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Featured 2017 Spring Turkey: Part 2 – The 6 Yard Turkey

Discussion in 'BlueDogs Blog' started by bluedog, Apr 14, 2018.

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    Part 2 begins in the second weekend of my state’s spring turkey season. I had filled one tag on opening day and was on a quest to fill my second tag. I’m a pretty die-hard turkey hunter which means on the days I am not working then I am turkey hunting. Thanks to a few vacation days and some re-arranging of my work schedule I believe I hunted around 10 or 11 of the last 16 days of the season. Most of the time I concentrated on hunting a silent gobbler on my own farm. There were several encounters that involved him showing up quietly, me not being ready, him seeing movement and leaving, and me saying dirty words in my head. It was frustrating and enormously fun. After one frustrating hunt, I decided to hunt my neighbor’s farm across the road the next day. I had a great encounter with a gobbling turkey that would not shut up. I called him in on string. All he had to do was step around a clump of brush. When calling him didn’t work, I tried shutting up. He would walk away gobbling. I called him back. I tried shutting up and scratching in the leaves. He walked away. I called him back. This scenario played out about 5 or 6 times, each time me trying a different tactic to get him to come to my side of the brush. Eventually he wandered off gobbling as he went and I baled out of the woods as a thunderstorm was rolling in. It was frustrating and enormously fun.

    That left May 28th the last day of the season to try and fill my tag. I went to the woods with my usual anticipation for a good hunt and although I really wanted to get a second bird, I knew I had had a good season in the turkey woods. The morning was cloudy but dry with pleasant temperatures. I had hunted in many spots on the farm over the course of the season but on that last day I chose to sit in the homemade ground blind where my husband and I had shot our opening day turkeys and he had shot his limbhanger a week later. As daylight began I heard a small amount of turkey talking. I heard a gobbler occasionally sounding off. Sometimes I really have difficulty picking out the direction of a gobble and I have a feeling that was the case on this morning. I thought the gobble came from my neighbor’s woods behind me and to my left and perhaps it did but as the story goes on that is not the gobbler that showed up. In any case, my neighbor’s woodlot is the traditional roosting area and so my mind told me I heard a gobble over there. Maybe 30 minutes after fly down I heard a hen yelping in the woods behind me. I picked up my call and I got into a bit of a conversation with her. Calling in a hen is always a good thing. She wasn’t all that close when she shut up but I followed suit and I shut up too. For maybe the next 15 minutes I just sat quietly in the blind. What I didn’t know at the time was that my conversation with the hen worked. She showed up to look for her competition and did me a huge favor.

    And then a gobble! It was not all that close and again I was having difficulty picking out the direction. The tom gobbled again. And again. And then there he was. He emerged from some woods 250 yards diagonally across the field and to my right. This was 180 degrees in the opposite direction from my neighbor’s roost woods. When the tom came in the field he was sprinting toward my location but after only about 75 yards he put on the brakes and broke into full strut. I didn’t know it quite at that moment but that hen I had be talking to had snuck through the woods and popped out into the field to my left. Let the show begin.

    In the past I have had gobblers strut and gobble to my location but never in 20 years had I successfully shot one that did this. Seems like most my successful hunts are toms that gobble a few times and then come sneaking in to my set-up walking quietly. This bird was anything but quiet. He strutted and gobbled. This was perhaps the most amazing display I have ever witnessed by a lone tom in the field. Ever so slowly he was making his way toward me. He was several minutes into his crossing of the field when the hen finally came into my view. She was nonchalantly feeding not 20 yards from me. Months later I am getting jittery as I am sitting here typing. I can only surmise that she thought the hen she had talked to was somewhere close by and she continued to feed in the field in front of my ground blind crossing back and forth several times. And the tom gobbled and strutted and ever so slowly was getting closer. When the tom reached 50 yards from me he was slightly to the left of my best shooting lane and pretty much totally obscured by a clump of brush that in late May was now nearly fully leafed out. I could only catch the smallest glimpses of movement. And then something magical happened. The hen walked into the woods on a path just outside the ground blind to my right. At her closest she was 4 yards from where I sat. Wow! I could not believe this was happening. With the hen behind me in the woods I was able to scoot around to my right and face toward that path.

    The gobbler was still obscured from my view by the clump of brush on the edge of the field. Once the hen was out of sight in the woods he cooled his jets a bit. Once or twice I thought I saw him pecking at the ground feeding a bit. He would stand up and gobble every so often. It seems like every time I have my gun up waiting for a turkey to come into range some phrase starts running through my mind. It’s always something different. On this day it was “don’t screw this up, don’t screw this up, don’t screw this up” with the occasional “keep head down (on stock of gun), keep head down”. My heart was beating wildly. I could hardly stand the suspense. For a minute or probably much less, I could not see the tom at all. Nothing. But I was ready. And then up periscope!!! His head appeared just outside my ground blind at the entrance of that path into the woods. It was instantaneous. He saw me. I saw him. He turned to run but there wasn’t enough time. He was 4 yards and then 6 yards and then the sound of my gun was followed by the sight of the turkey falling to the ground. His momentum from turning to run and a little bit of flopping carried him out into the field a short way but there was no doubt he was done. I was left sitting there trembling uncontrollably. I start to sob. I couldn’t help myself. Except for the hunt for the first turkey I ever shot, this hunt was the BEST. HUNT. EVER.

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    For those who are curious, the tom turned out to be a 2 year old. I also shot a video shortly after the shot (once I quit sobbing) that describes the hunt. I had a hard time speaking. Ha! Makes me laugh every time. I hope you enjoyed the story.
     
    steveOh likes this.
  2. Bryan six

    Bryan six Staff Member Super Mod Mod

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    Ohh the excitement of a memoriable hunt is the one of the greatest feelings in the world! That's a close encounter for sure blue!! Sounds like an awesome hunt. Congrats!! Great read Bluedog, bravo!!

    :yeahthat:
     

  3. Don't you just love it when the plan comes together! Good luck this year Bdog:)
     
  4. Thank you so much guys. I hadn't read what I wrote in awhile but I think I've read it about 10 times today. LOL!!!!! It was such an incredible hunt from start to finish.

    I'm not sure if you saw (or even care to see it) but it looks like the link to the video didn't show up. I still laugh when I listen to this because I could NOT talk, I was so excited. LOL!!!! Here's the video I took minutes after the shot.

     
    Bryan six and steveOh like this.