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The Mind of a Tom

This Turkey Tuesday is about trying to predict what’s going on in the mind of that tom – those maddening mind games that make turkey hunting so addictive. Turkey hunters fully understand how unpredictable toms can be, as sometimes they fly down and move long distances when they seem to vanish, and sometimes they don’t seem to move at all for hours. Ongoing research shows us how 3 toms behave in a single day in March, and it’s pretty interesting. In the video, note that at fly down 2 birds are together and one is roosted alone. They fly down, get together after a bit, then move quickly to the west and north before spending time revisiting the same area – back and forth. These recursive movements where turkeys revisit areas seem to be common from the time they’re first hatched, and these 3 toms show multiple examples of what that looks like as they move back and forth within their daily range – presumably displaying for hens that they’re shadowing. As the day winds down, they move quickly north and end up roosting alone but close to each other. All of these movements occurred within 1 mile, and the recursive movements were within just a few hundred yards each time. Don’t know about you, but I’ve sure hunted birds that acted like these 3 toms – fly down, head for the hills, sit in areas and just hang out, head somewhere else, hang out, and roost in a totally different area. Maddening yes, but that’s the fun!

Photo of tom courtesy of Matt Addington.

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