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Friday the 10th started out about as miserable as it can for spring turkey hunting. 4:30 am and the rain was pounding down outside. The dilemma that every turkey hunter has faced set in: should I get wet or go back to sleep? Well, I couldn’t go back to sleep. I had watched 3 gobblers heading to roost the previous evening in an area that I hadn’t hunted yet this year. After about a week of very sporadic gobbling, I was anxious to get on these birds and see if they wanted to play...

I didn’t head out right away because I knew that the temps were supposed to begin dropping rapidly as soon as the rain stopped and if I was soaked to the bone I was going to get too cold and be forced out of the woods early. I checked and re-checked my gear, had a little breakfast and kept my eyes on the radar. The break was coming and the rain was looking to end just after first light. I headed to the spot and waiting in the truck. The break never came. Oh well, it was time to get out there amongst them. I put on my vest and started down the hedgerow toward the corner of the field that I wanted to sit in. Daylight was breaking fast and I was behind thanks to the weather. Just as I hit the end of the hedgerow and was ready to cut across the back of the field, I spotted a turkey walking right toward the corner I planned to sit in. Weird thing was that it was still pretty dark and it was coming from the road! I peeked through the hedge and watched two hens and three gobblers walk right past where I wanted to sit. I was mad at myself for not getting there earlier but at the same time puzzled as to why these turkeys were on the ground already and why they were coming from the road...

I quickly switched plans and decided to make a wide swing around this block of woods to get to the backside of another field facing west. I figured that those turkeys would eventually world their way into that field at some point and I’d be in business. I got to where I wanted to be, overlooking a long rolling field that ran all the way to a fairly busy country road and had another field on the opposite side of it. I decided against setting my decoys out because of how breezy it was, so I tucked myself into a comfortable tree and begin lightly calling at first. After getting no response, I wasn’t surprised but figured that any turkeys within earshot that were interested might come sneaking in silently. I called every 5 minutes, ever increasing the volume as the wind became a little stiffer. About a half hour into the sit, I happened to look into the field across the road, as far as I could see which was about 400 yards and thought I saw a turkey standing there. Sure enough another one walked up beside it. I instantly though they were gobblers because of how dark they were. I really cranked up the volume and sure enough they hammered back. Suddenly, five more came bursting into view and piled up behind those two. They crossed the road and began closing the distance on the other side of a hedgerow. I could see the lead birds’ heads were white and figured they were longbeards. They continued up the hedgerow to my right and I was afraid they where going to circle around that way where I didn’t have a shot. I quickly cocked my head to the left and cut loudly and they hammered back again. I caught movement 150 yards down the hedgerow and saw the two longbeards come charging through, with the jakes in hot pursuit. They began cutting across in front of me, paralleling the back of the field at 100 yards out so I hit them with the call again and they immediately changed direction and began trotting up the rise in the field right at me. They were closing fast...80, 70, 60, 50...then out of the corner of my eye I see this Jake in a full out sprint, trying to outrun the longbeards to me! Both the toms veered off and chased him back down over the rise. They then turned back my way and began closing the distance again. 70, 60, 55...here comes that Jake again! Once again they veered off and chased him back down over the rise. This was getting nerve wracking! So close but I couldn’t get them in range and standing still to make a shot! The third time the closed the distance and Mr jake was at it again...but this time only one tom chased him and the other made the mistake of continuing on and a load of Longbeard XRs found their mark.

I got up to him and he was a drowned rat and then I realized just how soaked I was. I admired him, thanked the Lord, and tagged him up for the haul out. I got him home and started get him dried out for some picture taking. I measured the beard at 9 1/2”, spurs at 7/8”, 19 lbs. Typical 2 year old. As his feathers began to dry out, my 7 year old daughter was “investigating” as they all do and said “daddy, what are these?” pointing to the area between his beard and waddles. I moved in to take a closer look and low and behold I see he had three more beards! All totaled, they measure just over 18”. I’ve shot a double bearded bird before but this was pretty cool. All in all, a hunt I won’t soon forget. A long distance call on a four bearded bird...
 

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