Final week we went to the turkey-crazy state of Pennsylvania for Day-4 ways in our Finest Days of the Strut collection. Now it’s time to dive into Day 5 with an professional from the opposite facet of the nation: Washington gobbler guru Garry Greenwalt.

The start of Could is an thrilling time to be looking turkeys nearly in all places. Northeast hunters, who’ve been anxiously awaiting their Could Day openers, lastly have the inexperienced mild. Hunters within the Midwest and prairie states might have battled dicey situations in April, however Could sometimes brings among the spring’s best climate and consequent uptick in gobbler exercise. Issues could also be winding down within the Deep South, however there’s nonetheless some high-quality looking available, together with a shot at that dominant tom who’s all of a sudden lonely with so many hens tending their nests. In Greenwalt’s a part of the world, it’s prime time—a lot in order that tomorrow, Could 2, is his choose for the most effective day to be working a gobbler.

The Professional: Garry Greenwalt, Washington and Idaho

Gary Greenwalt with an enormous Idaho tom, taken with a bow. Gary Greenwalt

A famous whitetail clothing store, Washington native Garry Greenwalt has hunted all method of huge sport all throughout the West and Alaska. Nonetheless, Greenwalt stays a hardcore turkey nut who guides turkey hunters and can be a high-quality name maker. Greenwalt has killed 45 gobblers with a bow, many with out using a blind. Whereas he focuses on the mountain birds of Washington and Idaho, Greenwalt has tagged toms throughout their vary.   

Strut Stage: Speedy Put up-Peak Breeding

Many turkey nuts take into account this among the greatest looking of the spring. Simply previous the height of the bell-shaped curve that represents the annual breeding cycle, hens will start nesting. Which means whereas they might nonetheless run to gobblers sooner or later within the day, hens are additionally busy laying their day by day egg and leaving gobblers alone within the meantime. Up up to now, the oldest and most dominant toms have been in a position to plant their ft and await hens to return to them. That each one begins altering now, and toms hesitant to maneuver towards a yelping hen earlier are beginning to be taught that getting cellular is perhaps the one method to discover a mate.

Knowledgeable Tactic: Climb Excessive to Tag a Mountain Tom

photo of hunters walking out with turkeys
Greenwalt and a good friend stroll out with a pair of toms. Gary Greenwalt

Topography impacts the motion of all wildlife and any time that panorama is extreme, it might throw a severe curveball at hunters from flatter habitats. However Greenwalt’s says the reply is easy, so long as you’re prepared to work for it. “I virtually by no means surrender elevation on a gobbler,” he says. “9 instances out of ten, one of the best ways to kill him is to get above him, so meaning climbing.”

With turkey numbers not evenly distributed throughout the panorama, Greenwalt depends closely on scouting to maintain him into birds. “I focus rather a lot on south- and southwest-facing slopes, since these are the primary to heat up,” he says. “This exposes meals sources engaging to turkeys, like the primary inexperienced grasses and forbs, in addition to insect life. Gobblers are much less keen on feeding than they’re breeding, however hens are considering of nesting and can all the time comply with the meals. Excessive-protein bugs just like the season’s first grasshoppers, and even snails, could make all of the distinction. I prefer to scout logging roads alongside these slopes to seek out good turkey signal, and if the birds aren’t gobbling, I take advantage of a locator name to fireplace one up. I’ve a $7 goose name that’s been the most effective locator name I’ve ever used.”

As soon as he strikes a tom, Greenwalt strikes to get above him earlier than yelping him in. “One of many causes I not often hunt with a blind is as a result of I must journey mild within the mountains,” he says. “I search for a pine with low-hanging branches which are within the shade, then tuck in there. I place my decoys—often a breeding hen and a strutting jake—inside 5 yards of my setup. That method, if a tom locks up exterior the unfold, he’s often nonetheless inside bow vary. As quickly as he goes into strut or strikes behind a tree, I draw my bow and await the shot.”

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