Yesterday I got up before daylight to go listen for a turkey to gobble. Locating turkeys before the season will increase your odds of bagging an old gobbler, so knowing where he is likely to roost and where he wants to go when he flies down is critical to me.
Lately, I have been scouting for the “Youth Hunt,” which was supposed to be this Saturday and Sunday. I had scheduled a hunt for a previous hunter’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Natalie. Mike and Natalie are from Georgia, and last fall, he was able to harvest a seven-point buck. I was looking forward to seeing him again, and helping Natalie bag her first turkey, but unfortunately, the Coronavirus has changed those plans. Kentucky’s opening day of the regular turkey season is April 18th. I had an Indiana hunter booked for a three-day hunt with me for that weekend, and I had a hunt scheduled in Nebraska between those two hunts for myself. Instead, I’ll remain on my farm and social distant myself by hunting on my own.
This morning, as it was breaking day, I sat listening in anticipation for an old “thunder chicken” to gobble, but he didn’t. I could hear a towboat pushing barges up the Cumberland River, and I heard other birds as they were waking up, but no turkeys. I let out an owl hoot in hopes to shock an old Tom into gobbling, but my owl call didn’t work. Sometimes an owl call, crow call, coyote call, and/or peacock call will make a turkey gobble – it’s referred to as a ‘shock gobble.’ My guess is that the warm overnight temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees for the past few days had been good for turkeys, but this morning it was 37 degrees, so it must have given them lockjaw! The gobblers are there, but they weren’t going to give up their location today. Temperatures and precipitation are two things that have a significant impact on turkeys (and wildlife in general).
Despite the lack of gobbling, I count myself blessed that, through all of the world’s problems, I get to enjoy a beautiful sunrise and listen to God’s creation waking up for another day.