Within the first seconds of calling, the gobbler, regardless of whether or not in strut, would gobble and turn my way as if he was going to break away and close the distance toward me. However, the hen would simultaneously stop feeding and walk in the direct opposite direction of which I called, creating an urgent decision for the longbeard between me and her, and ultimately winning every last one of them. Keep in mind that this occurred in the early half of the season, during peak breeding periods, rather than nesting. Even still, she never responded vocally, never cut back at me, and on a few occasions never even picked her head up before pivoting to whichever way I was not. It really was as if I were playing a witty game of keep-away with a sarcastic Eastern Wild Turkey.
Henned-up gobblers can be a pain, but a single gobbler with a solo jealous hen can take stubbornness to the next level, emphasizing the old saying of “it’s hard to compete with the real thing”. Sometimes, you can use it to your advantage and get the opposing hen fired-up enough to bring them both in, but sometimes she’ll do anything she can to keep him from exploring other options, as in this hunt’s case. We literally made circles around each other before I finally put the calls down completely and relied on crows, woodpeckers, and other inducers of shock-gobbles to patiently gain ground and eventually get in line with them and take a clean shot.
While there was nothing textbook about this hunt, it was still fun to unexpectedly break away from the usual and ultimately find a way to make it happen. This just goes to show that, while the ability to call turkeys is vastly important to successful turkey hunting, woodsmanship and the ability to adapt to each scenario are more than enough to get things done in the turkey woods. So don’t be discouraged if you feel like your calling abilities aren’t as good as others, just use your strengths until your weaknesses catch up in due time.