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Anybody out there have the privilege of taking part in the very first day of spring gobbler season in PA; how about you're experiences that season? I remember it like it was yesterday. A co-worker and I were on a 20 minute drive to a honey hole and I was teaching Dan how to call on a Lynch box as I was driving down the highway at 4:00 AM. I instructed "do three yelps like this, put the call down and sit and watch for him coming in". I was already an ardent fall turkey caller; Dan never hunted turkeys before and bought his Lynch box call the day before at 4:00 PM. Both of us killed long beards that day before 7:00 AM. On the way home I remember complaining about the Game Commission's lack of common sense in adopting this new season and possibly wiping out the entire turkey population. This was a time before turkey hunting TV shows, "how to" videos, camo for civilians, compound bows, shotgun chokes that fit inside the barrels, mouth calls, aging gobblers, looking for full fans, the NWTF, jakes were just turkeys with shorter beards, and I could go on and on. Anybody else remember 1968?
 

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Man, I haven't ever posted on here before, but I am today because I really hope there are others who have memories like you do. I find turkey hunting history fascinating and I wish I'd have been around in '68. Great post. Thanks!
 

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Welcome trout
 

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Chettie, what was your camo of choice for that first turkey season? I love looking at older pictures at camp of some of those first turkey seasons and guys are wearing flannel shirts and jeans holding up big longbeards. My how times have definitely changed.
 

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I was only eight years old, but I remember hearing stories of my Dad's friends scratching a burnt laurel branch on a roofing slate and the woods coming alive with gobbles!
 

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I started hunting turkey in 1973, alot less turkey then and i remember being surprised if a turkey would answer you and now i am surprised when i call and i don't hear a turkey gobble.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The only camo I had back then was US Army issued woodland.
I didn't dare wear that for anything but government business. In those days one didn't sit against a tree. The method of concealment was to lay in a depression, so camo wasn't a big deal. The bird I shot that morning was looking down into a ravine I was hiding in.
I was using a Remington Wingmaster model 870, 16 gauge with a modified choke and #6 shot. I still have that gun in my safe. I also have some of the shot shells and the box they came in.

When the NWTF was born, and technical information became public knowledge, I was astounded to learn that spur length
was relevant to age;and that gobblers had 18 tail feathers
and you could tell an adult gobbler by the uniform length of those feathers.

M.L. Lynch and Ben Rogers Lee were my idols. I knew of only one slate call on the market, a M.L. Lynch that instructed you to char (burn) the "jet" each time you used it. A striker didn't last long in those days. My first mouth call had a lead frame with latex (from strange sources) stretched across it. I blew on that for two years before I got a sound out of it. There were no instructions with a call made in the machine shop where I worked.
There was no such thing as hunting pressure. Every owl you heard was a real one. Every hen yelp came from a real hen.
Hunters were far and few between. While I still love to hunt gobblers; I do miss those days in the 60's and 70's.Yes indeed, Mt. Lion, things have changed.
 

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I wasn't born yet but I love seeing the old pics from the 60's and 70's with the tan woodland "clown" camo and faded bell bottom jeans, boonie caps and an old lynch box or a wingbone or Turpin yelper. Double barrel full chokes and "high brass" shells. Sometimes I long to go retro and do just that. Dig through Dad's old hunting clothes and buy me a cheap side by side. Maybe wear my jeans. If i walked up on another guy on a mt path, maybe he'd think he stepped through a time portal in the fog. That generation probably wished they had the turkey numbers we have today , while we find ourselves longing for simpler times and less competition in the woods. I have a few old greybearded friends who lived it and i never tire of their wisdom or their stories.
 

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I remember starting to hunt spring gobblers in the mid-70's. I was a teenager then. I used an old Sears single shot 20 ga. and had only WWII type camo to use. I had one call a Lynch "World Champion" box. They were ALOT less turkeys then than now but the pressure on them was also ALOT less. IMO they were easier to call in those days but harder to find.
 

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I've hunted every spring season since the first year. If I recall, I just used my small game pants and jacket the first two years By about year 3, my wife made me a great camo outfit out of woodland camo from a fabric store. In the late 60's I don't think there were any other camo patterns except those that were military issue. A Lynch box was the call of the day but I also used a cedar call that consisted of a box with a half-moon cedar piece protuding that you stuck again another piece of chalked cedar. I can't remember the call's name but someone else might. I hunted Potter County and the Clarion River hillsides. Back in the day the gobblers were a lot more talkative probably due to fewer hens and MANY fewer hunters feeling the need to call to them for weeks before the season while scouting. We'd start talking to birds at first light and keep talking to them all morning. I don't think we even used decoys for the first several years. My turkey gun was a full choke Ithaca 37 shooting #6 Hi-Brass shells...no special turkey chokes or turkey loads, turkey vests, turkey seats, etc.
 

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i started hunting turkeys in the 80s. killed my first one in 1991 using an old hand-me-down stevens browning 16 gauge. it literally shot about a foot or so high. when i shot my first gobbler, i aimed at his feet to hit him in the head at 20 yards. my, how times have changed.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
In '68 I had my gobbler mounted with a deal I couldn't pass up. An old friend who just happened to be a taxidermist offered to do a head mount from below the beard and up, just for the opportunity of taking advantage of this new idea of hunting spring gobblers. The agreement was that he would do the mount and display it in his collection, and later he would give me the mount for free.

Jim was a blood brother American Indian with a vast knowledge of nature. He was a self taught taxidermist, a naturalist in the truest sense of the word, and a person of great character. He obviously had a nose for business too. Jim suspected spring gobbler hunting would "take off" and he wanted part of it.

About 10 years later there was a knock at my door. There stood Jim with my gobbler in his hand and a smile on his face. He upheld his end of the bargain. I measured the beard, 11 5/8 inches and as thick as a broom. Now in the late 1970's, the beard length had value. In '68 it was just a beard. The trophy was in the bird, no matter what age or physical characteristics it had. It was a heavy bird, or a light bird. It had a long beard, or a short bird. The name "jake" didn't even exist. I, too, have not missed a spring gobbler season since 1968.

And, I agree gobbler hunting today is as good as it gets, or as good as it's been. More birds spread out over a larger area equates to more hunting opportunities. I also agree that gravity is getting more and more obvious as the years pass.
 

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This is my fifth season turkey hunting, and I really enjoyed reading this post.

My first year I was a "gimmick" man.. buying all of the various products that were going to work a monster gobbler right to my face if I bought them.

I've since shaved down some of my equiptment, including my shotgun setup. I'm not saying I'm trying to be an originalist, but I've found that somewhere in between the way it was done then, and what all the wahoo's are out there doin now is the way to go. A nice hybrid of simplicity and modernity.
 

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I hunted with my Dad about that time. I remember him calling in another hunter. Seems times haven't changed all that much.
 

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Thanks for the amazing stories!

Does anyone lay in a depression any more? It sounds like a reasonable strategy, but I have zero experience so I'd be curious why things changed.
 

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Brown Canvass - pants and jacket, Red Wing Irish Setter boots - hunted with a 20 ga single shot stevens - started with fall season (I was 13), Dad and I were hunting rabbits (9am start) - friends broke a flock, and we ran into one- told Dad I kindof like this turkey hunting; First gobbler spring '73 same clothes, 12 ga. wingmaster full choke(just like Dad's) 2 3/4" #2 shot - used my DD Adams slate while reading the directions - gobbler flew off roost landed in front of me, over 20lbs, 11 1/2" Beard and 1+" spurs. Where did the time go.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I harvested a lot of turkeys while laying in a depression. Yes, "laying", either on my back, my stomach, or on a side. Imagine how cumbersome that was. You were actually locked into shooting in one direction only. If one was lucky enough to find a deeper depression, like a mini-hole on a hillside, he could sit. That was certainly more effective.
When I was told about wearing camo and sitting against a tree large enough to break up my outline I was very skeptical, but reluctantly tried it. It is time proven to be the best system going. The key to success using this method is to place your right shoulder against the tree trunk (not your back) which allows you to swing more freely left and right on an approaching bird. I also learned to shoot left and right handed and have taken a few gobblers shooting from the wrong side. As was previously stated in a post, it's the little things that really count.
 
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