"Late in the season, it might take two or three days before you hear a bird gobble, but if you hear one, nine times out of 10 you're going to kill it unless you do something stupid," Taylor said.
That certainly squares with my experience. The first turkey I ever killed came on the next-to-last day of the season. I didn't know squat about turkey calling at the time, and Frank Addington Sr. volunteered to do the calling for me.
We climbed to the top of a ridge in northern Kanawha County well after sunup. As soon as we caught our breath, Frank yelped a few notes. We listened for a moment, and when we didn't hear any gobbles we walked a couple hundred yards down a gas-well road and Frank called again.
From the nearby bushes, from no more than 40 yards away, a gobbler thundered a response.
Frank and I looked at each other and dove toward the side of the roadway. Seconds after I pulled down my camo face mask and settled into a shooting position, the gobbler came charging out of the weeds.
Not all late-season hunts result in "flash kills," of course, but they certainly can.
Taylor said a more likely scenario would require considerably more patience.
"If you get a [late-season] turkey to answer you, put the call away and don't call any more," he advised. "He knows where you are. It might take him 5 minutes, 50 minutes or 5 hours, but he's going to come over and check you out. He thinks there's a hen where you are, and he's looking to breed her."
Fooling a late-season gobbler, Taylor added, depends more on hunters' stealth and woodsmanship than their calling ability.
"Knowing how to be still and when to stay put really makes a difference. Hunters who do that are the ones who bring home those late-season birds."