A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, or in the case of spring gobbler hunting Ö more than two in most cases. With our local toms progressively getting less vocal each year Ė arguably the result of increased hunting pressure and being stalked by coyotes Ė hearing a tom gobble on its roost at dawn doesnít translate to an easy call-in and a bird in hand. For once that tom flies down, you may never hear it gobble again that day.
Whatever the reason, our local toms are just gobbling less and less with each passing year. What this means is that the classic spring turkey calling and hunting experience is changing. Time was, if you went spring gobbler hunting, you expected to hear vocalization by the toms, at least occasionally, giving away their location and giving the hunter the opportunity to set up and try to call that gobbler in. When toms donít gobble, it becomes a dice roll since the hunter canít be certain where they are and risks spooking them when he moves to look for a receptive gobbler.
In the past three or four years, the majority of the spring toms Iíve shot came in silent. If they gobbled at all, it was while they were some distance away. But once they decided to investigate the hen calls they heard, they shut up and literally came sneaking in, often circling before doing so. This meant I had to be observant of the surrounding area a full 360 degrees. More than once when Iíve slowly turned my head to look for any movement that might be an incoming gobbler, and in doing so, spooked a tom that was barely visible but scanning my setup area from just out of shotgun range.