Central NM regarding timing. A week ago April 10 late afternoon ~4PM heard some gobbles nearby, called sparingly and eventually a Tom came silent to decoys (half-strut Jake and submissive hen). Daughter missed - had a sight issue we have since corrected. 3 other Toms meandered around us and we could glimpse them occasionally but they wouldn't come to decoys. I'd call sparingly and they'd gobble but not come close. I typically don't call once Toms have gobbled; wanting to make them come searching, but as it got later and later I figured nothing to lose so called more to try and entice them over before they headed to roost. They'd gobble every time and were within 30-80 yards but were obviously just scratching and feeding with no interest. Eventually they roosted 200 yards away.
A week later yesterday evening got a very late start after homework etc. Weather cooler than it had been but still in the 50s, partly sunny and no wind. Set up about 5pm and heard a gobble almost immediately before we even called. Just getting ready to call and I spotted turkeys moving 30 yards away through sides of brush blind. They should have been able to see decoy (half-strut Jake and submissive hen), but they appeared to be just passing by. I gave just a tiny cluck, they gobbled, but continued moving through the brush (area is relatively thick with only a small opening we were set up in). It was 3 Toms I'm fairly certain the same 3 as a week prior. They scratched and fed around us, I'm 100% certain they could see the decoys several times, but they didn't pay them much attention and wouldn't come to them. These had full beards and weren't Jakes of that I'm postitive. They meandered around us for over an hour. Sometimes 15-30 yards, sometimes out of sight. We could see them through brush occasionally, but they never came to decoys.
Every 10-15 min if we couldn't see them I'd give a little cluck or yelp and they'd gobble immediately just out of sight but obviously weren't interested.
Eventually they meandered down into a nearby drainage and roosted about 745PM. Then they gobbled like crazy for a long time. We did hear a couple of hen calls so hens must have come from somewhere to join them or roost nearby.
Why weren't the Toms interested? Besides "that's turkeys for you"? Anything I could have done to make them come in? We'll try the area again next weekend.
The only thing that's ever worked for me in that scenario, was going straight to them when they are gobbling, after they walked off. Sometimes, when they hear your footsteps coming, they'll run right at you (I usually "walk and cluck"). Since it's a "no blind" situation at that point, you've got to try to get a shooter out front, and call/ scrape the ground from behind.
I agree less likely to come to decoys in evenings, but many times that's the only time we can hunt due to school, athletics, etc. And I have had success at times in the afternoon/evening. We will definitely try earlier when we can. I did hit the area one morning last week and heard FAINT gobbling before daylight, so they weren't quite roosted as close in the same area but at least the vicinity. Once I got them to respond I stayed quiet but they took off to locations unknown and didn't come my way before I had to pull out to leave at 930am. Sunrise is about 630am BTW.
They don't roost in the same area (I don't know where else they go, it's hard to pattern them - I've tried A LOT), let alone the same tree, but when they are in the area I know the general batch of trees. Problem is it's WAY too thick to set up anywhere except where we are at. Just no shooting lanes.
As far as going after them, it's pretty thick for any shots and that scenario doesn't work for my daughter - I need to give her a close, controlled shot.
While I'm on the topic of getting input. I have hunted this area for many, many years. Sometimes action, other times not. I have hiked and explored the area very hard. I have never found ANY water source. I have no idea where they could be drinking within 1+ mile radius. Maybe they do travel a long way for water and that is why sometimes I can't locate them. But how far might they go for water any ideas?
Keep the ideas coming! Thx
t-roy this particular batch of 3 were Toms no hens, we saw them on multiple occasions around us and no hens. There were apparently hens somewhere in the area because we heard them once the Toms were roosted.
Just looking for reasons Toms wouldn't be interested. I whispered to my daughter "I don't know, they must be gay" and we had to hold back our chuckling.