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Stories From the Hunt - '05

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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.



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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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Congates, great pics.


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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


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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.


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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.


7:20 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


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

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

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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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