Mid-Season Gobblers

Mid-season, New England turkeys are frustrations with wings. This is not a place for a rank amateur. Time to call for reinforcements--Ray Eye arrives in New England.
The tranquil and picturesque turkey hunting canvass of last Saturday turned into a howling mini-noreaster, without the rain, by Sunday morning.
There's nothing quite like the vibrant greens of freshly popped leaves near a rushing trout stream.
This beauty is loaded with native brookies.
One of our favorite hunting areas of a few seasons ago. Multiple gobblers would roost in the white pines alongside this beaver pond.
Perfect roosting time. Never one for subtly, Eye begins calling each roost location with great horned owl hoots to start and the quickly throws in barred owl calls and finally aggressive cutting. We managed to roost multiple gobblers three nights running.
Camp was just not the same without our brother Tommy. He is dearly missed but was with us everyday. We thought of him every time we heard a turkey gobble.
Tommy was one of the founding members of the Nomads hunting club which was largely comprised of a bunch of guys who know exactly how to hunt hard and have a good time.
A New England landscape in a howling wind.
Ray and I both wondered aloud just how many gobblers were roaming this same woods when these folks died in the mid to late-1800s.
Pre-dawn on the first morning's hunt. We set up on a field edge where we had roosted a couple of birds the evening prior. First gobbling was at 5:08.
Patience is most definitely a virtue when it comes to mid-season gobblers, but neither Ray nor I do very well in that category. When our birds didn't show up in the first hour of the day, we took a quick run back to camp for some early morning sustenance. Hot coffee on a chilly morning did the trick.
When the first morning's field hunt didn't quite work out as planned, Ray and Gary Ruef hunkered down on the other end of the same field on morning two. A couple of adult gobblers had given us the slip, but Eye and Ruef were determined to not let it happen again.
With a lone hen decoy deployed about 15 yards from their 'sniper's nest,' Eye arranged his call kit which consisted of a simple, yet awesome-sounding, box call, a Ring Zone slate and his hand-tuned diaphragms. The battle began just 1/2 hour before mandatory quitting time when after a solid hour of calling, two gobblers signaled their arrival.
Three adults suddenly appeared at the field edge--gobbling and strutting toward the hunters. Although a bit goosey at the sight of the deke, Eye's hard cutts and clucks made them commit. The result? A perfect New England double!
Ray Eye: "The key to mid-season birds is patience and persistence with a good dose of luck. Birds now are in mid-breeding and it's likely to be a lot quieter in these woods after flydown because they're all with the hens. The best options are to keep moving to try and find lonely birds or stick it out where you've patterned gobblers in the past and wait for their hens to leave them to go to nest. Either strategy can work."

Once you hit the halfway point of spring turkey season, the dumb birds are gone, the old birds won't gobble and all the rest are henned up. Give up? Not on your life.