its keel and leg that wasn’t from my gun. I was using copper coated pellets and these were lead.

Talk about a tough, old bird. Although he had been previously shot, he whipped two other gobblers and went off looking for love in all the wrong places.

Shock gobbles

In the spring, Tom turkeys are so keyed up that they will frequently let fly with a gobble when they hear a loud sound. I’ve heard them shock gobble to train whistles or ambulance sirens. I’ve heard them sound off when car doors slam or when somebody pulls the trigger on a shotgun. They gobble when crows or pileated woodpeckers call loudly.

I know one fellow who actually put a metal garbage can lid near his blind and would strike it with a stick or rock every once in a while in an attempt to get a gobbler to sound off.

Well, one warm morning I’m in the woods, seated very comfortably against the base of an oak.

I had what Jim Goldsworthy has called in his column a flatulance event (I mean we all do it, right, it’s just that I am writing about it).

It was one of those that wouldn’t register on the Richter Scale, but might move the needle a little on a decibel meter.

Well, no sooner had I broken the silence of the woods than a gobbler sounded off. “Just chance,” you say. Maybe.

I never did see that bird. I’m told turkeys do not have the sense of smell, but I wonder about that.

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Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors
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