Waiting on tom to show up.
After getting schooled for several hunts by toms that have been pressured I finally got a break. During a frustrating morning hunt where I watched a monster tom wander off with hens and his two apprentices follow along I managed to find the spot they were using coming into and leaving the field. At 2:30 I was back in and getting set up ahead of an approaching line of storms. I hoped the coming rain would push the birds to roost early.
Sure enough just after 4 I saw a hen out in the field, while watching her through my binos I heard another one. When I looked she was staring at a decoy almost nose to nose with it. She started feeding and as I looked up I saw 2 toms enter the field with another hen. I knew exactly where they were headed and I had added a jake decoy to my spread just for this. Sure enough as soon as they saw it they came running in and I took my shot as soon as they got into the decoys.
The shot was good and the tom half flew about 15 yards then crashed at the edge of the woods. Not a huge bird, in fact, just a jake but a good one. The thrill for me was to have planned the hunt then to have it work perfectly. Those days are great.
What can I say about my start to the 2013 turkey season except it has been great. I don’t bother hunting the first week or two of the season and this year was no different. I finally went to get my license on a Wednesday then headed over to one of my spots Thursday morning and got my first bird. On Friday I missed his buddy and unless someone got him this weekend I will be back to try again.
I had errands to run Monday but I grabbed my camera just in case then less than a ½ mile from my house I filmed a good bird in a field I have permission to hunt. Tuesday morning I headed over to try for him as he made his daily rounds but after 3 hours I gave it up.
Before leaving I drove to the other end of the property where the land owner had said he saw a good gobbler. As I drove along the fence dividing the land I could hunt with one I can’t I saw a hen in a field across the fence. As I slowed to look I saw a tom with her both on the wrong side. Now I have two problems, one is getting the tom across the fence, two getting him off that live hen.
I pulled down about 75 yards, parked then got my gear out with one decoy. I slipped up to the corner of a woodlot then set the decoy about 4 yards from where I could get behind a couple of cedar trees, no blind and no cover except from the front. I got my camera set up got me halfway hidden then gave them a call. The tom gobbled as soon as I did so I thought maybe I was going to get lucky. After about 30 minutes of having them talk to me but not get closer I gave up took my stuff to the truck and was ready to leave but thought, No I’m killing this bird. I unloaded again and got set back up without getting busted, the birds were only about 50 yards away but I had a bit of brush in the fence hiding me.
I started calling again and I could see the tom blowing up and strutting while the hen talked back to me. Each time I called I could see the tom taking a few more steps my way. What I didn’t see was the hen leading him. Then I saw her coming down the fence towards me, I was hoping they would slip under the fence out in front of my camera. As she came down I knew I had no cover from that side so I laid down and kept still as the hen came across the fence line and walked within 4 yards of me to check the decoy. Now I can see the tom coming the same way so as the hen started feeding I got ready to shoot laying down at 5 yards when he crossed the fence. But he had other ideas.
As the hen fed away from me the tom turned to follow her then crossed under the fence almost exactly where I thought they would then fanned out. I eased up on my knees and called a couple of times to hold him till I could get ready. As he took a step to follow the hen I took a shot and rolled him. I didn’t realize until later he was at 40 yards which is a bit of a stretch for my muzzle loader but when the dot covered his head I just dropped the hammer.
He is a pretty bird 9 ½” beard with 1” spurs and will look good on the wall. I decided to do a cape and fan mount which I just learned to do. Can’t wait to have him on the wall.
That makes two really memorable hunts this year already. If I don’t get to go again I have had a great spring. I hope everyone is having a good season, get out there, be safe and try to get someone new involved in the real outdoors.
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