Spring Gobbler Season: The Thrill of Talking to an “Old Tom”

I cannot wait for this year’s Spring Gobbler Season. 

It’s that time of year where everything is budding and the Dog Days of Summer are not here yet.  If you have never gone Turkey Hunting, your are missing out on a blast. 

Even if you don’t bag a Turkey, just the thrill of talking to a Turkey and playing a Chess Game in getting him in close for a shot will last years of great memories you can share with your friends and family. 


This year, Spring Gobbler season starts April 19 and goes through May 24. 

There is a Junior Hunt on April 17 so your Son/Daughter can hunt with a Licensed Adult accompanying.  Some State Property only allows Saturdays to hunt where others are Monday-Saturday. 

Time to hunt is a half hour before Sun-Rise to Noon.  Yea, have to give the birds a rest. 

You are allowed only to Bag 1 Male Bird and a Maximum of 2 are allowed “if” you did not take a Turkey in the Fall Turkey Season. 

Also, Blaze Orange is not required since these birds see color and are very cautious, well sort of.  Always check the Maryland Hunting Handbook on rules and what is/not allowed.

So how does one hunt Gobblers? 

Well it is definitely an art in trying to fool an Old Tom.  Now like any game animal to hunt, the best way to bag your species is with “Sex”.  You got it, “Sex”. 

Now in the spring the Gobbler has, or tries to acquire a group of Hens so he can do his thing.  When you call a Gobbler, you are imitating a Hen looking for a Gobbler. 

If the Gobbler already has a group of Hens, he may show your call no interest since he has all that he needs. 

But, Gobblers are like people, and personalities are different for each bird. 

Some Gobblers are never content on the number of Hens they have and will call back to you with a “Gobble”.  Again, all birds are different.  Some will try to make you the Hen go to him, while others will come running right at you fast, so be ready to shoot.

O.K. the first thing to do is get a call you want to use to call the Gobbler.  There are many calls on the market to choose from.  I use a Box Call made by Lynch and have taken birds with it and it is easy to use.  One side is for the Hen and the other is a Gobbler. 

Depending on what Gobbler you run into, the first thing to do is try to locate a bird.  If you have been hunting a property a number of years, you will learn where these birds hang out. 

Now when I go in the woods in the early morning, I walk slow and do a couple of clucks on my box imitating the Hen wanting some Gobbler company.  If there is an interested bird, you may hear a far faint Gobble, so intent listening is needed. 

Also, some years they are very quiet and some years they are Gobbling with any noise they hear.  In fact, a friend of mine told me once when he shut his car door, a Gobbler sounded off. 

Now if you are lucky, you will hear a Gobble and zero in on your bird for a shot.  The most important thing to know is that if you start talking to a Gobbler, do not talk too much for he may lose interest in you or he may approach you in Stealth Mode and you will not know he is there until you see him running away from you.  So don’t call too much. 

The best thing you can do is act like a Girl that is Hard to Get.  Call very little and move your location for each Call. 

This will drive the difficult Gobbler nuts and he will think he is missing out on a Hen that is leaving his area. 

I have had Gobblers running to me as I was leaving his area for fear he would lose out on a potential new Girlfriend. 

Now there are other things you can try like imitating a Gobbler for this may annoy other Gobblers thinking you are trying to take away his Hens, and you may get an annoyed Gobbler calling you out.

 The best way to learn these tricks is to get out and Talk to a Gobbler. 

Even if you don’t Bag your Bird, just the thrill of trying to trick an Old Tom will last you a life time in great memories.  Good Luck.

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