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HateHumminbird

Monster Gobbler

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There's a bird I've been watching since last spring that is an absolute slob of a turkey. And today was the first time I've seen him since last June.

He's a bad old bird. Fat and agressive, always chasing except during the heart of the breeding season where it seemed like last year, he did nothing but strut and gobble much of the day. He always had a wing feather on his right wing that stuck out a little bit. You couldn't really see it from a distance with your naked eye, but with binoculars or a spotting scope, it was readily apparent.

He lives in some great habitat, and luckily for him, a place where no-one can hunt. It's a big bowl, with a hayfield at the bottom, surrounded on 3 sides by a 50ft. wooded ridge. Most nights he flys up to the NW side of the bowl where there's a cluster of nice oaks, and come morning, he soars down into the hayfield. I went a few weeks without seeing him last year, but save that dry-spell, he was fairly predictable, and in charge of the group of birds that was usually with him.

This morning, he was out where he usually was last year, with no identifying characteristics as last year, save what look to be about 2" spurs once I dial up the spotting scope. In fact, I thought I kept mistaking his spurs for his back toe they were so large. And oh yeah, they've got a healthy curve to 'em.

Few if any beards ever drag on the ground as folks claim, but this old boy was close. A full paintbrush for sure, with a healthy bend about 3/4 of the way down, due probably to the fact that it extended past the bottom of his breast.

He was with a jake that he couldn't get enough of, strutting around in the field closer and closer to the young bird. Once he'd get within 10 yards, he'd break strut and go over to spur the heck out of that jake. When the jake would move away, the tom would chase him down, start strutting, and repeat the process.

He finally pinned the jake up against a brushy woodline and really let him have it. They both disappeared into the woods, and that was the last I saw of them.

I try not to get personal with these birds, as that's a sure-fire way to eat tag-soup at season's end, but this bird would be great to go after. That said, I'm not holding out for him, not even if I can get on some adjacent property!

Joel

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Very well written. 2 inch spurs - are you friggin kidding me!

Ok so I want it on record NOW that I want Joel on my team for the FM Turkey contest.

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It's difficult to judge birds, even with a 50x spotting scope at 150 yards. I will say I've never seen a bird with spurs that good.

As for the contest, just wait, I'll whiff. The beauty of turkey hunting is that these birds will make fools of the very best turkey hunters, esp. with MN's 5-day seasons. I've hunted with former guides, seasoned veterans, and others much better than myself that strike-out big-time.

There is an older bird I've been watching that's much different than this one, with good spurs, but not as good as the one I saw this morning. Either way, I don't pass on longbeards.

Joel

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Oooh Oooh! If (when) you choke on him Joel, let me at him with the sharp stick!!

Kidding. I hope you find him again when the time is right.

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The taste of tag-soup, Oh how I remember it will.

Last year I hunted 440H.

A buddy of mine had been seeing a monster tom in the same place at the same time for a number of days. So two days before my season started I set out to watch for him and wouldn't you know, just like clockwork, there he was both days same time, same place.

Well there I am the rest of the day doing the hunter's strut and thinking about where to place that massive full body mount. Oh what a day.

After six years of turkey hunting and 11 Toms, I should know better and you veteran turkey hunters know exactly where this is going.

What a perfect morning for the first day of my hunt, clear sky and no wind. I sneak in and setup 40 yards from where the big boy has been coming out of the woods for the past how many days.

The woods behind me starts to come alive and then the toms started in. Oh the sweet sounds of mother nature. I sat there not making a sound and letting the birds fly down before calling. I made two soft calls and the toms hammered at my call. After a couple minutes, the gobbles were getting closer and now I'm thinking GAME ON. So no more calling. Here he comes, wait there he is, OH **** he's huge and 70 yards out. What's this? Where did the two hens come from? Oh no, he's strutting over to the hens and there he goes following the hens into the woods. I wait ten minutes, then make a call and he answers a quarter mile away. Now what do I do, I can't go after him. I don't have permission to cross the line fence. So I sat still and waited, he knows i'm here he answered my call. An hour goes by and I hear a gobble way off in the direction the tom and two hens went. Game over.

I have learned from the past that he will come back, yes I have been burnt this way, who hasn't. It's now late AM, do I stay or go and comeback. I know better but I go anyway. Two hours later I'm back to wait for him to return and you guessed it, there he is. I can see him strutting right in front of where I was setup this morning and there's nothing I can do about it because my foot can't reach my A$$.

I'm now going off to a differnt chunk of woods to end the day. I don't even get time to make a call and here comes a tom out to feed. Now he's walking right to me, what more can I ask for. Then I here a voice say wait, same place, same time, monster tom, full body mount, you know the voice the one that comes from the hole in the back of your head. Well now he is twenty yards out in front of me. Shoot, no don't shoot, shoot him, no don't shoot, there's that voice again. I know your saying take the shot. Well, I didn't, I let him walk. I know, I don't want to hear it.

Time to put the monster tom to bed. Well how about that, same time same place. So right at dark I make a soft call and oh yeah he heard me.

Now, I had planned on sealing the deal the first morning so the weather after that was irrelevant. Big mistake! As Mother Nature had it, a front moved in that night and it was misting the second morning. I set up in the same place as I did the first morning. After a late fly down the big tom came out into the field and started strutting 150 yards from me. After 1 1/2 hours or strutting he goes off the other direction and then the rain starts falling - not good. I returned later that day when the rain stopped and setup in the area the big tom strutted into the woods that morning. Sat there quiet for sometime and then started calling. An hour goes by - no gobbling. Then he walks out of the woods right exactly where I was setup that morning and the first day. He proceeded to cross the field kitty corner away from me. Not to be seen the rest of the day. The next morning, I hear no gobbling. Oh s***! Now what do I do? I set up where he last walked into the woods yesterday, hoping he would come out in that same general area. Gee, wouldn't you know it, he comes out on the other side of the field where he came out yesterday and goes back into the woods where he came out the first morning. To make a long story shorter, this went on for the next 4 days. This guy really had my number. He knew how to play the game! So that is my story behind the tag soup from the 2006 season.

I am happy to say, he has shown up in the same field in the last couple days. I am happier to say, I have a tag for 440A this year. I should have learned a lesson or two from this big boy, but I am going after him again this year anyway. Happy Hunting everyone!

huntmup

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[Note from Cooter: Please use BS/waders on warning before posting again] wink.gif For a second, I thought I was on a barstool Sat night in some cheesehead hick tavern! grin.gif OK, no one else was dishin it out so I had too. Seriously, its cool you got a big one on the radar, certainly adds to the whole prep process and experience. So when is this ol boss gonna let out his last gobble? When do you get to try for him JN? BTW - I'm pulling for the tom to keep the contest fair! That poor old bird has no idea what kind of trouble he's in - good luck JN.

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Cooter:

I don't think you'll have to root for the old-boy as he's already won. I could get permission to hunt about 40 acres nearby and maybe get a crack at him? But, like huntmup, I've made that mistake too many times before. It's tempting, and I hope I don't see him again, but I'm sure I will. I can still close my eyes and remember what those hooks looked like when I zoomed in on his legs. I'll be happy with a fat and sassy 2 or 3 year old that comes running in!

As for the tavern, you have to go to WI to hear a real turkey story. Me and some guy at the Woodshed (aka, Bloodshed) got into it over a bird he was hunting that "scared-him". Said it was 6ft. tall. I cried foul and stated it could only be 6ft high if it were standing on the corn-pile he was hunting over. Bad move. No fisticuffs, but not because he didn't want to!

Joel

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I'd give it a try - sounds like a rare chance at such a bird, those 2 and 3 yr old are everywhere - a bird with 2" spurs...might be a long time again before another shot at one like that.

Here's a classic redneck WI turkey story. A couple of my uncles in-laws shot a tom one spring and proceeded to take it home where the beers began to flow. Well they come up with the idea to snag some long hairs from the horses tail and carefully hotglue them to the beard. Lets just say they drew quite the crowd around the truck bed at several local watering holes - phone calls were even made and media folks got interested. One guy made the mistake of asking, "How'd he walk with that beard?" The reply, "Aw he'd just flip it over his shoulder with his beak every so often" One of those ya had to be there but its local legend material here.

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Quote:

"How'd he walk with that beard?" The reply, "Aw he'd just flip it over his shoulder with his beak every so often" One of those ya had to be there but its local legend material here.


Classic! I would've loved to be on the inside of that one!

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