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Last Chance Toms


Turkey season is closing down fast. Many hunters have had great seasons, and others are still trying to fill that last tag before the season closes on May 5th. For those who are looking for that last chance gobbler, here are some pointers to help get that last day bird.

First is the keep after them. A lot of hunters are frustrated and angry at the lack of action or ability to call in a bird. Some are even seeking therapy to deal with the constant battle of wits with mature toms. But as the season lingers on, the chances of success often continue to creep up in favor of the hunter. By now, the hens have all been bred and they are spending most of their days sitting on their nests. Gobblers looking for a little more action are still wandering around looking for that one hen that may be willing to play. Hunters who keep after these toms are more likely to connect.

Secondly, don’t hang all of your bets for first light. Many of the older toms that have survived until now are a little call shy. They are reluctant to gobble, and reluctant to respond to aggressive calling. Plan on hunting longer and calling quieter. Most of my late season toms have fallen to subtle calls, and around 1:00 p.m. Longer days plotting and plying different techniques have help put toms in the bag.

Third when chasing late season toms, old running and gunning are gone. Now is the time to sit calmly and wait them out. Know where they are feeding, and set up in that area and wait for them. Soft purrs, a few soft clucks are all that is needed to let him know you are there. Now just wait for him to appear. This is where a good seat like the Browning Strutter and some good shooting sticks are indispensable.

Lastly, lose the decoys. By now these bird have seen every kind of decoy on the market and will run at the sight of one. They can tell the difference between a real hen and an artificial one. (Unless you have a real hen or Jake that is in taxidermy) leave the decoy at home and stay after them. The one caveat to this is if you are hunting late afternoon near roosting areas. Decoys in these areas seems to work well. Placed in the woods near roosting trees, the turkeys seem to gravitate towards the decoys before heading to roost. I like to use four or five feeding decoys for this situation.  The more the better in this situation.

Hunting turkeys late in the season is a different ball game all together. Being patient, a little subtle and changing up your tactics can put a last chance tom in your sights. One thing is for sure, you won’t have any more fun, by staying home. Get out and get after these toms now, it’ll be a long while before you can get back after them.