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HateHumminbird

Stories From the Hunt - '05

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bigbucks

Great job & for that matter congrats to all the guys that scored a bird this year.

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TomBow

Awesome stories!

Here's wha'happen.

The wife and I, she of the taken-one-bird-so-far clan and me with but 3-so-far-total, head to public land, would have had permission on adjacent private but some person of questionable upbringing decided to trespass and kill the landowners desire to let ANYONE hunt his property. But enough of my whining....

Our hunt started May 9, Sunday and there was but 1 truck in the parking lot when we arrived at o-dark thirty. Not bad we thought and geared up and headed to the turkey removal zone. Our travels were cut short when I blinked twice on the headlight and spotted yon other hunting dude waving us from his preselected hunt location. We obligingly, waved back and headed off for a different turkey removal zone, not wishing to booger up the guys hunt. (dang, we ARE neighborly!) I'd been on this property a few times er three before and new of other spots that may just be the ticket for our turk-kill-atory desires. We get blind up, gear stowed, chairs at the ready and one hen deke out. Now, I don't have much luck with dekes but can't resist trying it on the first day, just to see if one of those TEEVEE-type hunts, where the gobblers fall all over themselves heading for the deke, might just happen to me and the wife someday. So we put her out 10 yards from the blind. My plan was to arrow myself a fat and tasty bird while my wife planned on dropping a load of 20-guage 6's on the noggin of her bird. A bold plan indeed but not out of the realm of possibilities, right? We settled in for the wait and began to hear the music of the wily Thunder-Chickens, a magical song that causes the heart to race a bit quicker and the eyes to widen a bit, too. About that time I noticed that yonder decoy was a bit leaned-over too far, in a severly non-natural turkey like posture. Kee-rap, I'd better get on out there and investigate. Sure enough, the stake for said-deke was busted and so ended Ms.Deke's luring ability for the day. She'd just have to hang with us inside the blind. Like I said before, never had much luck with them fake-type foam turkey replicas.

Got tucked back in the blind, made sure the vid-cam was at the ready and noticed the gobbles were sounded a bit closer than before. Some yelping, clucking and purrs had one of the big chickens fired up and he might just be headed our way.

Let me just take a minute to show my extreme generousity; A few months ago, after we confirmed that, yes, the turkey gods had again blessed us with tags, we had made a bet on a Nascar event and, lo and behold, I had won! (don't happen often!) The bet was for first-shot-at-a-turkey privileges and it was all mine! At the time, we figured that if two legal birds came in, I'd silently arrow one and she could get the second bird. Time passed and the night before our hunt was to start this year, I had a twinge of generosity (probably spurred on by the fact that I had arrowed a bird (first bow bird) in NE in early April, already this year), so I decided we'd flip to see who got first shot in MN.

Back to the blind, I flipped a coin, she said "Tails" and sure enough, the quarter landed "tails".

It was about sunrise when we noticed that the one bird gobbling closest to us sounded like two birds...or there was an echo. I turned the camera toward the right, where the gobbles were coming from and got back out of shotgun-line-o-fire, hoping to avoid high speed copper-coated lead shot cranial bonding activity. I peaked out the window and saw a large black bird walking from the edge of the woods. This weren't no crow, boys, this was the famous Thunder Chicken and he was doing his best to out shout his brethren. That's about the time that I noticed a definite change in the tone of my wife's whispers, she was just a bit excited, as was I. She tried her best to keep the turkey on the camera while I did my best to calm her down just a bit. I tell you what, camera-izing your hunts just ain't easy and the bottom line for us was we're here to take a bird home, if we get him on camera, great if not, well...camera film is not nearly as tasty as Those Big Black Chickens! I quietly called as the bird strutted about 60 yards out and tried to drown out his unseen friend, who was also gobbling. My wife had the gun up and ready but I urged her to wait until the bird got closer. It's tough when the bird starts to walk the other direction but sometimes, they do turn around...and this one did just that. He headed right back toward us and gobbled purdy for the camera a few times. Back toward the woods he walked and closed the distance. I said "take him when you can" when I figured he was in range and I heard the click of the safety and the roar of the mighty 20-guage! The bird lept into the air amidst a cloud of feathers and touched back down and headed off at a dead run. Alas, his escape was not to be, at about 50 yards, he rolled over face first and began preparing himself for the oven. I think my wife said "I got him!" about 50 times in the next 60 seconds! I was just as excited as she was. It had been the shortest opening day I've ever had. Her second bird ever was down for the count! I love my wife and the fact that she digs this turkey chasing deal as much as me? Well, dreams do come true!

Specs: Live weight (well DEAD-weight, they are tough to weigh live!): 25 lbs.

Spurs: 1.25" and sharp

Beard: 10" even.

Me, well, I just couldn't put the combo together and never had bird within range. The last day was 42 degrees, 20 mph winds and downpouring which made me go home early. Hey, I got to see ALL the weather though and watch my wife bag her bird no. 2!

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NELS-BELLS

Hi all-

I've inserted a photo of my recent Turkey Hunt down near Morton, MN. As you will see it was a successful hunt. I was fortunate enough to have a my kids with me when I shot the bird. They were as excited as I was. I think I have some future Turkey hunters.

My Dad and I got the kids up at 4:30AM. We got to the area we hunt at about 5:30 and heard a turkey gobble as we crossed the alfalfa field to the woods. So the three of us (because Grandpa had to drive back home and get his other gun) set up just inside the tree line and started to make some hen calls. After about 25 minutes Peter blurted out in his regular voice "Dad, there's a turkey". I turned and looked into the woods and spotted the bird at about 30 yards. It was clearly a Tom due to its bright red color. I was pretty sure I saw a beard also. I was then able to raise the gun and shoot before he disappeared. The rest is history. That was about 6AM. By the time Grandpa got back we were walking out, carrying our Turkey.

20 lbs.

8 3/4" beard

7/8" spurs

Nels

TurkeyPICfinal.jpg

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tealitup

Nels-Bells

Great job, not with getting the turkey, but for taking your kids out for the hunt. Wonderful to see!

P.S. O.K. good job on the turkey too.

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Borch

Great hunts guys!

Very nice birds as well!

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HateHumminbird

Just relaying a story from a buddy that hunted some adjacent property to ours this morning with a bow.

Adam headed to the top of a pretty steep ridge late last night to get set up for morning. Birds roost all along the shoulder of the ridge, so he was afraid to blow them out of the trees by hiking up the massive ridge in the morning.

Gobbles woke him up in the blind at first light, and Adam got everything ready. He set up the dekes before sleeping, so tree yelping was in order. Adam shut up after that, and within a few minutes, he had a gobbling tom 30 yards out. There were at least 5 other birds up on the ridge within a few hundred yards, and they were gobbling too.

As the bird strutted outside of bow range, he made his way behind the blind, then closer, spitting and drumming the whole way. Adam was trying to peek out the back window when he heard some thumping......it was another tom standing on his jake decoy.

After some shakiness and steadying the arrow, he pummeled the longbeard with the gobbler gullotine, right in the neck. That broadhead is the real deal, especially after i saw the broken/sliced neck! That thing does some damage.

The bird hasn't been weighed yet, but it looked shy of 20lbs. Spurs were probably almost 1 1/4" tho, and hooked. Beard looked about 8 inches. Had to head to work!

Joel

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HateHumminbird

Nels:

Beautiful photo, and nice story. You should submit it for the turkey hunting photo contest under the "photo sharing" forum. However, next year i think that kids should have their own division, because the rest of us ugly hunters don't have a chance against photos like yours! grin.gif

Joel

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Ruttin' Buck

Felt obligated to put my $.02 in for this season. I just got back yesterday from hunting all 7 days of season G.

As you probably know, it was 7 days of rain, wind and quite cold for the first few. Not real conducive to hunting the wiley birds.

In a nutshell, here's the deal. This was my 6th season. Prior to this season I was 5 for 5 hunting either season G or H. I felt like I had these late season birds down pat with my last one weighing in at 23.5 lbs, 9.5" beard and 1 3/8" long spurs.

I hunt in an area with quite a few birds. I wish I would have logged all of my hunts from seasons past because I have to say that my average daily count of birds is probably 15 birds per day. That would include when the hunts ended at noon each day and we'd glass fields in the afternoon. We'd see 30-50 birds a day back then. I saw 11 birds over the past 7 days hunting from 4:00 in the morning to 5:00 in the afternoon with only an hour for lunch.

I heard up to 8 different gobblers on a few of the mornings, but only saw 3 toms. I was able to work a few within 30 yards in wooded bluff country and never saw them. I had a jake at 10 yards but let him pass as I hoped for a sunny day.

The wind is probably the toughest condition as sounds don't travel well and the birds seem edgy. I hope it calms down a bit for you season H folks.

That's why they call it hunting!

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Cooter

May 20, second bird of the season(two tags this year). 21 lb, 10.5 beard, typical 2 yr old spurs. Fifth tom taken off that farm this year. He was lonely... for a while laugh.gif

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QuackAttack

Last season in Minnesota. We've always applied as it is a safe bet you will draw. This year with the poo-ee weather for the last month has the birds behaving differently from previous years. We had to resort to gorilla tactics. Saturday we had the big flock of 5 Toms, 2 Jakes and 3 hens

flock5aw.jpg

come within 100 yards, the two jakes broke off and got close.....then the rain came. The toms came out of strut and the flock disolved. They all stayed within 200 yards and looked like they were sleeping. After an 1 hr of setting there in rain we decided to make a move as there were 3 of the toms about 50yds from a finger of woods. We crawled back and went around (way around). Still raining we came up to within 60 yards of the birds, but could only see 1 of the 3, the alfalfa was tall and the birds were just hunkering down. We were getting ready to make the final belly crawl when we were busted. They moved off fairly quickly putting as they went through the downpour. We busted tail all the way around and were able to intersept them again. This time they were real close to the woods, I had one in my sites at 20 ft but backed off to get my dad in position (got greedy). Busted again. Day over, had to dry off.

The next day I was able to ambush a gobbler and about an hour and a half after that my old man ambushed one 100yards from where mine was taken. My dad was watching my bird in the bics when I took him and I was watching in the bics when his was taken. I don't need any lectures on the dangers of hunting this way. We are the only hunters on this property. We don't go creaping around without the other one knowing it.

My first morning was trashed as a road grader stopped for 45 min to pick morels on our property 100yrd from my setup (with the machine running the whole time) The only birds I could bring in was this bearded hen, the toms wanted nothing to do with her I watched them treat her like she was diseased for 2 days!

beardedhen33pv.jpg

beardedhen49nb.jpg

Here are the shots of my dad and me.

2turkeys38ye.jpg

harryturkey14jh.jpg

adamturkey26to.jpg

Congratulations on all who scored, enjoy the feast!

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HateHumminbird

QA:

Phenomenal pictures. What you've done here has given me good reason to not only photo more aspects of the hunt, but to video the whole thing. Seeing the birds in the field, the bearded hen......all of it makes you want to be out there that much more.

As for the "guerilla tactics," I know, I've gotten the lecture too. When calling does not bring them to your doorstep, you do what you gotta do. Now i'm not advocating unsafe hunting, but esp. on private property with sole permission, I have no problems with that style of hunting. Opening day in Missouri on public land is a different story. It's ultimately up to the hunter to make a judgement call on the area, property, and pressure that he/she is seeing. Hopefully that's with wise judgement. With all the safety-related decisions we make out there in the turkey woods (cross the pasture with the 2500lb bull or not, straddle the mega-volt electric fence or slide under, etc.), I think the dumb and weak will not make it, and the strong will survive. grin.gif

Congrats on the great hunt. Those look like healthy birds, pigs really, any stats on them? Just curious.

Thanks,

Joel

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TomBow

Nice pictures Quack! Congrats to you both! I agree about having to "get after 'em" sometimes, if the conditions are right. Part of the challenge is figuring out when it's wise to go and when it's wise to stay!

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Sifty

Congates, great pics.

Sifty

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QuackAttack

Stats:

Dad's 23#, 9.75", 1 1/8"/1 1/8"

Mine 24#, 10", 1"/1"

If I would have brought any more camera equipment out my old man would have shot me!

Here is what I carry: 1 gun, 2 dekes (just in case), 1 tent, 1 chair, Backpack with tripod, camera, zome lens, notebook (I get bored), My vest with about every call known to man and a sack lunch! (If I have an itch....I'm hosed) What I need is a wheelbarrow!

I did take some video with my digital of the hen and of the flock, but it was windy and is annoying to watch. I stayed down an extra couple of days to work on the deer shack and to video and photograph turks in the morning, but instead I slept in.

Here is another idea for a picture

deadsm.jpg

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HateHumminbird

QA:

I could tell they were pigs from the photos. Especially this late in the season after all the fighting, running, and breeding, minus the eating. Think what they might've tipped the scales at if taken one of the 1st two seasons!

Where do you hunt? Chernobyl.....three mile island.....love canal?

Good job.

Joel

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Coldfeet

First off, I want to let you know that I am relatively new to turkey hunting. This year was only the second time I’ve gone. I am now officially addicted. I am an avid outdoorsman. I live in North Central Minnesota and I hunt and fish every chance I get. I hunt grouse, woodcock, ducks, geese, deer (archery, rifle, and muzzleloader), even pheasant once or twice a year in South Dakota. My first turkey hunt was fun, but it didn’t really get me all that excited, probably from my beginner’s luck. Last year it was pouring, and I mean POURING rain on opening morning and I didn’t leave camp until about 10:00. Well, I had my turkey by 10:45. Spent a grand total of 10 minutes actually hunting. I got to my spot, saw a turkey in the cornfield, called, and he came running at me like a rabid dog. Then I shot him. He wasn’t huge, probably a 2 year old. Weighed around 20 pounds with a 6 ½ inch beard and ¾ inch spurs. This year, however, was much more interesting. I should probably mention that I am hunting in SE Minnesota near Winona. Here is a day by day account of my hunt this year….

Day before opener….

Set up camp. Go scouting. See 10 turkeys (2 toms and 8 hens) crossing the fence line between the corn field and pasture. I know where I’m setting up in the morning.

Day 1 - Sunday

Rainy and very windy.

Leave camp at 5:00

Set up at 5:30 in corner of the woods with the corn field on my right and the pasture on my left with the fence line in front of me.

1 hour passes….

2 hours….

3 hours….

4 hours…

Gotta pee…

5 hours…

6 hours…

7 hours…

I’m hungry. I head back to camp for lunch and to rethink my strategy. Head back out at 2:30.

Set up in new spot, very close to camp. Set out decoys (2 hens & 1 jake).

Gobbler comes out of woods to my left after about ½ hour and is walking straight towards decoys.

Gun is up and ready.

Wind blows jake decoy around 180 degrees and it just happens to stop while facing straight at the gobbler.

This turkey is really a chicken. He runs away from jake decoy.

Hunt till 5:00, no more action.

Day 2 - Monday

Leave camp at 6:00 (harder to get up second morning)

No rain. Still Windy.

Decide to set up where I got my turkey last time.

Arrive at spot to find a “gang” of 11 or 12 jakes happily picking worms from the cornfield, all within the 30 to 50 yard range.

Watch them for 10 to 15 minutes, never raise gun.

Jakes leave. Think to myself, “Maybe I should have taken one of them.” Too late now.

Gobblers going nuts all around me all morning. Apparently none of them like the sound of my slate call.

Around 10:00 I decide to try “stalking” a turkey. I call, he gobbles, I move, then I repeat the process. Suddenly I realize that down in SE Minnesota with its big hills and valleys that some gobbles are a lot farther away then they sound.

Set up and hunt the remainder of the day in same spot as Sunday afternoon.

4:00 rolls around, haven’t seen anything all day since passing those jakes in the morning. Start practicing with diaphragm call since I am not too good at it.

4:15 after weeks of practicing (more like gagging) at home with no results, I think I have figured this thing out and it kind of sounds pretty good. Hear gobble in the distance.

4:30 Still practicing diaphragm call, getting better. Gobbles getting closer….

4:45 That turkey can’t be far away. Crap!!! Only 15 minutes of hunting time left…

I’m going after him.

4:46 Stand up, walk approximately 10 yards and watch Gobbler take off and fly probably 2 miles or so away. (he was about 50 yards to my left just inside the woods.)

Day 3 – Tuesday

Leave Camp at 6:30 (even harder to get out of bed)

Don’t want to go far, so I set up in same spot as on Sunday and Monday afternoon.

Try diaphragm call. It still works. Lots of gobbles this time.

7:30 Gobbles stop

8:00 I get thirsty and reach down to my pack to get a drink of water and suddenly hear PUTT!! PUTT!!

Now I sit there dumbfounded with my gun in my lap as not 1, but 2 gobblers come scurrying out of the woods from my right this time. The first one runs and takes to flight and the second one runs out, stops and stands there for about 2 or 3 seconds 30 yards straight away, then continues running and follows his buddy. It never even occurred to me to raise my gun.

Did not see anything the remainder of the day.

7:00 Tuesday evening my hunting party decides to try the local trout streams.

8:00 I slip on a bank and SEVERELY sprain my left ankle. I literally had to crawl a quarter of a mile back to the truck.

I am now starting to think that turkey hunting sucks.

Day 4 – Wednesday

Wake up at 6:00 a.m.

My ankle is the size of a softball.

The rest of my hunting party heads for the woods.

I can gear turkeys laughing (gobbling) at me all morning

6:45 Turkey gobbling is pissing me off. Grab my gun and diaphragm call and hobble to the spot I was at the day before. What was normally a 10 minute walk takes me roughly twice that and with a considerable amount of wincing.

7:10 I call…..GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE….

7:20 I call….. Silence

7:30 I am about to call when I see something move to my left. Two gobblers are running across the field in front of me. I raise my gun and call and they stop dead in their tracks with heads held high, but they are 60 yards out.

7:31 They relax and start happily pecking at the ground.

7:33 I call again. They raise their heads. The lead gobbler starts walking slowly towards me.

7:35 Gun is getting heavy. Lead bird is 45 yards out, second bird is still 60. Wait a minute, I have a 12 gauge with a super full turkey choke and 3 ½ inch magnum turkey shells. What the heck am I waiting for? I pull the trigger.

7:36 Bird is down. Check watch. Back to camp to nurse my ankle.

Roughly the same size as the last one I shot, but I’m not complaining one bit. Can’t wait for next year.

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Ray Esboldt

Coldfeet,

That's a very good story. Thanks for sharing it. But, son you need to go to bed earlier on these trips so you have the pleasure of walking out in the dark. grin.gif

Man, I miss it already. I can not wait until next year. I plan on a Wisconsin hunt for sure, Minnesota if I get drawn, and maybe even a run after a Merriam in one of the Dakotas. There's even been some talk with from one of my friend's about a trip to Texas for a chance at a Rio.

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bigbucks

Great story, I totally understand the harder to get out of bed each morning thing.

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Coldfeet

Going to bed early had nothing to do with why I had a hard time getting up. Sleeping on an air mattress in my tent with no pillow (of all things to forget) probably had a little more to do with it. If you don't believe me, try sleeping with no pillow tonight and see how long it takes you to fall asleep. I was in bed no later than 9:00 each night but the earliest I got to sleep on any night was probably 12:00 to 12:30. Tuesday was especially rough with my ankle throbbing like it was. I'm actually surprised I got up before 8:00 each day.

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walleye_jigger

Coldfeet,

Where do you work up in Bagley? Congrats on the bird, tough luck with the ankle.

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Coldfeet

I work for TEAM Industries. We design and manufacture driveline assemblies and components for ATV's, snowmobiles, golf cars, utility vehicles, etc, etc, etc.

I notice you're from the Menahga/New York Mills area. I know a few people down there. Heck, I might even know you. We have a couple of people from Menahga that work here. (How they can drive an hour and a half one way to work each day is beyond me)

The ankle is fine now, by the way. I've even managed to get in a few rounds of golf recently. As a matter of fact, I just played Blueberry Pines at Menahga the other day.

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