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Two are Better than One



We are fortunate in South Carolina, that we are allowed to harvest two gobblers per day and five for the season. No other state has such liberal limits for wild turkeys. For hunters who are addicted to turkeys, yours truly among them, this offers a lot of opportunities.

David Catoe with Two mature Longbeards

I have been fortunate enough to hunt with some fine turkey hunters, and have a list of others whose time afield I covet. Those whose calls I am not worthy to carry, much less to hunt with. But I have learned one thing through the years, is that when you have the opportunity to hunt with others, do it! You will learn so much from your time afield. Sometimes you learn what not to do under certain situations, but most of the time you will learn some techniques you haven’t tried they found successful.

One such technique is to take advantage of our two bird limit. Admittedly, most of the hunters who kill two birds a day, do say at the same time, when more than one bird responds to your calling. But to up the ante, killing two birds independently is far more rewarding.

Last week, David Catoe of Lugoff, texted me with a picture of two mature gobblers he killed an hour and a half apart. We met to take some pictures and to get the whole story. David is a gifted hunter who is on my short list of people I want to hunt with. His ability to call turkeys is like I have never seen, and I want to experience it for myself soon.

On this particular morning, David, set up on a ridge top and had a bird gobbling early, after a few sweet calls from his diaphragm the gobbler came looking for this hen David was mimicking. A quick load of Hevi-Shot ended the episode. David said he wasn’t done, because he heard another gobbler about a quarter mile away and wanted to see if he could get this one too. After taking care of the first bird, he went after the other. Setting up his decoy, within a hundred yards of where he last heard the bird, he began his calling. “It wasn’t long before I saw two gobblers coming into the decoy, I knew I had one, so I wanted to take advantage of this situation and learn”. This is one thing that so many hunters miss, they kill the birds so early, they never have the chance to watch and learn what the birds do naturally.


As the birds came into the decoy, they were strutting and gobbling continuously. “When they were about fifteen yards away, they were brushing up against the jake decoy, challenging him, rubbing their wings against him while they were strutting. I just watched for a few minutes.”

Carrying two is better than one

Catoe says that by watching the birds you will learn so much about their behavior. “I often go out before season and just listen, listen to the hens, to the gobblers and learn how they communicate. Then I try and copy that when hunting season comes around.” Nothing is a better teacher in the turkey woods than the hens themselves, the more we can listen to hens and how they communicate, the better callers we will be.

After a few minutes of watching, Catoe, picked out the larger of the two and ended his hunt. Two mature toms in an hour and a half from different parts of the same property.

Catoe regularly fills his season limit, and calls for other hunters all season long, and often calling a few dozen to the gun each year.

Is it greed, or just respect for the challenge? Anyone who knows David Catoe will know instantly it’s the latter, he loves the challenge, the hunt and few are better at matching wits with the king of the spring woods.