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Surface Tension

Turkey Hunt

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Surface Tension

4:45AM, the woods are quite as I arrived to my hide. I have 3 decoys with me. 2 hens and a jake. I set out 1 hen and leave the other two decoys in the bag. My blind is overlooking a rolling 40 acer field nestled on top Bluff Country. Too step to farm, Oaks and Walnuts grow on the hill sides. I've hunted there before and being my only place to hunt I knew that to wander the hill sides would send the turkeys to the bottoms, I was to stay on top.

5:10AM and the songs of birds filled the air, I knew the Toms would be gobbling soon, thats if they were around.

Anticipation builds, have I setup where the turkeys are entering the field? No worries, in the past the decoy and calls brought them in. Then again I've seen decoy shy Toms too.

I see movement, its only whitetail deer out grazing on the alfalfa. I pour a cup of coffee. I can do that because I'm in a blind. I plan on hunting till sunset so sitting against a tree without moving isn't realistic. Besides I've done that before and know I'm good for an hour then I'll be shifting every few minutes when something gets sore or falls asleep.

gULuAllA(gobble)from the SE corner and back a few hundred yards. Sweet! Its 5:20 and another gobble from the NE corner then followed by another then a double. Those where on my edge of the field. Excitement and anticipation was thick. One by one I could make out turkeys entering the field gobbling along the way. They're a hundred yards from my hide, will the calling and decoy bring them in?

5:35AM, there must be a dozen turkeys out there. Hens would announce their arrival with yelping and not those pretty yelps either. It was loud, irregular and raspy, certainly not lady like, rather "I'm here Boys". Toms were strutting and the hens quickly made their way to them. At all times I could see a minimum of 5 Toms strutting, I believe I counted 8 Toms in all. A couple Jakes got into the show and where strutting too although they stayed on the fringe.

Fights broke out. That happens whens theres only a couple girls to go around. A few Toms were so worked up that they had to "take matters into their own hands" sort of speak.

Now witnessing this mass display of strutting was fine and good but I'd like to get in the action too. I use slate and diaphragm calls. A pretty yelp wouldn't do. I needed to sound like I needed some attention. I let it rip, didn't even turn a head, I was ignored.

Maybe the decoy will bring one in. Then I looked at it and well, felt lacking as it sit there looking like a plastic shopping bag snagged on barb wire.

Theres still hope that a Tom will come in from another part of the field and walk by me or a hen will draw a Tom my way and for gosh sakes it's only 6:30. Yep, one hours gone by the the birds are still there strutting, fighting, and chasing hens. I notice one Tom has cut a hen from the herd and pursues her in full strut as she goes about here way feeding. Best part is they're getting closer.

I misplaced my choke tubes. Went out and got me a new turkey choke a few days before season. Test patterns at various distances proved to be very good out to 40 yards and even good at 50 yards. Still 50 yards IMO is a long shot so I figured I was good to 40 for sure. Anyway the day before season I marked 40 yards like I always do with small sticks in a fan pattern out from the hide.

7:AM and the sun is over the trees. Turkeys are still out there! The sunlight illuminates the red, blue and white heads of the Toms. The full color spectrum of feathers are shining and the tan band on the fans are on fire.

7:30AM, the Tom never breaking from strut and hen are close to the distance marker. The spitting and chest rolling for the Tom is a site to see. Hes now in range and still strutting. I wait till he broadside so the fan doesn't take a full load of buffered #5 copper. Kaboom!

Something horrible happens. The Toms runs off the field followed by the entire flock. What The! Missed?

Call it what you want but the end result was and empty field with no dead Turkey. My first thought was I might have injured him but he ran all the way across the field just fine. My second thought was I just spooked the entire flock. My 3rd thought was its 7:30AM and its going to be a long, long day. I was right and left the field at sunset.

Day two. Hoping I didn't totally spook every Tom in the woods from the previous morning I set up closer to the where the Turkeys entered the field. At any rate it was a fresh morning. Same as the day before I enjoyed hearing the gobbles at first light. As they entered the field I knew things were different. Instead of announcing themselves proudly they snuck out staying low. After a while they couldn't help to strut as a hen entered the field. Might have been 5 Toms there total and they didn't venture very far from the safety of the corner. It was over in 30 minutes and they went back to the woods. I did have a Tom and two hens crossing the field in the afternoon. With a decoy out I gave a soft yelp that sent them into instant flight. Later that afternoon I moved the hide to the corner where the Turkeys entered the field both mornings. Didn't feel good about doing that.

Day three. I'm at the new location in the blind. I didn't set out a decoy nor was I going to call.

The gobbling started at 5:30 and it was getting close.

I could hear other Toms scattered along the hillside making their way up top. With the backside of the blind closed as to not leave a black hole I focused out fount toward the field. As one Tom got very close it spotted the blind and flew. If I had the back window open I probably would have seen him.

I was busted, the blind was spooking the birds as I had a bad feeling it would. I knew there were more Toms on the way. What to do, wasn't enough time to take the blind down and even unzipping the back window was more noise then what I dared make. I hoped for the best. Tom number two got the point where the other Tom spooked and then gobbled. I could hear a hen yelp just behind him. He started to come closer then gave out a nervous cluck but didn't run or fly. He stayed there. Shortly after the hen walked 10 yards form the blind and entered the field. Will she draw the Tom out with her?

At some point in the hunt I decide whether or not its time to take a Jake. That time wasn't now. The hen made her way out of site leaving the Tom 50' directly behind me. I was ready with gun shouldered to my left side waiting for the Tom to step into view. Off to my right moving to my left comes a band of around 10 Jakes. They then stop in front of me and get nervous. Figuring they busted me I better decide quick what my next move is going to be before the Tom is alerted and gone out the back door. It was a super hunt for me so far. I'll be leaving back for home the next morning and well, I've spent two full days in 90 degree weather and I didn't want another long, long day. It was time.

Now the Jakes were bunched tight and ready to get out of there. I quickly looked for beard on a Jake that I could shoot without hitting another Jake and ended the hunt.

A pic with a Tom and a brief story would be nice but that didn't happen. I did have a great hunt though and went home with a Jake.

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Scott M

Good choice ST, sounds like you had a great hunt and put your time in. You'll have lots of other chances for that tom in the future. Congratulations are in order. Enjoy the jake and the memories.

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Sounds like you had a lot of excitement!

That Jake will sure eat good!

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Sounds like a great hunt with all the sighting/struttin going on. And hey, if you've never missed it means you haven't hunted much. Good story, thanks for sharing - any day not at work in bluff country is a good day.

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Congrats Frank, your story has me more pumped for my season to get here. I'll be down in WI next week, trying to arrow a gobbler, but if a jake gets too close, he's in trouble. After all, I have never shot a turkey before, so I feel I should get that first one under my belt before I get picky.


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Surface Tension

Thanks guys.

Good Luck on you first hunt Brian!

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Great story and hunt ST! Nothing wrong with a Jake. It's the experience that matters! I didn't get my opportunity at a Tom, passed on Jakes and wish I wouldn't have...

It sure was a warm one over the weekend... crazy.gif

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