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HateHumminbird

Out with a bang... w/ pics

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HateHumminbird

Yesterday, May 31st, marked the very last day of the MN turkey season, as well as the latest date in any spring that I've chased turkeys.

I took to the woods with a friend who had never been turkey hunting before. We had but one day to punch a tag, and hopefully show him what turkey hunting was all about.

Our hunting area received about an inch of rain the night previous, and our walk would be a long and early one through the muddy fields. Because cover of trees was not an option for the walk-in, we had to rely upon cover of darkness in getting to our spot early.

While I typically like to run and gun quite a bit more during the late season, I made an exception for this property. It has one of those magical places where turkeys not only seem to always be, more importantly, when they're not there, they seem to always WANT to be. It's much easier calling birds to an area they're comfortable with, and this long jutting point into a corn-field with great a great vantage point has it all. What's better, is that a logging road bisects this point, making a natural corridor for birds that want to "cut-the-corner" and not walk all the way around the point. We would sit here until 9AM, at least.

Overcast skies made the birds fire up late, but what they lacked in timing, they made up for in gusto. Two gobblers about 250 yards below us liked every call I threw at them. But that didn't mean they were willing to seek us out. Rather, they pitched down the hill, gobbling even more incessantly at the calls after they hit the LZ. Another bird fired up to the left of us even further away, but we'd wait them out.

A fox and then a curious doe kept things interesting, until a hen entered the field below us at 300 yards away. Was she with a tom? We'd find out almost a 1/2 hour later, that the Tom was even closer to us, but out of view from a grassy fencline.

The first thing we noticed was the bird had a decent beard, but beyond that, we didn't know much else. Henned up? Willing? The first set of yelps were ones he gobbled at, answering our question for us. He picked his way in our general direction, until he dissappeared in a dip in the field. If he did come in, we wouldn't know until he was about 120 yards away.

Minutes dragged on, until almost 20 passed, with still no sign of the gobbler. I couldn't resist, and yelped again. Mistake; just out of our line of sight, he was 150 yards away and closing. He proceeded to get to the top of a small rise in the field about 100 yards away or so, and gobbled, strutted, and periscoped his head for the better part of the next 1/2 hour.

The bird showed signs of breaking strut, and kept looking back at his hen, now on the other side of the field many hundreds of yards away. Being in the blind, I could move a bit, and I cupped both hands over my mouth, called more softly, and pointed my head in the other direction. He took the bait.

Concerned that this new found jenny would get away from him, our bird proceeded to walk 5 steps, strut, gobble, then walk another 5 and so on, and so on, getting closer and closer. At about 45 yards, the bird started working left of our setup, and it was time to shoot.

2 clucks from my mouth call made the bird shoot his head up, and the tom hit the ground like his legs were taken out from under him. No flapping for the first 20 seconds made us sure the shot was true.

This bird had all the makings of an all-star video-hunt bird. He strutted and gobbled continuously, giving my buddy the show of his life. We talked about the end of seasons, how it can be a somber day, even when successful as we were. It meant the end of something I treasure, at least for a year, but we agreed that there could be no better way to close off a season.

STATS

Tom

Weight - 21lbs 2oz

Beard - 10"

Spurs - 3/4"

Score - 56.10

pdb.JPG

jp.JPG

pthorne.JPG

Joel

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Shoot2Kill

That was an awesome story and what a beautiful bird...really dark with a full black band all the way around the tail. Looks like some beautiful country there too. Nice job! I bet your buddy is now hooked for life. grin.gif All it takes is one gobbling and strutting in front of you for a while to ruin you forever.

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Borch

What a great story decribing your hunt. That's the kind of hunt that'll hook a guy that's for sure.

So much for those late season birds not being workable. As always you just have to find the right one and be in the right spot.

Congrats to you both! laugh.gif

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Wallydog

Great bird. Terrific tale. Your blind location sounds much like a couple I've carved out over the years. Nothing quite like being in the vortex. Give 'em time and they'll usually buy it!

Nice season Joel. I wish bass tournies, basketball tournies etc. hadn't occupied some dang much time this spring....I could have eliminated a couple more off my "call for" list!

WD

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HateHumminbird

The "vortex," I like that. We've killed several birds here over the years, and it's one of the few places I really like to hole-up and take a wait for an extended period of time. The stupid part is that it took years of glassing that logging road from a distance, watching the birds move into and out of it, before I got the bright idea to actually take a seat there. It's a slight distance from most of the roost sites, and birds don't often make it there in the very early hours, which made it easy to overlook.

Anyway, thanks for congrats from all, and you're right, he's ruined!

Joel

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Wallydog

Joel,

April 15 next year? The "vortex" is waiting?

5 old skid roads intersect, corner of a fenced field, old log landing converted to strut zone.........Vortex

Knot sure how many birds I've watched perish here in the last 18 years.......30-40 probably, maybe more. It's just one of the spots you spend much time "hunting" for!

P4160957.JPG

WD

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Greybeard53

Awesome story and bird Joel.

Congrats on a fitting conclusion to a great spring season.

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Cooter

Last day bird - sweet! Certainly a fitting end. So how many days in all did you hunt Joel?

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HateHumminbird

Thanks guys, it was a great season.

Cooter, I got out 11 days total this year according to the log-book. Last year was better with 16 days, but I went out on a lot of bowhunts last year. The bow tends to eat up time as it's a naturally more-difficult hunt. I suppose I shouldn't complain about getting lucky this year and getting into birds fast. Just the way it kind of worked out.

I really envy those guys that get to do the back-to-back-to-back multi-state hunts year after year. I've only done it once, and you learn so much in one season, that you're a turkey killing machine by the end of it.

Here's to next year and more opportunities to hunt for everyone!

Joel

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123fish

Great story and a heck of a way to end the year. Congratulations to both of you. I like it when somebody has there "go to" spot. When all else fails I'm going "there".

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123fish

Wallydog that is a heck of blind in your pic. Is that a home made job?

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LABS4ME

Way to anchor the year Joel! Getting a bird like that with only a one day time frame, and the last day at that, and to achieve success is a great heading to put on the 'turkey hunting resume'!!!

Wallydog, what kind of blind is that? I got a couple spots that we hunt next to BIG trees and then would blend in perfect witht he trunks...

Good Luck!

Ken

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Captain B.R.K

Great story and thanks for sharing those pics! It makes me feel even worst about not getting a bird this year....thanks alot Joel wink.gif

It's these stories that get me and anyone else jazzed up about hunting for the coming year.

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huntmup

Joel,

What a way to end the season, not only with a friend but a first timer. Congragulations on a great hunt and a beautiful bird.

Dan

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