May 27, 2010
Nate Garrett: The Gobbler That Wouldn't Shut Up.
By Nate Garrett
A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Tamarack Preserve in upstate New York with the Generation Wild pro staffers. We were after New York gobblers. After arriving at the hotel I knew that I was going to be tired so I went ahead on to bed. After thinking I had set my alarm clock for 3:30 a.m., I went to bed. After just a few hours of sleep I suddenly woke up and not remembering the alarm going off. I looked at the clock…and it was 4:00 a.m. right on the money, which is when we were all supposed to meet at the hotel lobby. I knew someone wanted me up to go turkey hunting. So I scrambled around the room throwing clothes on and getting my turkey hunting stuff ready to hit the field.
Once we arrived at Tamarack we were assigned our guides, and I would hunt with F&S senior editor, Colin Kearns, and Tim Bontecou, of Tamarack. We quickly left for the woods, as the sun was rising fast. After we parked, we started walking and occasionally Tim would stop and make an owl call. The first few times we did not hear a gobble, but when we finally did it was about 300 yards away from the truck. So we headed back towards the truck.
The bird had probably gobbled 20 times before we had got very close to him. Tim decided to head up the hill to try and set up for the bird. This bird would not shut up. It gobbled constantly at anything and everything. As soon as we got set up with the decoys, the bird had traveled to left of us about 100 yards. Tim called some more, but the bird would not come down the hill and he still was to the left of us. So Time decided to move and set up right below the bird to try and get him to come down the hill. Once again, though, the bird moved. But it would not stop gobbling!
After hearing more and more gobbles, the bird wasn’t coming any closer. So we moved again. The bird was on the hill right above us gobbling his head off and not coming down. We decided to move up to close the distance. We set up again, but the bird just did not move. But he kept gobbling and gobbling. All of a sudden, we heard a hen. If the gobbler wasn’t going crazy before, he was now.
After 15 minutes of this, we moved up the hill some more. Tim told me to sneak up to a tree that was on the hill looking up to the top. And this bird had to be right over that hill line. After more and more gobbling and staying still, the bird finally gave up and slowly walked down the hill. I could not see him come over the hill because there was a big thorn bush in the way. I knew I could not move because his gobble sounded like it was literally right on top of me. And I did not know which way the bird was coming from so I just sat with my gun ready to go.
I heard some branches crack and leaves move and I knew this bird was close real close. But I could not see him. Finally, that bright head pops out to the left of me. I was pointing 90 degrees to the right, so I made a real quick move and shot.
I got up to go see the bird, and as soon as I saw him I could tell he was a nice one. He had about 9-inch beard, 7/8-inch spurs and weighed about 19 pounds. Which I thought was a good bird. Tim, Colin, and I talked about how awesome the hunt was and how we’d never heard a bird gobble so much. We estimated that he gobbled about 250 times in just a couple of hours. After taking pictures, we loaded up and headed back to the lodge to meet up with the rest of the staffers. We weighed and measured the tom and Tim was right on the money for everything. This was one of those hunts that I will remember for the rest of my life.