Featured Smoked a nympho

Discussion in 'Ohio Turkey Hunting' started by pettet, Apr 25, 2018.

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    Today was such a bitter sweet day. This is going to be a long one. But it’s a great story.

    Like many of you, my dad taught me to turkey hunt. It was our shared passion. Our first year of hunting together I was 11 and we doubled up. He called me in a 22.06lb Tom with 10.25” beard and nearly 1.5” Spurs that morning and we were both so proud and excited.
    Well, back then you had to drive your bird to the check-station, of course. After my picture had been taken and was hung on the wall at the store, we walked out and my dad realized that he had forgotten his box call in all of the excitement. I naively said “Maybe there’ll be another turkey out there dad!” He smirked, said “Yeah right.” And got into the truck. Well, long story short, he and I bagged two turkeys about 100 yards of one another within 2 hours and THAT, my friends, was my introduction to turkey hunting. I’ve been in love ever since! Unfortunately, I lost my dad in December so this is my first season without him.

    For the last two years, I have been chasing the same turkey on my property - this being the third. The first year was really awful. It was just one of those seasons that felt like breathing the wrong way would screw things up. My brother and I botched 3 attempts on this bird and tried to setup on him at least 3 others when he just wasn’t having it for one reason or another.
    Last year, a poacher was trying to hunt him for 4 days before I could catch him. By that time he had further educated and thoroughly spooked the bird. I waited, let the bird regain some confidence and watched as he showed up in the same field for 3 weeks after that. By the last day of season, I had not gotten my bird so I woke up at 4:30, snuck out in the dark, walked over 200 yards in wet weeds above my waist and waited for him to show up in his usual spot. I sat there for an hour and a half so drenched that I felt like my underwear were made out of a sponge and the water had literally began to accumulate in the bottom of my boots after funneling down my legs. Sure enough, he showed up though. Out of thin air it seemed like too. All I saw was a red head pop up over the weeds and he was looking for his girls. I sat there under my low hanging branch and behind a thick shrub, inching my gun to my shoulder and waiting for a clear shot. The whole time I’m thinking about what an awesome story this will be. He had no clue I was there and stepped right out in front of me about 45 yards away. I drew a bead, squeezed the trigger and watched him run to the other side of the road as fast as he possibly could completely unharmed.

    Fast forward to this season and I could not believe my eyes when I saw him strutting in the upper field just above the spot he’d nearly died in last year. On the first day, I set up my decoys and quickly became very discouraged when 2 hens showed up to my calls but gave my birds an 80 yard birth with zero interest whatsoever. About 20 minutes later, I soft called and heard him gobble about 150 yards behind me in the woods. I heard him 3 times and not again that day. I went home, threw the decoys in the shed and vowed that they’d stay there for the rest of the season.

    Today, I decided I was going to leave him alone and go to some public land and some of my family’s places. They did not gobble hardly at all today. I located one bird who gobbled twice and shut down. So, with rain on the horizon, I headed back home and wouldn’t you know, strutting in my field much further south than his typical location, there he was, in full strut, with a hen in his sights.
    I snuck in from the other side and sat about 70 yards north of him. My plan was to let him breed the hen and waddle back to his happy place and bust him without ever making a sound. So I slowly crept down the hill to a place on the edge of the field where I knew I could see out but it is difficult to see in and there, I sat down. The FREAKING INSTANT I sat down the hen began to putt and move further south putting all the way. I just knew I had blown it but I couldn’t understand how. I decided to stick to the plan and just sat there for another 20 minutes with no sign that they’d stick around. I was getting angry. I picked up my phone and almost blew my cover. Out of the corner of my eye I caught movement in the field! It was the hen. She was definitely on alert. She got to just where I could see her through the brush and then walked toward me. She came up into the woods just putted about 15 feet to my right. I sat there so still and so long that I couldn’t feel my toes when I moved them. Finally, after about 15 minutes of feeling like I was in a standoff with Predator I had to move my leg. To my relief she had apparently moved on.
    At this point, I had been there for about 45 minutes without ever seeing the gobbler. I had no idea if he was still there or if he had ran off with the first hen I heard putting as she ran to (maybe) Africa. I decided to give a couple of soft yelps. I decided wrong. I had the wrong damn diaphragm in my mouth - how... It squeaked an ungodly high pitched yelp and I did my best to recover but felt like if he was still around, he sure as hell wasn’t gonna hang around to find out what made that noise. Again I waited about 15 minutes just to make sure and switched diaphragms. I gave another low pitched call and this time it sounded spot-on! A hen immediately responded about 100 yards away at the bottom of the field to my left. She was HOT. I didn’t talk back. I thought “if he’s still around, she’ll get him moving!”
    Sure enough!!!! He stepped out still well over 80 yards from me and was headed to the hen. Then I realized it was two hens. I gave another low call hoping to call the girls to me. Notta. He tucked his feathers down and started heading right toward them. I just decided that it was now or never and I let him have it. I was cutting like crazy hoping to piss the hens off of entice him. Neither happened. He stopped occasionally but never even turned to look in my direction so I gave up. I figured, I had better cut my losses and try again another day.
    Something crazy happened when he got to them. They kept eating and walking but he just stayed in the spot where he’d reached them. They kept going and he just stayed there with his back to me and his head up as they eventually got about 60 yards from him. So, I thought “screw it, one more time.” And I muffled my mouth for the quietest of yelps hoping to make him think this was his last chance and I was taking my sexy tail the other way. IT WORKED! He turned around and closed about 70 yards in just seconds. At about 50 yards out, he slowed WAY down as if to tell me “alright sugar lips, let’s see what ya got.” I stayed silent. He began to pace laterally and then turned away to head back to the hens. He was about 45 yards away when, with his back to me, he stuck his head in the air as if to say “one more chance girl.” And I filled it with lead. He dropped and never moved. My leg was so numb that I basically ran to grab him hopping on one leg! Haha.

    It’s probably the second most history I have with an animal and certainly the best of stories. This bird shattered my confidence as a turkey caller more than once. Something I pride myself on. And in a 1:15 exchange, he made me feel like a champion today!

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    About half way back to my truck, I put him down, looked up at the sky and just thought “I hope you saw that ol’ man! You taught me well” I’m so proud of this bird and the story he tells!

    OH! And I found some morels as I was stalking him. Gonna go back and get those tonight.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  2. Forgot to mention that he never did gobble today. Not even once.
     

  3. Congrats. It's great to have hunting memories with your dad. Just one question as a beginner turkey hunter, i know very little probably, how do you know its the same bird?
     
    pettet likes this.
  4. Congrats!! Great story!
     
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  5. Great write-up
    Great Turkey
    Congrats
     
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  6. Great history and story congrats!
     
    pettet likes this.
  7. Honestly, I’m not 100%. But he had the same habits and liked the same locations. Also, there was an odd bend in his beard. Just assuming when it boils down to it.
     
    bluedog and small_buck like this.
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    Wife finally made it home to get a pic.

    22.10 Lbs
    9.5” beard
    1.25” spurs
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  9. Bryan six

    Bryan six Staff Member Super Mod Mod

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    Checkmate!!!! Awesome story pettet, glad you finally got him on the ground. Killing a Tom like that doesn't happen every year! Congrats on him!
     
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  10. I LOVE a good story with lots of details. Thanks!!!! And Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D
     
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  11. Great story congrats on a fine bird and your determination to seal the deal with him.
     
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  12. 2 thumbs up! Very nice bird and hunt.
     
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