Very rarely will a gobbler run to your gun. More often it sounds off once or twice, then either hangs up out of gun range or starts slowly moving away. Then comes the dilemma that all turkey hunters face: Stay where you are or move to a different location?
There are no hard-and-fast rules, but take some time to think and plan before you reposition on a tom. Here are three common scenarios.
JUST OUT OF RANGE
If a gobbler is hot and reasonably close, don’t even consider a move until you’ve exhausted your calling options. If all you’ve offered are yelps and clucks, toss in some cutting, cackling, fighting purrs, or even gobbling (if it’s safe to do so) to light a fire under him. Switch your call types, too, from a box to a slate to a mouth call, for example. Often, the absolute best move is to give the bird a healthy dose of silence. Cats aren’t the only things killed by curiosity.
FAR AND RELUCTANT
If your bird is gobbling and pacing back and forth, there could be an obstacle–such as a fence, ditch, or creek–that’s blocking his approach. On the other hand, he could just be biding his time. If you can actually see that there’s an obstruction, let the bird drift away, then plan a move. Otherwise, your safest bet is to wait awhile. An extra half hour or so may be all that’s needed to bring this bird into range. If not, it will only strengthen the case for moving.
LEAVING THE SCENE
If the tom is talking but walking away, chances are he has company– and you’ve got little to lose by moving on him. But that’s only practical if you can do it without bumping the bird. Take the time to carefully study the situation and the lay of the land. Look for a ditch, swale, line of trees, or brushy fenceline that will hide you. If you have any doubts about going undetected, stay put. If you decide to move, be conservative. Closing the distance or repositioning even slightly on a tom will often jar a gobbler into action, putting him right in your lap.