Turkey hunters who have yet to tag a longbeard still have time to score during the last week of the season, and taxidermist Chuck Mulkey of Anderson expects the last week -- which ends May 1 -- to be the best time to tag a gobbler.
“I believe most of the hens in the area have been bred and are now off nesting,” said Mulkey. “Personally, it’s been a tough year with the weather, but the forecast over the next week should be more stable, and with the hens out of the way, I think it’ll be a good time to take a gobbler.”
Mulkey said he never witnessed much of a breakup of the winter flocks of gobblers, even into the third week of the season. Though he has tagged out for the year, he is still calling birds for friends who have not been as fortunate, and he said the number of gobblers that have responded has been off.
“Last year, probably the best year I’ve ever had, I was able to call up 48 longbeards; this year I’ve only been able to call 15,” he said. “The rain, the cold – it’s been a very challenging season, but I’m predicting the next week will be the best one of this season.”
Mulkey’s advice for hunters who haven’t killed a bird or are looking for one more is to be patient and go to the areas where birds are known to frequent and wait for them.
“A lot of gobblers have gone silent now,” he said. “I had one walk up behind me last week that never responded, and he got the jump on me before I could get the jump on him. I’m also seeing a lot of jakes in the woods all grouped up, and I’ve seen a group of them run a longbeard off.”
His advice at this point is to forego any decoy use at all. He gives an area at least 45 minutes, whether he’s gotten a response or not to his calls.
“They’re there,” said Mulkey. “But they won’t be in a hurry. Every bird in the woods has been called to by now. You just got to go to those high traffic areas, settle in, and wait him out.”