A Tale of Two Very Different Mountain Gobblers


Senior Member
Last week I hunted two gobblers in the public mountains, each different in their own unique way.
The first, lived in what we call the "big woods". The "big woods" are nothing more than a generic term for very large unbroken blocks of what is almost always public mountains with no features of diversity like cutovers, fields or food plots and mostly big Oaks, Poplars, Locusts and Hemlock. You can walk for miles in the big woods without coming across a road of any kind. There's no yapping dogs or lawn mowers in the big woods, just the sounds of a wood thrush, songbirds, the occasional drumming of a Roughed Grouse and if I'm most fortunate, a gobbling turkey.

This first gobbler was mostly reserved and only letting out a courtesy gobble mid morning from a distance of about 300 yards. Having killed many gobblers from these big woods I certainly knew exactly what this turkey was going to do. He was going to come up the opposite ridge and horseshoe around behind me to get the high ground. I quickly set out to preempt his strategy and cut him off on the rim of "his" ridge before he could get around my setup. If there's one thing I've learned in 30 years of chasing mountain turkeys is that the only thing predictable is that they're unpredictable. Not only did he not do what was expected, in short order he let out a thunderous gobble mere yards from where I let out my first soft seductive hen yelps. The only thing left to do was use the terrain to my advantage and try to get back close to my original setup. Once the relocate was successful without spooking him, I crow called to get him to reveal his location and got an immediate response 60 yards below. Some of the lightest softest yelps I could muster came from my lips and he was interested. A quiet and cautious approach was negated by tips of tail fan over top of the ridge keeping his head under the crest just long enough for me to slightly reposition my shotgun. Like mountain gobblers do he slowly eased his head up over the ridge just enough to investigate the genesis of the hen sounds that he was positive would be there, and when my shotgun rang out and 1 7/8 ounces of #6 shot found its mark, there was only the sound of my beating heart and a flopping Long Bearded Gobbler in the Big Woods.


Three days after the Big Woods Gobbler met his demise, I had little time as I had to be at work at noon. I needed somewhere close, a place I could get out quickly and back home in time to prepare for work. At daylight I found myself on a mountain WMA in a place I knew well and had recently scouted with my huntin' buddy and a place where he had already spent a few mornings this season and was able to provide some intel. Unlike the big woods gobbler, this Tom gobbled like a maniac. He gobbled almost non-stop until his feet hit the ground. I nearly made the mistake of getting too close and as the sun began creeping over the mountains to my east I could see him strutting on the limb and gobbling at anything that had the gall to utter a peep in or around his holler. You see, this turkey was roosted within a few hundred yards of a busy forest service road and I wanted nothing more for him to be quiet as to not attract other hunters. In what seemed like an eternity, the gobbler finally pitched down giving me a brief opportunity to reposition and steady my shotgun. I let out several soft clucks and scratched the leaves at my side and soon I heard the distinct sound of a Tom drumming. Unlike the big woods gobbler 3 days before, this turkey's approach was much less cautious and once again my #6 shot connected at a mere 15 yards at just a hair after 7:30 am. The time for celebrating was brief but I managed a selfie, thanked The Good Lord and headed towards home to get the bird dressed. What an amazing week it was and I'm blessed beyond belief to get to hunt turkeys in what I believe to be among some of the most beautiful country in the state.

Last edited:


“Well Rounded Outdoorsman MOD “
Staff member
Beautiful gobbler and pictures , congrats !
This ol out of shape flat lander has hiked around those hills a few times looking for my first bear , and I’ve always said , a gobbler would kill me in these hills !


Can't count how many times birds have done the exact same thing as your first bird did.



Senior Member
Great story bud. always luv ur pics too