Two-man Stalks for Hung-up Gobblers

A hung-upgobbler--one that responds to your calls but stays just out of gun range--is amaddening problem. If you have a hunting buddy, though, here's a solution.Follow the tag-team strategy detailed here to get a shot at the most reluctantgobbler.

[The Layout]

HARDWOODSAMBUSH After a gobbler refuses to close to within gun range, it will frequently headto a strutting area, such as a knoll of open hardwoods. Here, Hunter B coulddrop through the thick woods, cross the creek, and circle wide to theknoll.

FUNNELAMBUSH If you don't know a tom's strutting areas, you may be able to intercept himalong a funnel, such as an opening or path leading from one field to another.Hunter B should approach the opening from behind the hedgerow.

HUNG-UP TOM Often, a mature tom will come within 60 or 70 yards of your position but refuseto come any closer. As it holds its ground or moves away, though, it maycontinue to gobble.

LOGGING-ROADAMBUSH Consider yourself lucky if a tom's gobbling reveals that he's heading toward anold logging road. These are excellent places to set up an ambush. Gobblersoften have strutting areas along them, and they funnel a bird's movement.

[TheStrategy]

FIRST STEP Once it's clear to both hunters that a gobbler is hung up, Hunter A stays putand tries to keep the bird gobbling occasionally--without calling it back in--byusing locator calls only.

NEXT MOVE As long as the bird is gobbling, Hunter B will know its location and directionof movement toward sites at which it can be ambushed, such as the three shownabove. Here, Hunter B sneaks around to intercept the bird as it heads up thelogging road.

USE THECOVER Hunter B should use both vegetation and terrain, such as a creek bed or thickpine grove (as in this example) to hide his movements.

LAST CALL In many cases, Hunter B will not have to call at all. But if he's in astrutting zone and the tom is going to pass by out of range, a few soft purrsand clucks--just enough to let the tom know where the new "hen" is--mayfinally bring the stubborn bird down.