The 2021 Spring Gobbler season was one full of hit or miss gobbling activity and gobblers that would not roost consistently in the same roosting locations. One thing that was consistent in my season was one gobbler that I would bump leaving from a before work hunt, or spook if I was changing locations or had a late start to my morning. I took note of this bird in week one after a foiled hunt. This gobbler played the game a few times and I had only heard him gobble one day all season. For whatever reason that morning he was not with his hens and flat out gobbling his head off. For the life of me, I could not picture where this bird or his hens were roosting either which really complicated things.
One morning I saw this bird standing in a wide-open field just off of an off-road trail. He and his group of hens crossed the road in front of me without a care in the world into a smaller piece of thick woods. I took a mental of this. I would say this scene replayed itself at least three times in week one of the season. I decided after shooting my first gobbler of the year that I would attempt to kill this old bird. I set up to where I thought he would walk past and never laid eyes on the bird, and never heard him gobble. This was going to be one tough bird I thought to myself.
Week three was rough for me. I received my first Covid-19 vaccination and it put me down for the count. I missed two mornings due to being sick from the shot. I felt better on Friday and decided I would try and kill this gobbler. I set up at the same spot as last time and heard a small group of gobblers sounding off around two hundred yards away. These were the first gobbles I had heard in week. I was led with the dilemma of chasing after these birds or hanging tight for the smart old bird that wouldn't gobble. My lack of patience got the better of me and I decided to chase the vocal birds. The birds were answering my call, but I knew for sure they were not coming my direction. I decided to not call and had a plan in mind to get to these birds. I closed the distance to roughly one hundred yards when I could hear a box call in the woods above me. I knew this hunter was completely out of position to kill these birds but decided I would just turn around and head out for the morning. I was really struggling to make it back to the Jeep because of the lingering side effects of the vaccine. I was kicking myself for leaving my first set up. I could only imagine that the smart old bird had saw me when I shifted locations.
It was getting down to the wire for me on the last week of the season. I stayed out of my main hunting area in the mornings on Saturdays as the area receives a lot of hunting pressure. I could only hope that no other hunters were on to my target gobbler. I wanted him bad. I tried a few other areas and came up empty handed. It seemed as if the hunting pressure on the State Game Lands near my camp was even worse than my favorite hunting areas. On the morning of May 26th, I decided it was going to be the day that the gobbler that had been driving me nuts was going to die. As I walked to my Jeep, a gobbler sounded off behind the house. I jetted up the hill to where I thought for sure he would be and got within 35 yards or so of his roost. I did some light calling and he answered every time. He flew down and went the exact opposite way. I never heard him fly down, either. I ran as fast as I could up the mountain to try and cut him off. I hit a logging road that I thought he was on and called him back to around 30 yards, but he took a 90 degree turn out to a clear cut that would make him nearly impossible to kill. I gave it a shot but figured I would end up spooking him and decided to go back to the house. That evening a storm front rolled in, and heavy down pours were present all evening. I figured the conditions would be perfect for the big silent bird. I knew he would hit the field to dry his feathers.