The Bachelor Pad: How to Find Where Gobblers Die, Part 2
by Steve Sorensen
Have you ever found a gobbler’s bachelor pad? Lots of gobblers are killed at their bachelor pads – the place where they’re safe, want to be seen, and can be heard. You may have killed gobblers in places like that, even though you may not realize it. Here’s how I found three of them.
The “Come over here, honey” breeding bed – I know one spot that I feel owes me a gobbler, though I’ll probably never collect on it. I’ve called in several gobblers there, but made some critical mistakes. For several years I considered it my “Old Faithful” of turkey spots. It’s high on a hill, gobblers roosted just off the peak of the ridge, and their gobbles ring out across the hardwood ridge and down the hill.
On one opening day, I saw just how they used this spot. I arrived before daylight and waited for the game to begin. Turkeys started gobbling, flew off the roost, and marched to this spot, but I had set up wrong. Off to my left about 60 yards away, two mature gobblers and a hen began an affair to remember. I watched them carry on for an hour before they left.
After they were gone, I walked over there. Feathers were everywhere. It looked like those gobblers raked every feather off the back of that poor hen. I picked up 100 of them, and many more were still on the ground. Any time a gobbler wanted, he could say, “Come over here, Honey,” and a hen would cooperate.
I said I’ll probably never take a gobbler from that spot. The reason – it was loaded with tall, straight, black cherry trees. Chain saws have turned the spot into a timber slashing. Score one for the turkeys.
The “good old boys” ringside seat – It was late one Friday morning, and I heard a gobbler sound off not far away. I quickly set up and gave a call. He gobbled back, but ambled along as though he had all day. I guess he did. I finally had him within 35 yards, but he was screened by the top of a fallen tree so I had no shot. He finally strolled back to the spot where he started.
On Saturday I was back in that area, and heard him sound off at daylight down the hill. I set up where that fallen tree wouldn’t be a problem. Soon he was coming up the hill, but angled to my right and headed straight for the spot I had called him from the day before. I could see him over there, all fanned out, without a hen anywhere around.
Soon, I heard a yelp behind him, and two jakes walked over, circled around in front of him, and proceeded to beat the stuffing out of each other. That went on for 10 minutes. Finally they walked off, and the big gobbler followed.
I could hardly wait until Monday, but couldn’t get into the woods until 9:30 AM. This time, I inched my way to the spot where he watched the fight. At 10:00, I made a couple of calls. Again at 10:10, and at 10:20. I finally got an answer. He came in with three jakes in tow, and I shot him at 25 yards. This old boy never seemed interested in breeding. His bachelor pad was a spot where he’d watch the Saturday fights.
The “I’m not leaving until I’m carried out” hermit – This gobbler frustrated me for a week. I knew where he was, but there were other turkeys close to him and I couldn’t approach him without flushing them. Every day I’d hear him, sometimes I’d see him, and twice I called in other birds. But he wouldn’t budge from his spot.
This had to be a preferred bachelor pad – if only I didn’t have to worry about all his friends. Finally, the day came. All his younger buddies and girlfriends had abandoned him, but he stayed put. I sneaked in to about 50 yards of his roost tree, and he began gobbling his head off at 5:30 AM. He was frantic; no one would answer him until I gave him the softest call I could make at 5:45, and again at 5:55. He flew down at 6:00, and I was tagging him at 6:05. He wouldn’t leave unless someone carried him out. I obliged.
In all three of these cases, almost any turkey hunter could have killed these birds. It was a matter of being where they were most comfortable. And if you do everything else right, that’s where they die.
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About Steve Sorensen
Award-winning outdoor writer and speaker Steve Sorensen loves the Havalon knife, and has been a fan of knives since he begged his dad for a hunting knife when he was six years old. His articles have been published in Deer & Deer Hunting Magazine, Sports Afield, and many other top magazines across the USA. Invite Steve to speak at your next sportsman’s event, and follow his writing on his website, www.EverydayHunter.com.
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