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Last Day Success

          As the calendar continues to click and the days of the 2015 turkey season are drawing to an end. I am reminded of a comment made to me in my infancy of becoming a turkey hunter. Some three decades ago, when turkeys were found in abundance in Edgefield and McCormick counties of South Carolina, I migrated to these areas in search of long beards. On one of these ventures I bumped into Bill Williams. Long deceased now, at that time Bill was not known as a turkey hunter, he was known as a turkey killer.

During this encounter I found myself whining about the troubles I was having when he made the comment that has stayed with me ever since. “If I could only hunt one day of the season, I would hunt the last day.” Williams said, and “if I could hunt only one week it would be the last week.” That statement has been more accurate than I would have ever imagined when I heard it, but as time has passed and season after season logged into the annuals of turkey lore. I have seen it is as accurate a statement ever made about the ole wily turkey.

From a practical sense, as the season lingers, more and more hens have been bred and have gone to nesting full time. Gobblers are out roaming looking for the few remaining hens to breed. Similar to the whitetail rut, gobblers throw caution to the wind and begin screaming for hens to find them. Hunters who ply new tactics or different strategies have a greater opportunity to bag a mature bird as the season winds down.

Bill Williams who shared with me his belief that the last week is the best week liked to say; “ole Tom has heard it all by now, you have to give him something he hasn’t heard, and give it to him in small doses.” Late season gobblers are on the hunt, if you begin calling continually and loud, he is going to expect the hen to come to him. By being bashful and patient, more often than not, he will come looking for you. A good technique Williams used was to locate the tom while on the roost and get to within two hundred yards or so, set up as well hidden as possible and begin purring. If he answers the purr, purr again and grab you gun! “If he answers the purr when he hits the ground, he’s coming.” Williams said. More and more turkeys would be killed the last week of the season, if more hunters didn’t give up before now.

It is true that a lot of hunters love the use of decoys when hunting turkeys, and these are great tools to deploy when hunting any time of the season. During the late season, using decoys with hens and gobblers together will elicit a greater response. Make sure the hen is well visible and during the late season, the hen situated in a laying, or breeding position will bring more of a response from late season toms.

The bottom line is that as the season winds down, is not a time to give up and go fishing. Now is perhaps the best time to go after and get that tom. Staying with them, listening to them and plying different tactics will often be the crucible of ole Tom. And nothing caps off a great season better than killing a tom on the last day.