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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Central PA (4E & 4D)
Caught Up With One
Sorry this is a little late, but last Friday I caught up with one finally! I'm not sure how the gobbling/hunting has been for everybody else on here, but in our area in 4E/4D, we have been seeing and hearing very few birds. It's one of those seasons that if you get on a bird, you better not mess up because it could be your last chance.
Last Friday was my 17th hunt and I was really starting to wear down. In fact, I had zero intentions of going, but when my pup woke me up at 4 to go out, I figured I might as well give it a shot. Can't hunt them in June. I finally stumbled out of the truck around 5 at a spot that I had seen 2 hens in the field the night previous. I listened until about 5:30, but nothing was making noise. I decided to head back to the truck and head about a mile away to another spot I had found some fresh sign earlier in the week. As I was getting ready at the truck I heard one start gobbling. I quickly got my things and headed for the woods. I got down a ravine between two ridges and this bird was gobbling pretty good on a point to my west. As I moved in between the two ridges and him gobbling back at me pretty regularly, a hen up by him starting going off. I cut her off and we went back and forth for a minute or two before she flew down. As all this was going on, another bird starting gobbling pretty good on the other ridge to my East and I was right between the two. Not a bad situation to be in...
I figured I better get set up pronto. I picked a tree and started putting my decoy out. As I was putting my decoy out (with no headnet or glasses - which I need - and gun propped up against a tree), I heard a giant WHOOOSH sound and the gobbler flew directly over top me and landed right next to the tree I was about to sit by. I slowly got my headnet and glasses on and as I was grabbing for my gun, he hit full strut, but knew something wasn't quite right. He slowly walked up over the ridge out of sight without me getting a shot. As all this is going on, the 2nd bird is still gobbling very hard and he seems very interested in my calling.
After a few minutes I moved up over the ridge where the 1st bird went and got level with the 2nd bird. I got set up by a blow-down and started my sequence. After cutting to him and getting him all wound up, he went silent and I was ready. It went about 5 minutes until I heard the unmistakable sound of spitting/drumming. A split second later I saw his white head pop out slightly to my right about 50-55 yards out. Unfortunately, he did not see the hen he came in looking for and started getting wary. I slowly started swinging his direction when the inevitable alarm putt sounded off... He walked out of the opening, then right back in. I figured this might be my only chance... BOOM!
I shot, he flopped, and I ran out after him. This is when the fun begins... As I went to step on his head, I rolled my ankle and he started flopping down the deep ravine. I rolled/ran right with him, but couldn't get him! By the time it was all said and done, we went about 75 yard, I got spurred once, and he was missing feathers... a lot of feathers. Including all of his tail feathers, which I must have accidentally stepped on at one point. It wasn't pretty but I got him! And turns out he is my biggest bird to date! 22 lbs, 10 3/4" beard, 1 3/8" spurs.
Not a bad day for a morning I was planning on skipping. Glad my pup got me up!
Note: The photo with the full fan is actually a fan from a turkey I shot 2 springs ago held up behind him. His feathers you can see strewn throughout the yard...
And the old man followed up with one the next morning!