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Stories From the Hunt - '05


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See ya Friday night, I'll tie one up behind the barn for ya. grin.gif

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CornPirateKiller

Well, my Iowa season lasted for a few hours... wish it could have been longer. Saw a lot of birds and heard a lot more.

Started out the day set up in a DoubleBull out in the middle of a CRP strip about 800 yards long and 150 yards wide with timber dropping off into valleys on both sides. Had a path about 10 yards wide mowed down the center. As the sun came up, the toms started gobbling. Had three on my right and six or seven on my left. At 6:15, a big longbeard flew down from the right and strutted towards our decoy. Went by on the right at about20 yards but I waited for a front shot. Mistake. He angled away heading for some hens feeding down the field. When I finally had a shot, it was a long one. I misjudged the distance and rolled him over at about 50 yards. He flew into the timber with a few ruffled feathers.

Stayed put and 15 minutes later, had six hens and two toms approach from the left. They found an open spot in the grass about 70 yards out and the hens fed there while the toms strutted for about an hour and a half. Finally two hens broke off and headed for our setup. The other four headed back into the timber and pulled one tom with them. The second tom followed the approaching hens. They crossed the path at about 20 yards, but the tom swung wide and crossed at almost the same spot as where I'd dusted the tom earlier. I let him walk. Had several more hens come to us but the toms stayed in the woods.

Headed down the road and saw three toms strutting in a field so we snuck within 100 yards and set up again. They responded quickly but retreated when two hens emerged from the woods behind them and pulled them in the opposite direction.

After som lunch, we hit a new farm and found three toms strutting in a corn stubble bottom. we set up on a small ridge over looking them and they came at a dead run at the first call. That in turn brought in more toms that we hadn't seen until there were between seven and ten toms gobbling and strutting through the brush to us. It really got loud and exciting. Everytime one would gobble it would set them all off and the woods would explode with noise! Finally, three of them emerged and started strutting towards us at about 35 yards. Before I could get a clear shot, though, they spotted our vehicle about 150 yards away and turned around and headed off down the ridge. Busted.

Since they were all still close and hot, we quietly backed up and hurried down the ridge to try and get in front of them. Got set up near a plowed field about 150 yards from our first setup and started calling. We must have been spotted or heard, though because all those toms shut up and ignored us. Then we spotted a lone tom out in the plowed field about 300 yards behind us. After a couple of calls, he headed for us like he was on a rope. Slipped under the fence and crossed in front. At 20 yards he spotted the decoy and broke into strut. I waited until he paused and stuck his head out and dropped him in his tracks with a load of #5s. 1:30 pm and I was done.

22 lbs even

10 inch beard

1 1/8 inch spurs

http://www.solisearch.net/ims/pic.php?u=11343Rewuh&i=64772

I LOVE this sport.

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Schwanny

I'll try to keep this short. Started my walk into an area that was holding birds earlier this year at 4:30 am. I had about a 1/2 mile walk to the edge of a ridge. I set up on a picked corn field with a hen decoy with a jake not to far behind. I created a small ground blind approx. 20 yards from my decoys on the edge of the field. It was about 5:15 am when I heard the first gobble which was some distance away. Then all of a sudden a gobble came from a tree about 60 - 70 yards away. I didn't make any noise until I heard the first hen yelp. This when I started calling to the hen. After the first series of yelps the whole side hill let loose. I knew there were more than 2 gobblers at this point. I saw two of the turkeys fly down and scamper down the ravine, so I thought there they go. I scared them away. That is when I saw turkey after turkey fly down. Two hens came onto the field and then here came 3 big gobblers. The 3 toms saw that jake and they ran right over to him. All 3 of them were together trying to pick a fight with the jake decoy. That is when one of them reared back and bang, there went my jake decoy. It flew about 10 feet closer to me. This is when one of the toms seperated from the other two and I shot. The turkey didn't move. The other two toms came running over to the dead tom trying to pick a fight, but it wouldn't respond of course. Then they went back to the jake decoy laying on the ground trying to pick a fight with it. I finally had to get up and get my tom. What a morning, done at 6:20am (20lbs, 13/16" spurs & 10" beard).

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tealitup

Schwanny,

What a site to see, great time in the field. You should have had a video recorder on that one.

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Schwanny

It would've made a great video...the sounds from the hens and the gobbles all going at the same time. Then to see the 2 toms after the shot, that was unbelievable. My brother-in-law set up in the same spot Saturday morning and had another tom come in to the jake decoy at about the same time. His was 22lbs, 1" spurs & 10 1/4" beard. I will try to post the pictures as soon as I can.

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Uncle Grump

The title of this post could be "Just one more step"....

Last spring, the only Tom I saw came so close, about another 10 yds, and he would have been in a hole in the brush where I could have taken a shot - this morning it was a step.....argh!!!!

It was chilly this morning - we had frost again - 28-29F. NW winds. Put my Carhart insulated bibs and winter chore coat and camo wind suit on this morning, stayed warm in that - only problem - really noisy in that set up - but as I say warm. At least the snow that fell Sunday night was gone.

Had two birds interested this morning - had gobbling from 5.30 until 7.30 - at one point, as I say two birds going - one from the south - closer, and one coming from the north, he eventually went away to the west, and then w/ no challenger, the south bird went silent. I did have two hens come in at about 20 yds, but they didn't drag a Tom along.....

At 8, I changed in to some lighter weight camo, and proceded to walk the property boundrys - looking for birds in the fields, saw some chase thru the trees, but nothing to get to excited about.

At 9.15 or so, I heard a bird gobble to the west, yelped at him, but no response. I could only go so far, as I have a property boundry in that direction. I waited 15 min, no response, changed positions. Yelped again, hard on a box call. He gobbled back. So I stayed with him, hard yelps and cuts. Got him to start responding, and start to move. I was up on top of a hill, he was below me.

Sounded like he was making some 1/2 moon archs on the hill side, once he was to the south, then later back to the NW. About the time it seemed he was half way to me, a farmer started working the field at the bottom of the hill, I could still hear the Tom gobble, but not him make his

way thru the brush.

There was a hole in the brush where he needed to come thru, the rest was pretty thick, and green. There was a close in gobble - closest yet - put the gun up, safety off. All of a sudden, there was his head, just sticking out. Bright red, but I wanted to see the beard. His head pulled back, and that was the last I saw of him. Heard him moving in the brush, and some soft clucks, then it was silent. I paced it off to where I saw him - 28ft. Got to figure he made me. Looked at my watch, it was 10.15. Had he given me another step.....

4 more days.....

UG

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HateHumminbird

I headed out this morning with a good friend and his father to hunt some deep woods birds. We were hunting these big ridges with deep, narrow valleys, and the only openings were two fields in several hundred acres.

The cold weather (21 degrees) and wind around dawn made it tough, but the sun warmed everything up and the wind became simply non-existant. Around 9AM, we set-up just at the bottom of the steepest part of a ridge, and did some calling. Mouth call.....nothing......mouth call.....nothing. Dead calm, no birds. Should I try the box call? Boom....two birds hammered on it......waaaaay off....500-700 yards away, two ridges across from us.

Now, to position/reposition? Give them a chance to call again on their own.....then yelp to see where they were at. Closer.....coming at us.....guess we stay put.

I hit the box call hard, and they love it.....we stay put. A few gobbles on their own, and 20 minutes of silence. A few check calls, clucks, confirm they're 100 yards away, on the ridge top, pacing back and forth, unwilling to work their way down.

Continued silence and leaf-scratching were the ticket. The lead bird strutted the whole way down the hill, and we actually heard him spitting/drumming/dragging wingtips at 80 yards out, well before we could see him. That's a first for me....hearing it that far out.

This bird was followed by another good gobbler, though 40 yards back. At 40 yards, the lead bird almost took a wrong turn, instead hopping up on a log......should've blasted him off it. My angle was not my buddy's, so he waited for a less-than-ideal 35 yarder moving to his right, against a stout dead stick, seeing only the top part of his head, in 3/4 strut. Nonetheless, the bird toppled. Will post pics soon.

STATS -

Weight - 24 3/4 lbs.

Spurs - 1/2"

Beard - 10"

aaron1.JPG

aaron2.JPG

aaron3.JPG

Joel

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lookin4fish

The turkey gods blessed me again this year. this was my first tom, got a hen last fall. nothing beats seeing that bright red head and turing the old boy towards you with a few calls. in all it was 22 lbs with 8 inch beard, 1 inch spurs and only took about 5 hours to find him. no trophy by any means but it was a treat for me. besides, smoked turkey on opener fishing is going to taste mighty fine! i wish the late season hunters the best of luck

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Stratosman

With the crappy weather and all Saturday morning dad and I weren't to positiive but we were still hunting nonetheless. The previous 4 days yeilded only 2 tom sightings and a couple hens, very quiet indeed.

We got set up in a meadow surrounded by woods around 5:10, it didn't take long to heat the first gobble, then another, they were close! I decided to keep quite till they hit the ground so we just waited them out. About 5:45 I looked to the left and saw one of them coasting down out of the tree into the field about 200 yards down. I looked down to grab my call and when I looked back up he was landing in front of us just beyond the hen and jake decoy, about 50 yards out. I figure he saw the decoys in flight and changed his mind. Well, I didn't even hit the call as he took a few steps closer, when he paused I drilled him. It happened fast!

Dad and I tried a few more locations with liitle success. One other spotted, but he was henned up. Moved to another farm about 2 miles down the road where we spotted a lone tom on the field edge about 400 yards away. We set up and he disappeared into the woods, I gave a few clucks and waited him out nonetheless. About 10 minutes into the deal a hen came up from behind us, clucking and purring up to the decoy, it was neat to watch her. About 10 minutes after she continued on her way, another hen came out of the woods for a look, cool. Another 15 minutes and to my left about 200 yards out another hen was making her way across the chisel plowed corn field. I was thinking, man with all the hens there has to be some single toms around, we watched her for a while, looked aver again and about 100 yards behind her was her boyfriend, now were talkin. I kept the call on the ground as she was working her way right towards the decoys, she passed right in front of us and into the woods, and he continued to follow her path about 100 yards behind, strutting then jogging to catch up. It was fun to watch. When he was about 40 yards, dad drilled him. Game over! Two turkeys on the last day of the season. Funny thing is same thing happend last year. Sure was an awesome hunt.

The highlight of the day (besides the turkeys of course) was having three bucks feed within 15 feet of us about 10 minutes after I shot my bird, the decoys didn't bother them and niether did my hen calling. All in all a great season.

Both turkeys could be twins, 9-1/2 beard, 20 lbs, 3/4 inch spurs.

turkey050053ik.jpg

turkey050086ax.jpg

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HateHumminbird

Stratosman:

Hunted with a friend a few miles from where you do on Sunday morning. Had a tom, 3 jakes, and a hen fly down 80 yards from us.....perfect. The tom drove off the jakes, and sat with the hen in the middle of a pasture, gobbling easily over 50 times.

The jakes just hung out at the woods-edge with the hen, and begin to work away, despite my decoy's best efforts, and my own to call them in. Was very close to getting into it with the hen, but she backed down at the last minute. The jakes got a bit spooked from my increasingly aggressive calling (they were trucking away).

The gale-force winds were picking up now. The whole group headed off, and were wearing out some sole, but the gobbler was sounding off the whole way. Our leapfrogging to cut them off was always not leapfroggin' far enough.

Later in the morning we spotted 3 toms jumping up and fighting about 1/2 mile away. We put on a sneak that took 30 minutes of hard hiking to complete, and arrived with no toms in sight. We called, hung tight awhile, and eventually gave up. While walking away, we saw them another 1/4 mile out, spooking up a hill. Unreal. Hard to believe a diet of corn and sprouts could fuel those crazy turkeys to cover ground like that......especially when they were just hanging out for the first 10 minutes we watched them.

So I'm getting ready to head out for the last time this weekend, we'll see what happens.

Joel

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bigbucks

This isn't very short, sorry I like details.

It was terribly windy Saturday morning. I was in the woods at 5:30. I found a spot to setup about 5:50, at 6:10, while I was taking care of some unmentionable business before adding my heavier coat I heard something coming that wasn't a squirrel, fortunately it was a deer that came to about 50 yards & then reversed direction due to it's nose. It never saw me. At 7:00 I'd decided I was going to start looking for turkeys, as it was so windy they weren't likely to hear my calls, nor my movements in the woods. Incidentally I was setup very close to where we heard a bird gobbling for three hours Tuesday morning. Now I had permission in the woods where he'd been, I didn't previously.

Anyway, just before 7:00, I heard a few gobbles way to the South of me, which were being carried by the wind and I could barely hear. I figured they could be a mile away, but having nothing else going I decided I'd just head that way into the wind, until I ran out of property with permission or found a bird. I walked a 4 wheeler trail nearly half a mile before getting to the edge of the property. (I thought it was the edge, I just found out it goes way farther than that.) I looked down the hill and low and behold there was a gobbler strutting and fanning about 300-400 yards away out in a huge meadow. After looking a bit more I saw a second smaller bird that I assumed was a hen. They were SE of me and looked to be working North down a fenceline. I backtracked over a hill keeping a tree between the birds and me until I was out of sight, and circled around to get more directly North of them and as close to the open meadow as I dared. This put me about 200 yards NNW of them. I found a deadfall up against some tall bushes and setup. I started calling and almost immediately he stopped fanning and started working my way, along with the other bird which I realized was a smaller tom of some type, possibly a jake. When they got to about a 100 yards I knew they were coming, so the gun was up and ready. Somewhere in there I lost sight of the smaller bird and still don't know where he went, possibly behind me. The bigger one crossed through a fenceline directly North of me, probably now about 75 yards and angling NW past me. I decided either he was confused on my location because of the wind or leery of something in my calling. Whatever the reason, he was passing me, but at 45 yards with a clear shot at his head I just went ahead and took him, shooting through a gap in a big deadfall about halfway between us and over another fence just behind that. I rolled him. The 5 shot didn't hit him with many pellets and mostly got neck, but he died quite quickly after flopping around just a little bit. I was pretty pumped.

I shot him on Saturday, 5/7/05, at 7:55am. He weighed 20 pounds, with a 10" beard. His spurs weren't very long at 1/2" & 5/8", but I was very happy.

I have some digital pics, taken at home, as I was alone, but don't know how to post unless Shutterfly still works here. I thought I read it doesn't.

Man were the ticks out I found 23 or 24 ticks that morning, after doing a lot more walking around scouting deer trails on other properties the rest of the morning.

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Stratosman

Jnelson, we hunt about a mile south of Sogn, which is about 7 miles south of Cannon Falls. You were around there huh? Good luck the rest of the way.

Big Bucks, good work!

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bigbucks

Thanks Stratosman, same to you, nice birds.

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run-n-gun

Has anyone been out around the St. Cloud area? I'll be hunting in 415 starting Friday morning. It's supposed to be pretty cool out, and I'm guessing the birds will be pretty tight lipped. I know some buddies of mine hunting in the Cold Spring area have had a difficult time the past few days. Hopefully things change! Good luck to any hunters left out there.

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strat-o-caster

There's no turkey's down there... Just kidding, Hope you do well I know you've been looking forward to this. If the bird's are not responding to your call's observe them and find a pattern and route they are using and try to ambush them!! Make Becki proud and bring back a bird!!! Strat

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SCCO9803

Saturday May 7th, 610am, zone 343.

I got out to where we were going to hunt at about 515am and got set up. We were set up on a draw of woods that ran bewtween two farm fields, figuring the turkeys would be roosted in the draw. When it began to get light our figuring proved to be right. We had a tom gobbling in the draw quite close to where we were set up. At about 550am two hens flew out of the roost, one went to the west and one to the north out into the fields. The hens were in the field for about 20 minutes when another turkey came walking out of the draw on the west side. I was luckily located on the westside of the draw, because that turkey happened to be a tom. He exited the woods at 45 yards from where I was located. He instantly went into strut and almost as quickly fanned down. I then saw he had a beard and raised the gun. Now I faced a grueling situation was the bird going to come toward me offering a clean shot or walk away over the crown in the field. Well he chose to do the later and turned to head away. I figured it was now or never, and had confidence that the turkey choke I had in the gun would do the job. I fired and the bird dropped. It happened so quickly that I'm not sure if the bird was flopping around or getting up to head off, but I shot my remaining two shells and that was it. I raced out there and had bagged the largest turkey of my career. The bird weighed in at 24 pounds 10.5 ounces, had a 10 3/4 inch beard, and 1 1/4 inch spurs. I paced it off at 48 yards. I know it was a little long of a shot but the result was success. I had a great time and spent it with my dad and some good friends.

*Picture is located on the photo sharing/ turkey contest thread.

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run-n-gun

Strat you'll get a picture sent your if I get one! I couldn't sleep last night I was so excited. Did you get your fan cleaned/mounted yet?

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May 4 near Gilmanton in Buffalo Co - missed him with the bow(he was about 34yrds instead of the 25 I guessed on). Followed up with the 12 ga. 24.5 lbs, 10.5 in beard, 1.25 in spurs. Had little balls of ice on his beard was so cold the night before. Got a second tag for the 6th season.

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I think Joel (jnelson) has been anxiously waiting for this post.

I could have titled it 2 separate things but I decided to combine the title- A Classic Field Hunt for my 1st Gobbler!

To start out with, I'm a turkey hunting novice. I come from the land of ruffed grouse in NW MN, not turkeys & pheasants. After moving south, I previously tried to hunt turkeys once with no success. About all I learned in that outing was how much I hated competition while hunting which I hardly ever had up north. I had concluded that was the end of my turkey hunting career until I owned my own land.

Well, since then, I'd been chatting with Joel online and he convinced me to come down and turkey hunt with him this year. Obstacle #1 was obtaining a license. I applied...and successfully drew a tag for season G. Little did I know that season G fell on the MN Fishing Opener. Oh well!! If I had a chance to bag my first turkey, the walleyes could wait. grin.gif

The season is drawing near and Joel tells me he has a field that the birds should be in when my season opens. He said they have been in the same field for a number of days in a row. In fact, he tells me on the phone that there were 4 Toms, 2 Jakes, and 6 Hens (Am I even close on those numbers??) in the field the morning before we were going to hunt it. Well... that fact alone sure didn't help me sleep that night.

3:15 am on Friday, May 13th rolls around and my alarm clock is squaking. I don't think I've ever awoken so easily at 3:15 in the morning as I did this morning. I sort of woke up, jumped in the pickup, and headed down to meet Joel with a big cup of coffee in tow.

To make a short story even shorter, we got to the field and proceeded to the corner to set up. Joel set up the 3 dekes while I prepared the blind. We settled in and waited. Joel said this will be a 'Classic Field Hunt' and didn't anticipate doing much calling, but to rather let the decoys do the calling when, and if, birds did enter the field.

So there we patiently wait, IN THE RAIN!!! What a bummer that rain was. The rain hadn't stopped for 4 days so why should it stop when my turkey season opens. It didn't.

As we sat there contemplating stategy, I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye. Like an (Contact US Regarding This Word), I tell Joel something just landed in the field. Yeah, it was a turkey and it was approximately 70+ yards straight out from our position. Not 10 seconds later, a 2nd bird emerged from the treeline and proceeded into the plowed field. The 2nd bird had an obvious beard but neither of them moved our direction. As they were out there, another bird made its presence at the field edge and I even noticed this one was a little different from the other two- its head was a lot lighter in color from a distance.

This 3rd bird also seamed to be interested in our decoys where the other 2 weren't. He proceeded to follow the grass along the edge of the woods towards our decoys. He stops to do a small strut and let out a gobble. You can only imagine my excitement now. With gun at the ready and the Tom sitting about 50-60 yards out, I'm starting to shake really bad and take much deeper, shortened breaths. I think Joel whispering to me that the Tom was coming our direction didn't calm me down at all.

When we were initially setting up, I let Joel know my distances and landmarks for a comfortable shot. Not too long after the Tom gobbled, he had passed the tree marking the end of my comfortable range. He then proceeded off the grass into the plowed field quartering towards us. When he made this move, I got concerned because he was no longer heading towards the dekes (was this good or bad, I don't know...)

Joel told me he was going to call to get the Tom to present a good shot. I said I was ready and don't remember much after that. The Tom stuck his head out, and I touched off, and there was a flopping pile of feathers in the rain soaked, muddy field.

We ran out and I picked the bird up and got a first hand lesson on how powerful a turkey can be. It was not quite a prizefight as I tried to keep control of the Toms legs while wings were flapping and I finally took care of him.

The one small point I overlooked was I had never shot this gun before. It was Joel's full camo Browning Gold Hunter tweaked for turkeys that he had full confidence in. I had full confidence in my shooting ability so we put 2 & 2 together and called it good. I'd have rather not done it this way but circumstances sort of required it. The end result was very successful and satisfying.

Thank you Joel for the AWESOME morning!! I don't know what else to say. I think I was more pumped that the plan came together and I didn't miss the shot at the critical moment. I did learn that its one thing to hunt for yourself, but when you enlist the help of a buddy, you don't want to let him down!

Here's the scoop...

40 yard shot.

1 gobbler.

1 wet Hanson & Joel.

The gobbler's stats:

- 22 pounds, 8 ounces

- 11 inch beard

- spurs were 1 inch & 1-1/8 inch

I am so proud of this bird for so many reaons, being harvested very late in the season after previously being hunted is definitely one of them. Being my first turkey PERIOD, is definitley another.

225turkey11iz.jpg

225turkey22ab.jpg

(I guess I have to apologize for the photos. The turkey looked like a wet rat and was going to be difficult to photograph due to the non-stop rain!!)

The fan, beard, and spurs are currently at my taxidermist (my great uncle Jack Hanson). Thanks Jack for helping me out!

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TJFISHER

Hanson....Great story ..It was a real pleasure meeting you today at Uncle Jack's..I didn't realize that was your first turkey. If you said it there I missed it, CONGRATS.....and of course Uncle Jack willl make it look good. Never tried turkey hunting but may have to,

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USPENAMC

That turkey looks like my wifes hair in the morning what a site lol congratulations.

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Nice turkey Chris!! Way to get that gobbler right away and go fishin!! wink.gif

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Borch

Way to go Chris! That's awsome Tom!

Joel pulls through again.

Nice job.

Borch

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Ray Esboldt

Well, I hunted a grand total of 4 hours and 15 minutes this year in two states and bagged two birds. That's good, I guess. I am kind of disappointed not to have spent a little more time out there, but how can you pass up a tom first day or not?

Here's my Wisconsin hunt summary from this past Wednesday. I arrived at my southern Zone 6 area on Tuesday night. My wife's aunt and uncle host me for this hunt on their farm and grant me access to about 1,000 acres of land. It don't get any better than that. Man, I love my wife (and her relatives). Her uncle told me of a group of birds that have been using the same area for a week. We checked the area out late Tuesday, and sure enough, they were still using it. I had a place to start.

Wednesday morning, I get situated in the woods about 4:45 AM. It was warm and breezy, but had not started raining yet. About 5:05 AM a tom lights up on roost probably within 200 yards of me, maybe closer. I let him gobble a few more times, grabbed the box call, and ever so lightly scratched it. Instant gobble. He knows where I am, and that's all the calling I did until he hit the ground. At 5:30 after about 20 more gobbles, I here him launch from roost. He flies right over my head and banks right. He hits the ground gobbling. I scratch the box call again and he gobbles. He finally works within 50 yards of me, but is too far and has too much brush between him and I. I then hear another bird launch from roost and it lands in a tree right behind me. 5 minutes later it glides down, again over my head, and joins the other bird. It's a hen. The tom is still gobbling and strutting and spitting and drumming and even getting a little closer to me. He's fired up, but I still don't have a shot. This goes on until about 6:00 AM when the birds finally walk off to check out 3 other birds across a gully.

The other 3 birds consist of a tom, a jake (not sure why his presence was tolerated), and a hen. The other tom gobbles a couple times and goes into strut. Well, that puts the first tom into a frenzy. He breaks into a sprint, chases the tom and jake away from the one hen and goes into strut. For the next hour, I watch this tom hold off the other two male birds and keep the hens close. It was a neat site to see.

For reasons I don't understand, one of the hens runs off into the woods. The dominant tom is beside himself gobbling his head off. Five minutes later the other hen just plain walks away. This tom now is hopping mad. He gobbles and chases the other two males as if to say this is all their fault. Boy was it ever. I grabbed the box call and broke into a series of cuts and yelps. The other two birds just beat feet at my decoys with the other tom in pursuit. They made it within 20 yards and banked right leaving the other guy exposed to gunfire. I was going to wait but he took a step off course and had to let loose. He dropped at about 45 yards, but managed to roll about another 150 yards down the hill. That's further than I wanted to shoot, but the end result was good.

That's it. I can't wait for next year. And, I fully expect to hunt quite a bit longer then. I ain't spoiled yet.

Tale of the tape:

Weight: 20lbs 12oz.

Beard: 10 inches

Spurs: 7/8th inches

Time of Kill: 7:15 AM

Finally, a hurried picture because by this time it was pouring.

witurkey20051go.th.jpg

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Borch

All right Ray!

It's good to hear some success stories!

Borch

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HateHumminbird

Ray:

You the man.....short time afield usually means a good deal of planning, preparation, and hard work.

And you had me worried, trying to talk you out of taking a jake......instead you shoot a fat tom with a 10" rope!!!

Last time I feel bad for you turkeyslayer grin.gif.

And i'm with you, i don't think I'd ever pass up a good tom like that on your first day, hour, or minute.

Joel

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HateHumminbird

Good job Hanson, that was a fun morning. It was beautiful to see that white and blue-headed bird strut his way into us. He even ripped off a gobble for us at the dekes. Funny how 5 minutes of holding the gun up like that is akin to 6 hours of doing anything else. You absolutely crushed that bird. Even though he was flapping pretty good, he was more bloody than I'm used to seeing at 40 yards.

Like Chris said, these birds had been hunted the previous three seasons; actually pretty hard. 2 other toms had been shot in the same field we were hunting, so I thought these birds would at the very least be wary, and probably call-shy to boot.

It's a phenomenal spot, just one of those places that every year, turkeys seem to want to be.

Thought I'd try something new to show everyone a visual of how our hunt unfolded, along with the text. This makes it easier to follow the story. So here's a try at an edited aerial photo.

hanson_hunt_map.jpg

I'm just glad on such a miserable morning we didn't have to go after them, and they came to us. Made my lazy self much less grumpy. As you can see from the photo, there's much more turkey woods and a few big hills we would've tackled next, had plan "A" not worked out.

Joel

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Ray Esboldt

Joel,

grin.gif

Technically, I passed on a jake as he came into range before the bird I killed.

And, you're right. It's nice when Plan A works. Now, as an experienced turkey hunter that knows how it really can be, you have to explain to Chris that Plan A works about 1 in 50 times. He needs a 12 hour day in the woods next year.

Congrats, Chris! The first bird is always the best, but only makes you hungrier to do it again.

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HC Eye Hunter

My turkey season began on Sunday May 8, 2005. Up till that date and because of the weather, prescouting was very unproductive and I had even contemplated bypassing the season and not purchase my turkey license. Then I thought what the heck, if I don’t go out turkey hunting it would bother me to no end that I didn’t at least try.

The area I was hunting is a new area this year giving only five licenses out per five day season. Most of the birds were really spread out and seamed to be relocating and moving constantly around to different areas. The one thing that I had heard recently from other hunters is that the toms were separated from the hens. Knowing this information I figured if I do find a tom without hens he may be easier to call than at other times of the turkey season.

Opening mourning began for me at 4:30am with partly cloudy skies, temps in the 50s and a brisk wind from the ESE. It was disgustingly the same kind of weather that I had prescouting! Oh well what can you do.

The first place I went to try to locate a tom resulted in nothing. After relocating to my second spot everything changed. Five minutes into my arrival the river bottom lit up with the gobbling of a loan tom about a quarter mile away. Finally, I was on a bird!

I went and parked my car in a place where the tom couldn’t see me I loaded up my gear and went towards where I had last heard the bird. BUSTED! Yep I got busted, he had already entered the field that I was walking in and he busted me.

Keeping a mental note of where the bird was in the field and where he was gobbling earlier that mourning I had a real good Idea where to setup the next mourning.

Day 2 Monday May 9, 2005 skies were cloudy winds from the ESE at 10mph and the forecast said rain likely by 6:00 am.

4:00 AM comes early but I knew I needed to get down to the area while it was still dark or the tom may spook.

I arrived at my parking area at 4:20 am and hiked the edge of the river and last year’s corn field about a quarter mile to my hunting sight. I found what I thought was a good tree to sit against and a place that looked great for decoying in a tom. I put the decoys about 20 yards out into the field from where I would be sitting. Still dark I was setup and ready for anything.

Finally it started to get light, the song birds were chirping and the world was coming alive. I still hadn’t heard the tom but I was pretty sure he wasn’t to far from where I was setup.

All of a sudden the river bottom ignited in gobbling, the tom was there and he was close!

Listening and knowing the tom was still in his roost I remained silent until his gobbling became more intense. After some time I let out a couple of series of soft yelps with my diaphragm call. The tom returned back with an enthusiastic gobble becoming increasingly excited with my soft yelps. Knowing that I had his attention I quieted down while his gobbling intensified.

After a minute or two an eruption of wings came from the tree tops, the tom was leaving his perch and he was coming down to pay me a visit. The bird landed about 80 yards long of my setup. The tom didn’t appear to know where the sound came from so I gave him a few more soft yelps.

Bingo! He saw my hen and jake decoys and began to work my way nearing the gap quickly. At about forty yards he went into full strut and with love on his mind entered into my decoys.

I sat patiently, gun on knee, safety off and ready for the twenty yard shot. The bird remained in full strut amongst the two decoys paying special attention to the hen decoy.

With the red bead of my shotgun on his head I remained motionless waiting for that right moment. The bird was definitely close enough for the shot but facing me in full strut and in the decoys I didn’t dare fire. I wanted to wait until he offered me a clean shot with his neck stretched and away from the decoys.

The time was here and it was now! The tom left his strut position, turned sideways and started to move giving me a clean head shot. With a squeeze of the trigger the game was over and the bird went down hard from the force of the 12 gauge. The shot was perfect with the gobbler’s head receiving most of the full pattern of 6 shot at the edge of the decoys.

My electric scale varied each time I weighed him so the weight varied from 18.9#s to 21#s with an 8” beard.

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Borch

Way to go HC Eye Hunter!

A great hunt and bird! laugh.gif

Borch

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