Spring turkey season is nothing short of a hoot. A hoot that contains within it’s owl-like sound, a haunting, shadowy-like mix of gravel on one end and trumpet on the other, as well as the asking of a question.
Indeed a fake owl hoot, one done in rhythm and done in the very first light of morning, has become the standard method of locating a gobbler, the male of the feathered family and the one that ought to know better, but who just can’t help it.
And that rhythm with a pattern that sounds so much like a question? “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?” Listen closely; you’ll hear it as plainly as if your neighbor asked it.
In all honesty, an owl’s hoot, heard at dusk or dawn, is often a sound that gives one cause to look behind and maybe even to feel the rise of a neck hair or two.
For sure, is a mysterious sound, one that tells all the little creatures in its range that they better watch out because there’s a silent, winged predator ready to glide through the shadows looking for its next snack.
But that early morning hoot, created by mouth our purchased plastic call, is nothing like that at all. It’s simply an invitation to a gobbler to tell all the ladies that he has rested well and he is indeed ready for some action.
And just as certain as a turkey hen will lay 13 eggs, maybe one less and perhaps one more, but just one a day until the nest is full, he has given himself away to more than nearby hens. And it’s enough to make a camo-covered, grown man smile.
That’s what happened just the other morning when Jon Myers heard a strong gobble ring out just about the time his anxious hooting faded into the woods. Like a hound with a nose full of rabbit, Myers bee-lined for the gobbler, moving through the trees in a tactical move that he expected would put him within a hundred yards of the bird.
Myers quickly set up in a hide created by two fallen trees. An avid hunter, he was at his best, trading wits with a wary but love-struck old turkey. And it’s a proven fact that love-struck outweighs wary every time. Yep, 20 minutes later, dinner was flopping on the ground.
That old turkey slid right in close, fanning his tail and extending his neck in thundering gobbles. He was doing his best to attract that elusive hen, a bird in the bush, another teasing hen that the gobbler wanted to meet. Myers said the gobbler was intent and anxious, probably because he was accompanied by another fanning tom.
Myers hit the jackpot on this morning, a 24-pound gobbler that sported a 10- inch beard and a razor sharp spur measuring 1 inch. That’s one old bird, a load that Myers carried with a chest full of pride.
(Readers may contact this writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.)