1st Season

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Melvin Eades
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1st Season

Post by Melvin Eades » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:13 am

Last Monday, the 12th, was our first of five Turkey seasons for the north half of the state. I had first season and have 4th season permits. The morning before I was standing in an alfalfa field next to a hay bale, about half a mile from the truck as the first hint of light started to show on the horizon waiting for that first gobble. It wasn’t long till an owl hooted across the creek bottom I was watching when the first tom greeted the morning.

The tom was across the bottom on a neighboring property roosted on the hill side. Lucas and I have had good success at this location for several years till someone else bought the land. The owner burns off the open area in the small bottom and the turkeys now can fly down in a nice short green grassy area and then work their way away from us up to some food plots. As the day came alive their were at least 4 or 5 toms in the group.

Finally, there was a gobble down across to my left and when he started gobbling; he didn’t want to shut up. I waited till they hit the ground and sneaked out of there with great anticipation that he would be there the next morning.

Opening morning I walked the half mile in, set up my decoy, and nestled into the brush along the small field where the tom will hopefully fly down into providing he roosted in the same spot as the day before. By 5:25 am the first glow of light started showing in the east and the toms started gobbling about 200 yards to my right on the other property. They would trigger each other with their gobbles and I could hear the ripple effect as their gobbles echoed up and down the creek bottom.

I wasn’t hearing anything to my left across the bottom and was starting to wonder if the tom roosted somewhere else. I gave a few soft hen yelps to let them know their was a new girl in town and they gobbled right back at me. After about 10-12 minutes more, a gobble came from my front left where a turkey was the morning before. It was getting closer to sun rise and I wasn’t hearing much from this turkey to my left as I was from the others to my right. A few more minutes went by when I heard the distinctive sound of wing beats to my left in the low light of the morning and I saw two turkeys land in the field.

I very slowly turned my gun toward them and then gave some soft hen yelps. One of the turkeys strutted and I could tell it wasn’t a mature tom. The other one didn’t do any strutting and I was wondering if it was a Jake or a hen. They slowly started my way and I soon saw it was two Jakes. They worked their way up and looked at my decoy as they walked by about 40 yards out. They were heading to the other birds to my right that had just flown down and were carrying on as they do.

I watched them go to the brushy fence line and cross to catch up with the others. I waited about 5 minutes and gave a few raspy hen yelps and then waited a few minutes and did it again. Not to long after that I had a hen come through the fence line about 40 yards away and work her way down toward the creek. I was hoping that she had a tom in tow but none ever came. I waited till she had gone down into the creek and started giving a little more aggressive hen yelps on the slate call that Lucas had made for me a few years ago. I gave about 4 or 5 series of calls and waited to see if it got anyone’s interest.

In about 6 or 7 minutes a squirrel off to my right and slightly behind me about 12 to 13 yards started going nuts barking and a turkey started clucking. The squirrel was giving the turkey heck and the turkey was giving it right back at it. I watched as the two Jakes had come back to my calling and proceeded into the field to my right. They walked by talking to the decoy but she wasn’t talking back. Little did they know that not more than 12 yards away there was a 12 ga. loaded with 3" #5’s pointed at their heads. It was lucky for them it was opening day or one of them would have lost their friend.

I watched them work their way back across the fence line after the new girl in town wouldn’t have anything to do with them. The other turkeys worked their way farther on up the bottom away from me so I sneaked out and left to go to work.

The next morning I was set up in the same place again hoping the Jakes or maybe some other turkeys would have decided to roost across from me. As it got light, the turkeys started gobbling farther up the bottom than they had the day before. There were no sounds coming from across the field I was in but after a short time, a single hen flew down and started working away from me. I watched her go out of sight and then did some calling. I called a hen in from across the fence and watched her walk down to the creek and disappear but no tom following her. That was the only two turkeys I saw during the first hour or so of daylight.

I decided I would leave and go to work so I picked up my decoy and started heading up out of the little creek bottom and over the top to the bigger creek bottom. I got to the far side when I looked off to the north and saw a tom strutting in another alfalfa field with a hen. They were about 850 yards away and I was wondering if I should go on to work and come back and set up on that field the next morning or try to stalk him now.

Well, no guarantees on tomorrow, but I see one now, so I beat it on up to the truck to shed a coat and backpack. I unloaded my gun and got into the truck amd drove up the road a 1/4 mile to come in from another way so the turkeys couldn’t see me cross the bottom. I still had about half a mile to walk and to cross a creek I wasn’t sure of how deep it was. I made pretty good time because I wanted to get to the turkeys before they moved. They were on top of the hay field and there was a wooded hillside that I could sneak up through to get to them.

I made it to the hillside and paralleled it till I got to where I thought I was below the turkeys. I started sneaking up the hill through the trees and brush with my gun at the ready and watching the edge of the field. I was about 8-9 yards from the top when here came the tom walking along the top looking down into the brush. I don’t know if the hen had come down into the brush and he was looking for her or if he had heard me and was looking to see if it was another turkey.

The instant I saw him, I shoulder my gun and shot him at about 10 yards. Thirty minutes before that I was headed home trying to figure out what the best plan would be for the next morning. I had left my camera back at the truck in my backpack so I had to take the hero picture back at the house.

The tom weighed 21 lbs., had a 10” beard and a 29.5 “wide tail fan. Not a real large bird, but a hunt I’ll remember for a long time.

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Glen
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Re: 1st Season

Post by Glen » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:31 am

Danged if that aint a nice bird!! Congratulations!! :hail:

BTW-- Your story had me scrolling down one paragraph at a time Melvin!! I just KNEW the next paragraph was gonna be BOOM!! And that's all she wrote!! But it just didn't happen!! :( Til I got to the end that is!! :jive: :yeah: :wtg: :wtg:
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RIP Russ,Blaine, & Darrell!!

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Song Dog
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Re: 1st Season

Post by Song Dog » Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:21 pm

NICE BIRD! WTG!

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ultralightshooter
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Re: 1st Season

Post by ultralightshooter » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:34 pm

Nice tom,Congrats!

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Rick in Oregon
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Re: 1st Season

Post by Rick in Oregon » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:58 pm

Melvin: Neat, well written story as always, VERY nice bird, and I've just gotta comment on the very cool license plate! No discussion needed in your camp as to what varmint caliber you prefer. ;)
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Clint E
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Re: 1st Season

Post by Clint E » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:32 pm

Great story and nice bird melvin

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Captqc
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Re: 1st Season

Post by Captqc » Tue May 18, 2010 8:29 am

Nice going! I hear they don't taste like chicken!! :lol: Gary

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