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....A Bit More Conventional!

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Steve's Bird


Weight: 21lbs 10oz

Spurs: 15/16", 7/8"

Beard: 8 3/8"

Score: 56.5




With my tag punched, but my brother's yet to be filled, we split up last night to do some roosting. I put 4 gobblers to bed along a 200 foot ridge, with each of the birds gobbling for about 20 minutes on their own post-8pm. He didn't hear a thing. So naturally we went to the property he was listening at smile.gif.

"His" property had a group of three bruisers that seemed to cross a low-lying hayfield like clockwork at 8:30 every morning. These were worth a shot, esp. because the birds I roosted commanded an incredible vantage point a few hundred feet above the cornfield from which we'd have to make our way in to hunt them. Odds were good that they'd see us unless ultra early. To compound matters, the wooded ridge they were on was so sparsely covered, we'd be exposed the entire way.

Morning came too fast, and along with it, Plan "B." We took a sit in the Double Bull, as my brother brought his wife along to experience the hunt, and our hopes were bolstered with early gobbling from the direction of travel these birds usually took. As anticipated, 8:30 came with a hen coming down the field edge in-line with our decoys.....trailed by 3 gorgeous strutting Toms. But our hopes were dashed as soon as they were lifted, with the hen spotting the "competition" and leading her boys up the hill, a mere 80 yards past our setup. Tough loss....but we'd live to fight again.

I wanted to give those roosted birds awhile to work their way out of that bowl so we could better hunt them, which brought us past another spot altogether. From the road we could see about 6 jakes with a Tom. Back end sneak up and over the hill to try and call them up it was the order of the day. 30 minutes.....nothing. Sneak to the edge to look down.....there they were, running away. So the agressive approach has it's downfalls too.

Checking out the spot I roosted those birds in, and saw our 4 gobblers cross the road back into the property from which they started....the property we had permission to hunt.

They had their running shoes on, so we put ours on as well, and went on the high side of the ridge as they poured one-by-one down into the base of the ravine towards the cornfield. We walked fast to get ahead of them, and snuck halfway down the big open ridge and set up. I cranked on the box call for awhile, and within 10 minutes they were 100 yards away, gobbling like lost fools.

What happened next almost cost us our opportunity. They went high behind us. What now? 60 yards above us, all 4 gobbling around every 30 seconds with the spitting and drumming driving me nuts. We could see almost 150 yards in this woods with how open it was, so we dared not crane our heads an inch. Eventually, they worked above and right of us as we SLOWLY turned our heads to view the show. They stood at the shoulder of the ridge and continually gobbled, easily 100 times in the next 25-30 unbearable minutes.

After several false attempts to leave us, and many tense moments with myself at the mouthcall, throwing the sound downhill by cupping my hands around the call.....the first bird committed. Down the ravine they came. How now to swing the downhill pointing gun uphill and to the right? Also, I was on the to swing it past me?

I grabbed the barrel with my lefthand and pulled it over my head ever so slowly......faster when gobbling/walking.....slower when looking at us. Now they were coming down the hill fast to our right....barrel had to go back over my head in the downhill direction. It was almost too much. The largest bird was furthest (of course), and near the other two, but the straggler was open for a shot.

I felt the shot before I heard it....and the ringing in my ears was coupled with the sight of 3 birds, not 4, pitching off the edge of the ridge downhill. My brother couldn't move....his legs had fallen asleep so badly he was afraid of falling down the hill. My neck wouldn't turn it was cranked so far to the right for so long it only knew that position.

This bird was extremely hard earned, and everything came together for us around 12:30PM. Proof, once again, that your luck can change out there in an instant. Keep the faith.


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Nice work joel!

Sounds like you're having to work for them, but that's half the fun & it's paying off!

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Congrats to your brother Steve. Sounds like a great day in the woods. The hard earned gobbler was just icing on the cake! laugh.gif

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congrats on the bird, nice detailed story and the aches and pains are always worth it.

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