Well, today I finally got one. The way this season went, I almost gave up and was pretty sure I was gonna get goose egged for the year. Leading up to today, I bet I had the safety off 4 or 5 times and things just seemed to find a way to go wrong. It was actually pretty laughable. Below are some posts that I relayed to my team about how my season has went:
4/18 - Hey guys... No dice on my end... But interesting.. Dad and I snuck a litttle closer than I thought to a bird HAMMERING for 10 minutes straight.. I purred, clucked, and yelped lightly only a couple times and he double gobbled each, so I shut up.... He flew down and headed off in the wrong direction with his hens... We snuck to the knoll where he disappeared to and we tried to call him back... He gobbled hard each tiime but to no avail... We spotted him on the opposite hillside around 400 yds aways... The only thing I could think to do, because we got to the property line was to crawl out to the edge of the hillside we were on and stand up my pretty boy that I have a real jake tail in... Shortly after, the hens spotted my deke and came running toward him from the 400 yards away.. The gobbler did his best sheep dog and hearded them all back in.. I thought for a minute the hens were gonna bring him to us... We had to watch him vanish with the hens across to the next property and hustle to make it to school on time. He is a principal, and I am a teacher... At a different school...I went out and put em to bed tonight and I am sure that same gobbler is in the same tree as this morning.. Based on the terrain and what he did today, Dad and I are separating and I am going where he went today.. Dad is going the opposite way incase the hens take him in the other direction... Their only out is straight down the hill.... I am pretty sure I can guess what is going to happen... Down the hill they will go!!
4/19 - Pulled off the road twice puking on the way to get on this bird.... Headed back home and went to bed and took the day off...
4/23 - Real bad day of huntin...I was out from 545-noon and didn't hear or see a bird...not to worried yet...still early..
4/27- Hey guys.... If it were not for bad luck, Id have none at all. Last time out, had 3 gobbling around me. Once they hit the ground they shut up. My buddy got us busted by moving because we heard one of them putting directly behind us and he saw the bird but couldnt get a shot . He was around 30 yds. Next time, we had a longbeard coming in on a string in full strut. The wind blew and a giant branch broke between us and him and it spooked him and he started putting. Shortly after, a hen took him the other way. I am going out before school again tomorrow. I will keep trying to persevere....
5/4 - My birthday - Got busted on an evening hunt by a tom at 35 yards. I was watching a hen the opposite way. He came directly behind me and putted all way out of the area.
5/7 - hey guys...this has been the most frustrating season ever!!! had a long beard at 25 yds last night hammering to the thunder and couldnt get a shot because he wouldnt take 2 steps past the big briar bush in the road... set up on him this morning... he flew down 75 yds from my pretty boy/girl set up with a real jake tail and modified beard...he stood in full strut just looking at them at about 65-70 yds and gobbling his head off... then a hen flew down on the other side of him and he left with her.... must be a submissive gobbler.. iam gonna go sit near where i did last night again and hope he comes through in the same spot... good luck to the rest of you guys.... dont know how i could get much closer than i have to nailing one, but i will probably figure out a way!! good luck!
NOTE- THERE WAS ALSO MANY OTHER MESS UPS AND SKUNKED OUTINGS AS WELL....
TODAY- Set up between where I thought two gobblers were roosted. The one on my left sounded first, so I tried to set up on him. I got to where I thought I needed to be, then I heard him about 400 yds on the other hillside. I thought DANG! He is moving. So I took off and tried to get to the edge of the woods where I thought would be a good ambush point. Apparently, I got to close. Right as I sat down he hammered about 20 yds from me. I never saw him but I bet he saw me and never made a sound again...So I am just sitting there hacked off for about 15-20 minutes. Surprisingly, another bird gobbled up on the hill above me. I thought I would move up a bit, near the same spot I killed my bird last year. I was sure he gobbled back in the woods a bit, so I thought Id be okay to move. I picked up my decoys and started up the hill. I came over a small knoll and there he was. Probably 70-80 yards staring at me in the middle of the open field. Before I could react, he took off for the woods. I then realized what had happend. There was two birds there to begin with. The one closest to me started gobbling first then shut up when the bird on the other hill started. I was furious with myself at this point and marched back to the car and headed home. As I was driving home I began to think.... wow... I thought I was getting better as a turkey hunter. Not great or good by any means, but decent... I guess I am still a complete busch league amateur like I was 5 years ago... It was only 7:25 AM. I went to bed.
THE KILL- I woke up around 9:45 AM thanks to being a make up day for parent teacher conferences ( I am a teacher). I was supposed to help my dad with some mulch. I called him and he said he wouldnt be ready to do it until noon. I thought well I might as well go waste some more time chasing turkeys. I had about zero hope at this point. Twice I thought about just going early and getting started without him. I decided to hit a couple spots near my dads house just to say I made the effort. I got the 4 wheeler and headed out. I almost skipped over the first place I planned to hit but pulled off anyways. I had not heard a bird in this section of woods the entire year. Actually, I had not heard a bird in these woods for the last two years. I walked down to the edge of the woods and pulled out the Jackpot slate and began calling. Nothing. I switched to my Slate Hammer and tried that call because it is a lot louder. Nothing. I begin to walk back to the 4 wheeler and hear a gobble in the distance. It is around 10:35-10:40 at this point. I took off and tried to use the hillside to cut the distance. I ran probably a 100 yards and found a decent open spot and set up. I called again. BANG. He also had cut the distance and hammered. I would guess him to be inside 60-80 yds at this point. I shut up and put the call away. A long couple minutes led to some lightly crushing leaves. I had the gun up in the direction of the sound. I first saw him at about 25 yards through the thick brush. He was headed for the open woods where I could get a good shot at him. He stopped on the edge of the thick and stood still for about a minute. I figured he was unsure to step out in the open. At this point, I am thinking he is just going to turn around and not come any farther than this thicker stuff. HE DOESNT WANT TO STEP IN THE OPEN. I decided I am not going to let another one walk. I slowly slid up and found an opening in the briars and squeezed off the trigger. He dropped instantly and flopped a few time and it was all over. I could not believe what had just happend. I have hunted a ton of hours and all it took was less than 10-15 minutes to get it done. I could not have been happier. He had a 10 1/4 in. beard, 1 inch spurs, and weighed 21 pounds. Now my mission is to get my dad a long beard. Moral of the story: Never give up. It can be a terrible season and turn into a great one in less than 10 minutes. Good luck to everyone out there still after em!!!