Judging Gobbling Distances For Turkey Hunting
The most anticipated sound in the turkey hunting woods is the gobble made by an interested gobbler. Each season hunters spend hours of daylight listening for gobbling activity. When gobbles occur, the hunter must then be able to judge the distances of how far away the gobbler is in order to locate a good hunting area.
Since there are many variables that can come into play, being able to judge gobble distances can be challenging and take some time to learn. From the most part this will come from experience in the turkey woods. Often the hunter can be fooled when it comes to accurately determining distances. The gobbler may appear either closer or further away than he actually is.
There are two main factors that alter the gobbling sounds. The first is the actual standing position of the turkey in relations to where the hunter is located and listening from. If the gobbler is facing away from the hunter while gobbling, then the gobbles may appear further away than they actually are. If the gobbler is facing the hunter, the sounds may appear closer.
This misinterpretation can occur often when listening to a gobbler on the roost. Many times the gobbler is facing away from the hunter, upon gobbling, the hunter will move towards the gobbler thinking that the gobbler is several hundred yards away. While searching for a setup spot, the hunter spooks the gobbler off the roost and the hunt is over.
The second factor with distance judging is the terrain. Depending upon how early the turkey hunting season starts in a certain area, the terrain may or may not be full of new spring growth. As the leaves on trees and undergrowth is developed, gobble sounds will be muffled. As this occurs, being able to pinpoint a gobblers location can be misjudged. In most cases the gobbler will be closer than he appears.
Another part of terrain is how it is made up. If there are ridges or hills, then there are also lower level areas. If the gobbler is standing in a low area a couple ridges away, then the gobbles will again be muffled giving the appearance of being further away. If the gobbler is on top of the ridge, the sounds will appear closer. Other terrain changes that a gobble may bounce off of will also distort gobble sounds.
Generally, most hunters will learn to judge gobble sound distances through trial and error. By spending time in the turkey woods either out scouting or during the actual hunt, the hunter will become familiar with turkey positioning, the make up of the terrain, and how each will effect the distances of how far away the gobbles actually are.
By listening to gobbling activity, knowing the area, and making a good estimate on the ranges, the hunter will be able to have a better idea for setup areas for turkeys. When unsure, it is always better to stay further away than to get in too close.