I was very fortunate this hunting season. I was able to make it out on several outings in the morning and evening prior to the opener and found some quality birds in the area. I was on birds every day I hunted, some in range and some just out of range. Saw several longbeards that just wouldnt close distance and called in several jakes right into my lab. Always enjoy playing games with the hens too.. makes it tough but once you have them commit to the call, its usually game over for the gobbler in toe. Filled tag #1 on Tuesday April 30th on a really nice bird. The hunt panned out perfect after playing cat and mouse with him and his hens for over an hour. Made his way in range.. I didnt seal my end of the deal on the first shot but was able to catch up to him quick and put my tag on him. All self filmed... which makes for an extra challenge. After reviewing the footage.. I really blew that part of the hunt on the shot. Now fast forward to yesterday.. Tuesday May 7th. Still on birds and seeing them all through the area.. I continued to do some scouting. Sunday evening I went out scouting after work and knew a gobbler was roosting near where I planned to hunt Monday morning before work. Well I set my alarm for tuesday.. so Monday morning hunt was out of the picture. Went out Monday evening for a nice little cruise to scout and found some birds at the same place. Took this awesome picture Monday evening... nice sunset like this and I was ready for a promising morning hunt.
Tuesday morning I was set up by 520. First gobble rang out at 545 and some hens and some other gobblers sounded off shortly after. I was set up fairly close so I waited for them all to fly down before calling. Ended up calling in 3 jakes right into my lap and got some quality film of them but the big birds never showed. Everything got silent and I was to meet back at my house to head out to work by 8 with my brother so I left there shortly after 7 to go and try out the spot I scouted out the night before. Birds typically work there way through that field around 8. Its closer to my house so I wanted to see if I could fire something up quick before starting work. Walked into my spot at 745.Made one call and 4 birds lit up in the field I was going to set up on! Before i had time to get the camera tripod set up and rolling, I had 4 jakes on the edge of the field putting around looking for the hen not 20 yards away. I was just inside the woods. Bummer I thought. I really blew it and thought for sure I was going to be busted. Well they didnt stay around long and started making there way off.. So I set up 10 yards closer to the field and got the tripod set up. Made one more call to see if I could get some film of them... one more bird lit up in the field. Turned camera on and I see a longbeard about 60 yards away working its way towards the jakes. Didnt even set a decoy out.. and thought wow I really did mess this one up. All of a sudden, the bird turned and started fast walking right across my face at 30-35 yards.. I'm moving camera and get ahead of it so I can ease the gun up. Well the bird was moving quicker than I was. I made a quick call.. it stuck its head up and I laid the hammer down! Ran out in the field and it was donezo. I thought I had the camera all over the whole thing... well sad to say I wasn't all over it. I shot the bird about 2 steps out of frame. Oh well. Fast quick and fun hunt. From the time I got there til the time I had the bird down--- 9 minutes. Thought it was odd that 5 gobblers were alone without a hen, but it just goes to show, right place at right time is a key factor. The bird had 8" pretty heavy beard with 1" spurs. Wrapped my season up on a high note, filling both tags on quality PA birds.Now time to film... and actually get some dirt naps on camera! Good luck to everyone still out there!