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WallyGator12000

Big Wabasha Tom

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WallyGator12000

So here's the story of my first big tom EVER!

My hunt started last Thurs (5/3). Early morning, I walk down into a valley surrounded by two hills with great roosting locations. I set up in the bottom of the valley and wait for dawn. Gobblers begin sounding off, I heard 4 birds at least, with the nearest being on the ridge right above and slightly to the right of my set up. I begin softly tree yelping, and when I do a fly down cackle, I get his gobble response. Unfortunately, I soon hear a hen yelping with him, he would gobble every time she yelped. So I begin trying to tick her off, mimicking everything she says, trying to get this tom to come in with her. Well unfortunately in the dark I failed to notice/remember that there is a steep gorge that separates the two hill sides and splits the valley I am sitting in. The tom and hen hang up on the opposite side of the gorge from me, in a small clearing. Suddenly, the hen flies across the gorge and lands right in front of me, yelping and talking smack. She is just livid, and every time I call she goes nuts. The tom just won't cross with her though, he just paces back and forth gobbling at the gorge. After about 10 minutes, the hen flies back across the gorge, and the two walk up the hill. It was an awesome close encounter, but I came away with nothing. The rest of the morning I had 2 more different hens in close, but that was it. That afternoon I saw 6-8 birds feeding in the field, but only had 3 hens close, no toms were seen.

So Friday morning I decide to set up in almost the same location, hoping to get this same gobbler. This time however, I set up across the gorge in the small clearing he was pacing back and forth in. I think to myself "this is it, he's gonna come right down and I'll be done by 7" But as many of us know, turkeys don't ever do what we want them to. tongue.gif He gobbles to my tree yelps again, but when I hear him fly down, he's with at least 6 hens, I see most of them fly down with him. He continues to sporadically gobble to me, but it's only as he walks further and further up the hill towards the field at the top. I wait for about 10 minutes deliberating, I can wait and hope he comes back down the valley after feeding, or I can try and put the sneak on him. I decide upon the later. The hillside I tried to "sneak" up is about 200 yards above me and extremely steep. It took me 40 minutes, and I had to stop often to try and catch my breath, and stay quiet enough. I would call occasionally as I climbed, hoping against hope he would think all the commotion was a large, hot hen coming to him and not a herd of cape buffalo. When I got right near the top, about 10 feet away, I paused for a few minutes. Then I took a few steps and was over the top. Just below me at 15 paces, tucked in a little low spot, a blue head turned to look at me. All I could see was the head and the long snood hanging over his beak. I thought for sure he had busted me, and when he dropped his head down I shouldered my gun thinking I was going to have to shoot as he ran. Then all of a sudden, he goes to full strut, right in front of me. It was awesome, his tail was full and he looked HUGE! A few seconds later he puffed back down and looked back up at me as if to see "hey, whadda think?" BAM! I smoked him at 15 paces, and as I ran to him his 6 hens scattered from the field they were feeding in. I think he must have thought I was that hen coming up the hill after all, and I got lucky, he was down in that low spot so he couldn't see me coming up the hill, or hear me well either. It was an awesome hunt, our group went 3 for 4, with two other guys getting jakes and of course my tom. All in all it was a great 4 days. The bird was just shy of 21 lbs, had a 10" beard, and his spurs went 1" and 7/8"...

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Wanderer

WoW!

What a terrific hunt! Good stalk. Sometimes it works for the hunter, but like you were thinking, usually for the bird.

He must have been working hens pretty hard to be at 21 pounds and have such a nice beard and spurs!

Congrats!

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HateHumminbird

Good stuff!

Careful about calling as you walk however. You draw attention to yourself as you're moving, which can cause them to come closer for a peek. Glad to hear it masked your sound though, and congratulations on a very nice gobbler!

Joel

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