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Public land strutter!


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Today I nailed my FIRST ever turkey!!!!! What an amazing rush.

I have been hunting public land for my hunt. Season started out pretty well on monday with 5 jakes coming in to 5yds on the first morning. I passed knowing it was only day 1. Day 2 I worked a gobbler in from over 300yds away only to have him pass 40yds from me behind some brush and disappear up a hill. That was 90mins of work. Day 3 was unproductive, but it provided the spot I used today to get my bird. By now I had over 26hrs of field time for the season not counting the hours of scouting before hand.

I sat on the top of a bluff over a creek. The boundary line of public land only 50yds away just over the end of the bluff. At 630am I had a flock of jakes, likely the ones from monday come onto the next ridge only 100yds away. All of a sudden a huge fight broke out as a group of toms met them on the knoll and proceeded to have a royal beatdown. I've never heard or seen such a sight. Now the jakes were gone, a hen was yelping and there was 6 toms only 100yds away. Rather than continue on their line to me (of course), the "big boy" went away with the hen and the 5 toms decended to the depths of the creekbed....appx 120yds down a 60degree bank.

7:00am At the bottom of the bank there were 2 hens enticing the toms and whipping up one crazy strutting match. With my back to the edge I needed to get closer. I tiptoed and belly crawled to the edge of the bluff and watched as the courtship continued. Only problem was there was someone else calling to the birds from the private land beyond the birds. I was now calling in vain to win their attention. 5 toms were being courted by 2 hens and called to by hunters and I'm sitting 10feet from the edge of the property 120yds up.

All the yelping and cutting had all the birds gobbling like crazy, including the big tom who left earlier with the first hen. He was far away but continued to gobble his head off. Despite the frenzy I wasn't winning in the attention department so I decided to change tactics. I took my slate and gave a coule of soft clucks and purrs and the gobbling stopped!! Now what?!? All of a sudden one of the toms turned around, dropped strut and came straight towards me slowing ascending the steep bank. I was laying on my stomach with call in hand and watching over the edge as one by one all the toms turned and headed up the bank. Even the hens were running to catch up. I backed up and sat on a tree about 15 yds from the edge and prepared for a shot. 30 seconds, a minute went by, no noise, no nothing. I was sitting against a large oak with no cover whatsoever. I was fully camoed, but nothing to break my shape beside the tree behind me.

I reached down to grab my slate and striker. I suck at mouth calls and I can't find a good box call so I use a single slate with several strikers. Only problem is they require 1 hand if not two. I tried to make a call but my glves made it difficult to move the striker right. I pulled off my glove to get a grip on the striker. I eeked out 2 light purrs and the hillside erupted in gobbles only 20yds away. I quickly dropped the striker as the slate fell in my lap. I slipped into my glove and waited. The birds moved up the hill to my left and kept going left. I saw one head pop up in the brush for a split second, but not long enough for a shot. The group continued to move away just below the ground level. I slowly slid around the tree to keep my shot in front of me.

Again they stopped and didn't move. I waited and waited and waited. I'm sure it was only about a minute, but it felt like forever since I couldn't see them. Finally, wihout looking down, I grabbed the striker and scratched out the most god-awful cluck/purr with one gloved hand and nothing supporting the slate.

All at once they moved above the ground level. One bird stopped and looked up at me. We met eye-to-eye for a split second as I looked down both beads on my barrel. He raised his head up and that was that. He fell immediately. 7:56am

I ran over quickly incase he got up. I heard thats the thing to do. I held him down with my boot as 2 birds flew off, but 2 of the toms sat stunned. As I held my bird to the ground, 2 toms stood there with 10 feet of me for a half a second before taking off. I couldn't belive it. Had I been hunting with a partner there was a perfect opportunity for a double.

The bird is either a healthy 2yr old or a light 3yr old.

20.5lbs Beard is 9.5" Spurs were both 1" NWTF score 59.5

Shot at 31yds with Stoeger Condor O/U 20ga using Cabelas brand choke tube shooting Federal turkey load #6 shot.



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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Congrats on a fine bird and an exciting hunt!!!!!


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Congratulations on your first bird and what an exciting read! I truely know what you mean about "a rush" when you pull that trigger and you down a bird.

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Good Job Powerstroke!

The 1st time is always special and you'll never forget it...

We're talking turkeys right? grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif

Way to find a couple without the gals! I heard more yelping than gobbles today! Got two Toms going hot at 3:00, but could only get them to close to 100 yards. Worked 'em for an hour and then they started going further away.... frown.gif Called it a day. It's been a long week! Well it seems like a week!

Congrats again!

Good Luck!


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Nice bird powerstroke and to smack it on puplic land makes it all the more special.

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Thanks for the kind words everyone. I'm still revved up about it. I tell you what, I had the most luck with the light calls like purrs and soft 3 note tree yelps. That made them crazy. I worked in several birds in the last couple days, mostly witht th elight stuff. They still respond to the cutting, but they expect the hen to come to them. One of the birds I was calling was strutting and gobbling away out in a prairie planting on a small mound. A hen flew over the top of me, out across the field and landed next to the tom. She escorted him away leaving me empty-handed. I can't believe the number of birds this year. Just in the 3+ days of hunting I've seen close to 30 birds on one tract of public land, and its been hunted by a couple people every day and I know it gave up a 23lb bird during the A season.

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Congrats what part of the state were you huning? My season starts tomorrow in 236. I have seen some birds in the evenings lately and am excited. Hopefully I will see something to make it an enjoyable hunt! This will be my first hunt. Good luck to whoever still has a season left

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