Experience, gained from time afield, provides the proven tactics to bag a spring gobbler.
Story and Photography by Bob Zaiglin
As my close friend Johnny Syrek and I negotiated our way up a steep slope high on the timbered mountainside outside of Emporium, Pennsylvania, our goal was to locate one of the region’s most glamorous inhabitants—an Eastern turkey.
It was a sunny, crystal clear spring morning with a slight chill accompanying a light breeze. A cacophony of bird songs filled the air, but none were as attractive to us as the loud double gobble that shattered the placid morning. Rapidly searching for a place of concealment, the rush of adrenalin was overwhelming. Negotiating the mountain was no longer an effort as the surge of excitement eclipsed the force of gravity I had experienced moments earlier.
Once set up, Johnny took out his box call and began to gently slide the well-chalked wooden handle over the edge of the caller, emitting several soft yelps that were interrupted by a thunderous gobble below and just out of sight — but close, real close! A novice turkey hunter hoping to get a shot at a long beard, my heart raced as the gobbles intensified, as I realized that I may actually get the opportunity to collect my first turkey.