Steve Drummond loves to hunt open fields and is typically successful, but he said that despite his best efforts, gobblers often won’t cooperate. In those cases, he incorporates several of his favorite tactics to get these typically tough gobblers into range.
“Even when the gobbler wins the first round, I’m making plans the entire time to win Round Two,” he said. “I listen to the gobbler and get a location and plan a strategy. I watch him with my binoculars, track his movement and change locations to a setup near his route. Sometimes that’s successful, but if he’s on a mission, I’ll use that trait against him the next morning.
“One (time), I saw a gobbler strutting in a field early in the morning,” he said. “I heard him gobble on the roost, but when I arrived at the edge, I used my binoculars to spot him across the field, walking away. Gobblers seldom backtrack, but I had to try, so I called. He gobbled but continued walking away.
“I had a good idea where he was headed, and using trees and topography I moved to a position in front of him, but it didn’t work that day. But my persistence to learn his game enabled me to watch him leave the field via an old woods road. I learned his favored early morning travel route.
Drummond set up earl the next morning near the woods road where the gobbler had left the field. In the dark, he set out a gobbler decoy with a full fan pointed in the direction the gobbler should approach, along with three hen decoys.
“When he gobbled from the roost I called softly, and he gobbled back,” Drummond said. “I stayed quiet until he flew down and he gobbled, then I gobbled from my location. He gobbled again and started moving in our direction. I continued to return his gobbles, and once he entered the field and saw the decoys, he walked to us, and our shooter got him.”
Drummond said learning the bird’s natural morning travel routine and raising the interest with gobble calls and decoys all worked together. He learned what the gobbler wanted to do naturally in Round One, and delivered the knockout in Round Two.