March 7, 2002
Well, here we are to start the 2002 Spring Turkey Hunting Diary. I have been really busy with work, the NWTF, and Primos and am a little late in getting started. I have begun to renew my relationships with landowners and hunting friends. Now is also the time to purchase any licenses, especially non-resident. I always at this time of year either begin to scout new areas and review topography maps of the locations I can't visit. I have begun to look at my logs and review when the gobbling started, peeked, etc. It will be here before you know it!
This season I will be hunting in Tennessee, Virginia, and South Carolina. I may end up hunting somewhere else too, you never know! The TN season starts on March 30, then Amy and I will head to SC for a 3 day hunt in early April and then VA comes in on the 13th. Again, I will be making entries to my diary sporadically until the season opens, giving some information on scouting trips, listening trips, and sightings of birds. Once the season begins, unless I am out of town, I will try to make daily updates. I will not use real names or real places in my diary, other than my own name, to protect the innocent. :o) I hope this diary will be entertainment for some of you and maybe someone can even learn something. Entries to the diary will probably pickup about mid-March and continue on until the end of the season. I will start to give my gobbling reports and my thoughts on what the birds are doing. If anyone has any questions or comments please email me!
I look forward to sharing this season with you...
On March 6th I heard my first gobbles of the year... It was a group of gobblers together that gobbled a few times from the roost. They are still quite a ways from serious gobbling. I am still seeing large family groups of birds without a gobbler in the bunch. Pretty soon you will begin to see the gobblers strutting along with these family flocks, but don't despair... the breeding will only start when the hens are ready. (Breeding is triggered mostly by the length of the days, and can be affected a by the weather) Those gobblers will follow them around for a while before the hens show any interest in them. Once those large family groups start breaking up then you know it's close to happening.
March 14, 2002
Well... the birds are starting to gobble a little more now. I am still seeing large family flocks, but they are having several big gobblers strutting with them. Roost gobbling is what I am hearing and once they hit the ground- nothing. Pretty typical for this time of year. Tomorrow should be a great morning for listening and this weekend should be good too. Any morning you can get out between now and the opener of the season you should do it... Friend in TN has been out scouting several times and is seeing/hearing good numbers of birds down there.
I get to meet a lot of you out there by attending shows and seminars across the state and in other states. Just wanted to pass along my remaining seminar/show schedule-
March 15- Roanoke Valley NWTF Banquet- Roanoke, VA. 6:00 PM
March 16- County Farm Service Wildlife Management Expo- Culpeper, VA 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
March 19- Augusta Co-Op Seminar- Scottsville, VA 6:30 PM
March 22- Bedford Walmart Seminar- Bedford, VA 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM
March 23- Charlotte Hunting & Fishing Show- Charlotte, NC 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
March 24- Dicks Sporting Goods Seminar- Lynchburg, VA 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
For more information on any of the above events please email me!
Hope to see some of you there!
March 20, 2002
I'm starting to see a few smaller flocks which indicates the birds are starting to break up into their breeding flocks. This cold/rainy weather has slowed down the gobbling some but the gobblers are really showing for the hens now. A break in this weather and the birds should really start gobbling well. I saw 3 flocks this AM in the same field- 1 flock had about 30 juvenile birds in it, another flock was 4 gobblers, and the other flock was 2 big strutting longbeards with about 8 hens. Hopefully the weather will clear and I can give you a little better idea of birds that I am hearing. In 10 days I'll be hunting in TN... ;o)
March 25, 2002
Starting to hear the birds gobble a little better now and heard a bird gobble for quite some time once he was on the ground this morning. Also starting to see some birds in places where they are not normally seen and that means the gobbler flocks are breaking up and pecking orders are being finalized for breeding rights. The losers have to go find a new stomping ground for a while. You should really be out listening for birds any chance you get now. I'll be heading to TN on Friday night and will probably not be able to give reports until the middle of next week. I'll try to give a few more reports this week before I leave. I finished up my show/seminar season yesterday so now I can concentrate on hunting!
March 29, 2002
Well, the birds gobbled well this AM... I guess the warm weather got them a little fired up. I heard 5 or 6 birds this AM and 1 gobbled really well! I'm leaving for TN this afternoon for a 4 day hunt with a friend down there... I'll give a update when I get back next Wednesday. It looks like rain for this weekend down there so we might get a little damp but we will be out there. The season is here!
April 4, 2002
do I start! A lot happened on my 4 day trip to TN...
The whole 4 days I was hunting with GN. His son joined us for opening day only. The night before opening day there were terrific thunderstorms in the East TN area, but the rain had slacked at daylight and we heard a bunch of birds gobbling and got setup on the 3 closest. They had hens on the other side of them from us and after 200 gobbles finally flew down and went the other direction. We took up chase and then struck 2 new gobbling birds that were gobbling fairly well. Keeping in touch with a locator, we setup on them and they came to about 60 yards once and then, as it started to rain, drifted off towards a pasture that we did not have permission to hunt. We tried to stay above them and intercept them, and sort of got to the end of the ridge where the woods broke out in to pasture edge and there was THE FENCE that separated the two. Our hope was that the birds would ease up the hill to our calls on our side of the fence before they got in to the pasture. GN's son, as the designated shooter, and GN and I were calling softly 30 yds behind him. The birds were gobbling hard and coming- but which side of the fence were they on? When they topped the hill at 25 yds they were on the wrong side for us and GN's son had a gun on them as they put on a show in the field and then drifted off when they finally spotted something that wasn't quite right and left the scene. Whew! As GN said, we got everything out of that hunt but a bird to clean. It was a very exciting hunt! As the rain and fog started in the birds pretty much shut down after that and we couldn't get a bird to gobble. Basically, the weather was against us for the first 2 days. Later that opening day GN and I setup on a green-field with a blind and some decoys. After a while GN says- "There they are!" It was 2 gobblers on top of the hill, but they didn't like something about our setup and went back into the woods on the other side. It was a good opener but no birds tagged.
The next morning was cold and wet and GN and I setup on the edge of a green-field in THE RAIN in the morning. We had a few birds gobbling on the roost but it was cold, wet, and nasty. They had hens and once on the ground we never heard another gobble. Later that morning I got a jake to answer my calls with some yelps. These yelps were very familiar as they were the yelps of a jake when a strutting longbeard is nearby. The big gobbler never gobbled but I kept up with them by listening for the jake yelp. I slipped into position and then spotted 2 big longbeards, 2 hens, and the jake. I had them at 50-55 twice but could never get them close enough to where I felt I could close the deal. It was a fun hunt! That afternoon we left to head to middle TN to hunt an area down there.
Sunday evening it was still raining hard in middle TN and we got in 20 minutes of scouting when we got there that evening. Neither of us had ever seen this place before, but we found a bunch of fresh tracks in a logging road. So that is where we decided to be standing at daylight on Monday. Monday broke cool, and clear skies overhead, some fog, but with GN's dreaded east wind. When the gobbling started there were several birds within 300-400 yds but none close enough to set-up on with confidence, and we felt the hens would be with the bird really quick. GN thought we should make a move. It was a good one. We slipped around the ridge in big woods and were trying to get to the corner of a small green field near the dam of a pond sort of on the edge of an area where the gobbling seemed most concentrated, as we knew the birds were likely to head for a field in the wet conditions. As we eased to the field below us we were concerned about staying low and out of sight till we got to the field edge. As we eased down a logging road, GN found THE DITCH that we could get in and get fairly close to the corner where he thought the birds would come out. We never quite got down there as far as we wanted. As we were heading down the ditch a REALLY close gobble caused us to drop in the mud and get the guns up. I was following GN down the ditch so he was in front and downhill. I would cover the hillside to our right and he had about a 30 yd shooting window in front of him. A few soft yelps later and 3 gobblers step into the corner on the pond edge and GN lets the largest bird have it at about 30 yards. It was a super bird- 22-1/2 lbs, 1-3/8" spurs, and a 9" beard. This all happened about 20 minutes after the first gobbles of the day. It was a really exciting hunt with several gobbling birds. Here is a picture of me with GN's bird...
After tagging his bird we took off to find me one but after the birds flew down they got pretty quiet. And it was open fields, with no leaves out, and big woods so it was difficult to move a lot without spooking birds. We heard a few more birds and worked one in a little hollow that refused to leave it. We then headed back to an area we had found a lot of sign and setup to blind call for a while at about 11 am. After about ½ hour a bird gobbled way in the hollow below us. The next gobble was closer, and the next gobble was really close. Finally I spotted him coming through the edge of the field to us. This is THE TRACTOR part of the story and here is where it went really bad... the bird was closing pretty quick coming 200 yds, we guessed in five minutes, but when he was 60 yards out the farmer pulls the diesel into the pasture 200 yds behind us to feed hay to the cattle and the bird stops dead in his tracks and marches back into the field and on in to deeper woods, heading straight away from us! We almost had him, but that's turkey hunting! We then went to have some lunch and on the way back we had an awesome experience- while driving down a gravel road that goes through the farm GN says "Look standing there!" It was 3 big gobblers standing right on the side of the road across a fence. This wasn't unusual but when they started gobbling at the truck that was something. They stood right there and gobbled in unison several times from no more than 20 yards. Here is a picture of them...
That afternoon we setup in a likely area again close to where we had seen all the tracks the evening before and later in the afternoon we had a few gobbles from a bird in a green field that we could not move on because it was so open, but nothing came to our setup back in the woods a bit. We stuck around until fly-up and although we could hear fly-ups and gobbles from different directions and roosted several birds, I had my sights on one in particular in "the Tractor Field" that I was holding a little grudge against! ;o) So GN went on to tell me he had rarely if ever killed a roosted bird and I told him I was often successful with it. But we thought out a plan for the next morning and it worked to perfection! It was going to be clear and light wind but a half full moon would illuminate the field, so we planned to leave at least an hour earlier than normal, get in the field, along the edge and hopefully be able to use the moon shadows on the edge of the field to hide our entry along the edge and get decoys in a point on the field where any bird around it could see them at daylight.
THE BATTLEFIELD: The next morning we went in early - early and set out 2 hens and a jake decoy in the corner of the pasture near where we thought the bird was roosted lower along a creek. It was a fairly bright moon but by using the tree shadows I was able to get out in the field a little ways to setup the decoys. As I slipped into my spot, and GN sat up 30 yards behind me, we heard the unmistakable sound of pppffffttttt-vvvvrrrrrrooommmmm! It was a full 30-40 minutes before even the faintest hint of daylight and our bird was already drumming in the tree and I was really close! Well, we had sure underestimated how many birds might be around that field. Even though we had heard only one roost gobble from the area of the field, when birds started gobbling, the place lit up with gobbles from 3 directions! There were at least 8 or more different gobblers roosted around this field. As it got lighter and lighter I finally spotted "my turkey" sitting on the limb strutting for all he was worth at 80 yards! The serenade of gobbles was incredible and it was a show I will never forget. We were getting ready to have big fight in this pasture and we were going to be in the middle of it! I was not in a position to make a call of any kind and GN was just making some soft yelps and purrs on his slate and that's all the calling we would need. Some of the birds starting flying down right in the pasture and began to cross the field towards our set-up. Finally "my bird" pitched down out of the tree and as much as I wanted to watch a huge turkey fight I couldn't stand it. Elvis, Dr Funk, and Hulk Hogan, all rolled in to one, had entered the arena and he was huge. He came up my edge of the field and I took the first clear shot I had. The shot was about 35 yards and it was another beautiful TN turkey- 25 lbs, 10" beard, and 1-1/8" ivory colored spurs. This is the heaviest bird I have ever taken. Here is picture of me and my bird. Also a picture of where I was sitting and a picture of me with both birds...
That morning was a truly memorable experience as was the entire hunt. GN says he has seen some incredible early morning experiences turkey hunting but this last day's hunt is right at the top tier, and I can only say "me too". You have to love it when a plan comes together! Thanks again GN! You are the best!
I haven't done a lot of scouting around home just because I haven't been here. Amy and I are leaving Friday afternoon to hunt in TN Saturday and 1/2 day Sunday. Then we will be heading on to SC for a 3 day hunt down there. That only gives me 3 more days of early morning listening here. Oh well... I'm having a blast!
April 5, 2002
Heard several birds this AM... they all gobbled well on the roost and then shut up when they hit the ground. All the birds that were close to my listening point had hens with them... lots of hens. Saw a big gobbler strutting in a field on Tuesday afternoon with about 20 hens. Hopefully all the hens that are with the gobblers now will be heading of to sit about next Friday!
Amy and I are leaving this afternoon to hunt 2 more days in TN and then head off to SC to hunt Mon-Wed. My next report should be Thursday AM unless I can find a computer down there!
April 11, 2002
Well... a lot happened again on this trip! I'll try to remember most of it! ;o) Saturday and Sunday Amy and I hunted with GN in TN. We had a great time and got on a few birds but the cold weather had them in a bad mood and not willing to cooperate. We called in a hen on Saturday AM while it was about 30 degrees and we were freezing! Sunday AM we heard a few birds gobbling but we think they were bumped by a person on the adjoining property. Sunday afternoon we headed on to SC to hunt with a friend down there.
The first morning in SC we heard several birds gobbling in a creek bottom and we were setup in an ideal position but as most of the time happens it wasn't in the perfect position for the turkeys. However, after a while we had just stood up to stretch and take care of business when I spotted 3 jakes running into the field about 150 yards away. They looked like they were chasing a cow. They went behind a crest in the field and we all got back into position. Our buddy started calling (he is very, very good!) and he had a higher position and could still see the birds. They were coming right to his calling and he was giving the play by play. He was using hen calls and jake yelps and reeled them right in our lap. Amy and I thought it would be great to try and double so we formulated a plan while the birds were 80 yards out. I was to stop them when we both had clear shots and she was to count. Well the birds closed to about 25 yards and I was watching Amy's bird so I could stop them for a shot. The birds got to where we wanted them and we stopped them and Amy counted. At the shots her bird bit the dust and mine flew away. I had been so intent on making sure she got a good shot I think I was watching her bird out of the corner of my eye and didn't really concentrate on my shot. It didn't matter though because she got her bird and I got another opportunity about 1 hour later. Her bird was 13 lbs, 6" beard, and really pointed, ivory colored 3/8" spurs. After getting her bird tagged and everything in order we moved to another location and setup a blind to do some calling. We had not sat there long and I looked to the edge of the field and there stood 2 gobblers. One bird was about half strut and the other was just looking. They came on out into the field and strutted before turning into the woods to circle behind us. Our buddy was watching them the whole time and again giving Amy and I the play by play. They got into the woods and held their ground at about 40 yards. After watching them for quite some time and deciding they weren't coming any closer our buddy got down in the blind and I used him for a rest to take the shot. Our buddy called and got him to raise his head and I took the shot at about 40 yards. It was another great jake- 16 lbs, 6" beard, and 3/8" spurs. We dubbed them the "Super-Jakes" It was a great first morning and the first time Amy and I had taken Spring birds in the same day! In SC you can take 2 birds a day but we were blessed with 2 nice gobblers and called it a day. Thanks Diablo!
The next morning we setup in the creek bottom where we had heard the gobbling from the day before but all was quiet. We decided to change locations and after we crested a ridgeline a bird gobbled. We quickly setup and our buddy did his magic again and called in 2 more jakes. They were gobbling and strutting and really putting on a show. Amy decided to pass on these jakes and we had a little fun with them. After they drifted off another jake came on the scene but quickly spotted something he didn't like and left. We tried several other spots before the rain hit and we went to take a nap!
Wednesday morning was the last day of our hunt and it was a little drizzly. We setup overlooking a creek bottom and heard a bird gobble a few times early but it was pretty quiet. I did find a scorpion I had sat on as we were leaving that setup! Later in the AM we moved to good mid-morning location to setup and do some blind calling. After a while we heard a bird gobble way off and then gobble again closer and closer until Amy spotted coming through a field several hundred yards away. the big gobbler proceeded to go to a spot in the field and strut and gobble until noon. We played cat and mouse with him for several hours before he shut up and we had to head home. It was a very exciting hunt!
We had a great time on our trip and great hunting. We would like to thank GN and Diablo for the wonderful hunting and thanks to Diablo's wonderful family for making us feel like part of the family while we stayed at their house. It's friends like GN, Diablo, and his family that make turkey hunting special. Here are some photos of our SC trip...
We liked this picture so much it is now the front photo for VA Turkey.com!
April 16, 2002
we’ve been really, really busy!
After getting back from our trip to SC I had a couple days to do some last minute scouting and basically just checked out the birds I knew were there. The first 3 days of the VA season have been incredible!
Here is the recap… Friday afternoon I roosted several gobblers, a few jakes, and a large group of hens. Saturday AM Amy and I slipped in fairly close to the roost because we knew they were really henned up. Amy wanted me to do the shooting and I told her to do the calling. After it started to get light we could hear a few birds tree yelping and some jakes yelping. Finally the big boy sounded off and he was about 80-90 yards below us down the mountain. After scanning the treetops below us I finally spotted him strutting on the limb. After good flydown time a bird that we did not know was there flew down to my left and I caught site of it as it pitch into the face of the ridge. Almost immediately the big gobbler flew down and headed toward us. Amy gave a few soft yelps and the bird starting strutting right up the mountain to us. As I am watching the strutter at 60 yards and closing I caught movement to my left. Another turkey was heading towards us and I first thought it was a hen, but as he stepped on the top of the ridge I could clearly see the longbeard. I shifted my gun towards him and at 32 steps I let him have it. The big strutting bird was still about 40 yards out but… “a bird in hand…” The bird was 18 lbs, 10-1/2” beard, and 1” spurs. What a fabulous way to kill a turkey! For Amy to call the bird in was really, really special and I just have to say “Thanks!” After some quick pictures we took off to try and find Amy a bird. We located several throughout the morning but they were all henned up and not cooperating. About 10:00 AM we called it quits. What a great opening day!
Here are some pictures… The picture with the 3 birds was taken later after we saw these friends of ours. The boy on the right is posing with his first turkey, and the boy on the left was with his Dad when he killed his. It was a great morning…
Sunday afternoon I again roosted 2 longbeards on a mountainside and made plans for the morning. I’ll let Amy tell this part-
“After Saturday, I made up my mind that I was going to hunt Monday before I had to work. So, Freddy roosted two birds Sunday night that would be an "easy" spot to get to (for me) before work.
It rained a little last night which quieted the woods down and we got set up this morning with no problem, put up our blind and put out 2 hen decoys. It was foggy this morning but it started lifting just about gobbling time. Which was perfect. We heard the birds spitting and drumming in the tree. The birds pitched down and the show started. Freddy was clucking and yelping to them and sounded too sweet for them to pass up. They were coming our way, I finally spotted them and one of them was strutting and looked as big as a school bus. I got around on the birds and the strutter was about 15 yards out and he dropped out of strut and started looking hard at our setup. I could not get my gun around on him because of a little tree that was just a few inches too close to me, so I opted for the other longbeard behind him. He came out from behind a tree and stopped. I aimed, squeezed the trigger, and MISSED!!!!! I was peeking…and didn't have my head down. ARGH!!!!! And the bird flew away as pretty as you please. So I educated these two birds really well, but I will be at it again tomorrow morning.
Oh well, as I said earlier it was bound to happen sooner or later. I have been fortunate for the last several years not to miss a bird. But I guess I feel a little better knowing that this was a clean miss and he did not fly off wounded.”
That’s the story of the 2nd day.
Monday afternoon I got a call from our friend from SC that was hunting nearby and we decided to get together for a hunt this AM. We again roosted a bird but were unable to get a good fix on his location. We went in early this AM and setup on a ridge that has produced in the past and we heard a few birds sound off including a few jakes and then the hens started flying down and the big boy announced his presence. We did call up a beardless jake to about 35 yards that gobbled some for us but Amy and Jeff passed. After not getting any other birds on the property to cooperate we headed for another spot and after a little work got 2 birds to answer some calls. We went to the closest one and fooled with him for a while to no avail. We then headed the direction of the other bird and were surprised to hear a gobble from about 150 yards away but up the mountain. We setup and called and he responded but would not budge from the ridge that he was on. We made the decision to move on him and try to get above him. We headed up a shallow hollow that would put us out on a road above him for us to make the next move. The woods were fairly noisy and we feel the longbeard heard us walking in the leaves and assumed the hen he had heard was finally coming. As we were heading up the hill, we stopped to take a break and the bird gobbled from no more than 40 yards away just down the road but in some thick cover. Amy, Jeff and I hit the dirt. Jeff got situated next to a small oak and Amy and I were behind Jeff. We scratched in the leaves to simulated turkeys feeding and after a short time heard ol’ Tommy Three Toes walking in the leaves. He popped his head up about 25 steps away but was obscured by some brush. He made a few steps and Jeff got an open shot. 19 lbs, 10-1/2” beard, and 1” spurs. It was an awesome hunt and a great time in the woods.
So far the season has been outstanding… great hunting, no hunter interference, and I’m having a good time! In the first 3 days of our season we have called in 5 longbeards and 1 jake. 2 of the longbeards were killed, 1 was missed and the jake was passed. Hope this keeps up for a few more weeks!
Congrats to all that scored and good luck to everyone! More to come!
April 18, 2002
This weeks hunting has been incredible... work is killing me right now and I have some photos to get developed so I will catch everyone up as soon as I get a chance.
April 22, 2002
I've kind of fell behind this week on my update. It's been a great first week having been in on kills or misses the first 5 days of the season. After my friend from SC killed the bird on Tuesday I took another good friend on Wednesday morning. I had to be at work at 8:00 for a meeting so I was pushing it. We setup in the direction a group of birds had taken the day before. It was about 4 longbeards and a whole pile of hens. Well, we got setup and the gobbling started right where I had hoped. Soon the birds began flying down and they of course proceeded to go where we were setup the day before! I slipped over the edge of the ridge and spotted them crossing another smaller ridge. The main flock consisting of one big gobbler and the group hens was being followed by 3 more strutting longbeards and I thought our best chance was to pull one of the subordinate birds away. As soon as they went out of site over the lip of the ridge we made our move. We got right below the lip that they went over and I gave a really loud aggressive yelp and a bird cut me off. Another yelp and silence. 1 minute, another yelp and he nearly blew our hats off. Just seconds later we could hear the bird spitting and drumming and then walking in the leaves. All of a sudden there he was at 35 yards. I said just let him come and he strolled right in in full strut to 25 yards and that where he bit the dust. 20 lbs, 10-1/4" beard, and 1-3/16" spurs. It was a great hunt...
Here is a picture of me with my buddies bird...
The next morning I went with another good friend and setup with him on a few birds that he had roosted the night before. Sure enough the birds started gobbling and we were setup perfect. Finally they flew down and of course, they had hens with them. We spotted the birds about 80 yards away in full strut and coming our way. They crossed a little depression in front of us and went out of site. Then we look back to where they had been and there stood 2 more gobblers in full strut. By doing some soft purrs, yelps, and clucks, along with scratching in the leaves we pulled the closest birds right up to us and they came over the rise at 20 yards- the first bird being in full strut and the second bird looking for the hen. My buddy made a great shot at 23 steps and the party was over. 16 lbs, 10-1/4" beard, and 3/4" spurs... a nice 2 year old. It was an awesome hunt...
Pictures of these birds will be up when I get the roll developed.
Amy was the shooter on Friday and Saturday and they were pretty much carbon copies of each other. The hens finally won a couple battles. Both mornings we had a pair of gobblers on the roost and we thought we were in perfect position until the hens started up and came right to the gobblers and they promptly shut-up. We have both pairs of gobblers book-marked for later in the season!
This morning (Monday) it was pouring rain and we caught up on some well needed sleep. We'll be back after them tomorrow to try and get Amy a bird.
It has been an incredible first week... Great hunting, great friends...
May 3, 2002
Sorry guys... It's been a crazy few weeks and I'm sorry about no updates. We have still been hunting but not too much. Have worked a few birds, called in a few, passed on a few, and are basically still playing the game. My main objective is still trying to get Amy a bird. Her hunting time is limited in the mornings before work and Saturdays is our best shot. Last Saturday we had a great hunt fooling with a big gobbler for several hours. He had hens with him the whole time and that has been the case for us lately. Weather has been terrible this whole week, with wind and rain and thunderstorms. Have heard a few birds gobbling but not really gotten on anything. We are still after them though and hopefully will have another update soon...
May 20, 2002
Well... sorry I have fell so behind on my diary. Work is killing me and I have so many irons in the fire. We finished the season strong...
I killed a nice gobbler the last week...
the gobbling has slowed to a stand-still for us. However... I located a bird
Monday that I thought might be a good candidate to move in and setup on and just
wait out. I knew he hadn't been hunted hard but he never gobbled on the ground.
This AM I setup on the edge of a small field that I thought was probably his
strut zone. I put 2 decoys in the pasture and setup my blind and told myself to
just be patient and wait him out. Soft calling was all I was going to give him.
Not a peep on the roost... anywhere... I held my ground and did a couple
fly-downs with the wing and then gave a few soft yelps. About every five minutes
I would give a few clucks and some purring. At 6:35 he walks into the corner of
the field and slowly makes his way to the decoys. Never gobbles, never struts,
just gets shot at 30 steps... Not your typical hunt but very rewarding none the
less... 18 lbs, 10-1/2" beard, and 1-1/8" spurs.
Then on the last day we had an incredible hunt... I'll let Amy tell this one...
this morning dawned really yucky!!! And I came really close to staying in the
bed, but the thoughts of Tommy Three Toes coming thru where we wanted to setup
was “haunting” me. So Freddy and I headed to the mountain for one last
morning of hunting.
It started raining fairly hard when we got out of the truck. We put our rain jackets on over our turkey vests and headed to the spot we had talked about last night. We set-up our “Condo”….a blind and an umbrella combination. We set out 3 decoys and got comfy. We were going to stay out the better part of the morning.
About 10 minutes after we set-up Freddy was busy killing honey-bees with his hat. We evidently had their favorite tree too! About 20 minutes later, a hen came into the field (35 yards) and was never bothered by the decoys. She got closer to the woods and the wind started blowing really hard. Well, she wasn’t about to get any closer to the woods so she flew back to the middle of the field.
The wind and rain was not cooperating. It played havoc with our blind and our umbrella. At one point while the hen was 30 yards of us, half of the blind was blown over and then the umbrella was turned inside-out. Ugh! Some of the things we go thru for a turkey! :o)
After about an hour of seeing and hearing nothing, not to mention being wet, cold and windblown, I decided I’d had enough. Freddy eased up to peek over the little rise in the field and boy am I glad he did. There stood 3 birds about 80 yards away (at this point he wasn’t sure what they were, could just see their backs as they were feeding along). He eased back down and I prepared to shoot. After a little while with no birds, he stood back up and no turkeys. He climbed upon a log behind our tree and kept on peeking. Nothing!
All of a sudden I looked in the field to my right about 150 yards away and there were 4 longbeards feeding directly to us. Never heard a peep out of them. Evidently the 3 birds earlier were Jakes and when they saw these guys, the Jakes were outta here! Freddy eased back down against the tree and turned around, so he could see what I saw. And they just kept on coming. I was following them and just anticipating the shot that I would have at one of these guys.
They got about 80 yards out and decided they didn’t want to come any further. We are still not sure what they saw they did not like, but they never putted, never flew, they just turned and trotted back the way they came. Boy was I ever disappointed! Stupid turkeys!
Freddy looked at me and said, “We’re going to do something drastic!”. And so off we went. We went back up and around the mountain and went to try to set back up on them before they left the big field all together. Off we go and Mrs. Short Legs here is trying to keep up with Mr. Long Legs. It was hilarious! Even the 5-strand barbed wire fence was not too much of a problem, but I did have to crawl between the strands. We hit a little road that the farmer uses to get up into the mountain and hustled down it to get in front of the birds. We got to the edge of the field and were able to get set-up in front of the birds. At this point we were glad that it was windy because it helped hide our movements as we eased up to the edge of the field.
Freddy started peeking up into the field to check their location and the crazy birds were out in the waist-high (for me) hay field that had not been cut yet. He got me up in front of him and I finally saw this cute little red head, about 40 yards away, peeking out of the hay. And they were standing stock-still and not moving. They evidently were trying to figure out what was going on to their left. Well, since my season has had a miss in it, I wanted to be really careful and make sure everything was right and NOT rush the shot. So I walked myself thru everything, telling myself to keep my head down, cheek on the stock and squeeze the trigger really slow (thanks GN). And BOOM!
I stood there and watched three turkeys fly off and thought, “Crap, I’ve missed again!” Freddy said, “You got him!” Off goes Freddy running full blast thru the hay field, so I take off after him. He got to where the bird was standing and started hooping and hollering! Well, then I realized that there was a turkey that didn’t fly away! MINE!!!!! I started crying and he picked me up in a bear hug! What an awesome hunt! It was a great ending to a season that hadn’t gone so great for me! YEE-HAW!!!!!
Well, Max…I betcha’ I won the Ladies Category! :o)
Awesome Mountain Bird!!
What an incredible way to end my season! This has got to be one of my best years of hunting... Great hunts, great friends, and a last day gobbler for Amy. We saw a lot of incredible sights and sounds as usual and this is the first year that I have not had any hunter interference at all!
I slipped on filling out my VDGIF survey this year just like my diary but here is the best recap I can come up with-
I hunted a total of 38 days this Spring in 3 states... heard gobbling all but just a few days-
Was in on 11 kills, 3 misses, and 5 passed shots.
I hope each of you had a great season! Congrats to everyone that scored and for those who didn't there is always next year. Just remember how blessed you are to be able to get out and pursue the great wild turkey!