Good Busts Gone Bad

There are many reasons why excellent scatters can prove non-productive, and strategies exist to remedy these situations. Take a look at what to do given you run into a situation like the ones below.

You’ve broken up a flock of mature gobblers.

This event is also an opportunity. Old gobblers are the most difficult creatures in the fall woods to kill and you may need to devote an entire day, maybe two, to old gobblers. Set up at the scatter site and make coarse clucks and slow, deep yelps. Mature fall gobblers can come in all kinds of ways: strutting, drumming and gobbling. Use a slate call and deep-cut or serrated diaphragms to create coarse clucks.

You hear a hen’s assembly yelp.

A mature hen’s assembly yelp is a series of 12 to 18 yelps that rise in volume then descends. This can be a dispiriting sound because all the jakes and jennies know their mother hen’s voice and will return to her. That makes the solution simple. When you hear her sound off, stop whatever you are doing and run her off. Don’t worry about spooking her young; Making her leave is top priority.

You hear mature hen yelps and clucks.

A flock of old hens is not quite as hard to kill as a flock of gobblers, but they’re close. When you encounter mature hens, mimic whatever sound at whatever volume they are making. Imitate their clucks and purrs, and it may help you attract a scattered flock of adult hens.

You only hear jake sounds.

Sometimes following a scatter, you only will hear jake sounds, such as hoarse half-gobbles and raspy kee-kees or yelps. Naturally, during the fall or winter, jakes leave their maternal hen’s congregation and strike out in bachelor flocks, this mean there is no consistency to their behavior or calling. Don’t pay attention to the sounds the jakes are making. Your goal is to be loud and aggressive in making sounds. Don’t tone down your calls. Sound like the boss jake. Make them trust you, and they’ll come to you.

You stop hearing kee-kees from young birds.

Sometimes after a scatter, the sound of jakes and jennies goes silent. This likely means some of the birds have re-assembled, even if in small groups of two to four birds. Chances are, your bust wasn’t as good as you thought. Either attempt to scatter it again, or — and this is the better solution — try to call in those subgroups of two to four birds.

The best advice to give overall, sometimes the reason a good bust goes bad is that you simply didn’t wait long enough at the scatter sight.

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