Congrats, Great Hunt. Some fine blowing up you done there.
Saturday's weather looked promising, the whole weekend was good camping weather. So I packed up the gear and headed out to camp Friday after work. This didn't leave allot of spare time to enjoy the evening after setting up as 9pm was about call time to get enough sleep, 3:30 wake up. What a nice morning, perked up some coffee and had a light breakfast. I geared up with the vest, flap cushion and a bobble head decoy. The usual calls, Haily Box, K&H slate, some mouth calls. Friend of mine went into the woods on the hill, I set up on lower ground facing a little clearing near a favorite area I like to get into. Very few bugs surprisingly, which was a nice break.
The bachelors were alive and kicking up top! There was two-three thunder birds hammering away to calls, and a small group of gobblers, maybe Jakes roosted nearby. They would gobble together usually after another bird or call set them off. They were already close, and my friend said he spotted two roosted and when they flew down said that they went in all different directions. I was sure one of us was going to get a shooter in range, what could go wrong?
I could tell one flew down to the opposite corner of the field I was just above. So I cut the distance a bit and just moved the decoy so if he cut the field (which he did) he could spot it easier. Plus I could get a better eye full under a pine about 10 yards from the edge. I hit the K&H, and man did he hammer back. He's coming in from my right side but not behind me, keeping to the field. Now I have him spotted, but no shot at that angle. Plus he starts to angle out. By the time he gets to 2:00 o`clock angle he's stopped, spotted my decoy but he's 60 yards out. Damn bird flaps his wings a few times and walks around, at one point he looked like he was going to wander up closer to the decoy. But nope, he wasn't playing and made his way to the lower section of woods. Nothing I could do but watch him parade himself away through the field. I called to no avail, it was almost like he looked at the bobble hen as if it was work. I couldn't tell what was going on up top except the gobblers quieted down and I didn't hear a shot.
Decided to move after the sun was up. Didn't care much for being right in the sun. Hit a spot overlooking a good view of the lower field where the woods is off to my right side, oh yeah - under a shade tree. Decoy is out 35-40 yards so anything peeking out of the woods can see it and I could keep an eye on the whole view. This particular shade tree has a light stick blind. Well about an hour into that set up and there didn't seem to be any takers, no gobbles or hens making noise either. Next thing I know this Tom is out of the woods, he managed to sneak out just out of range and stops to stare at the decoy. Bugger didn't make a sound. Tried some enticing purrs, soft calls - I'm certain this was the same bird because he flapped his wings and walked away like he didn't want anything to do with this hen.
Stiffed by the same bird twice in one morning - that's just insulting. My friend was in the soup up top but couldn't get a shot either. By 11:00 I was falling asleep and decided to get back to camp.
Before sundown fog was rolling into the valley and we figured we would have to deal with that for at least a little while in the morning. Next morning I ditched the vest and went light, gear belt with the essentials and took my summit chair. Well holy fog, I couldn't see past 30 yards most of the time. Even after sunup. Heard a few gobblers but they weren't as fired up as the day before. One bird was low, so for a second spot I hit a set of birch trees, right were I got my 1st bird on the opener. This would also put me in a position to cut off any bird cutting the field like the bird did the day before. I also just brought the intruder Jake, it was time to switch tactics. Had some light rain mixed with the fog now. There was a few moments when some of the fog would lift and you could get a decent view. But that wasn't holding. Next thing I see is my friend walking the edge of the field making his way to camp. What the crap, well he knew that fried my spot. He was soaked and claimed to be tired.
Since it was only a 10-15 minute walk back to camp I decided to get some more coffee and wait till the fog looked to be clearing. I set up in a lower field mid way just into the woods. Here the summit seat gave me an advantage of sitting in comfort but eye level to the field. The intruder Jake was positioned about 40 yards straight out looking into the woods. I hit the box call and then a bit on the mouth call. Seemed like as soon as the fog lifted it was night and day, no shortage of sunshine. I'm 15-20 minutes into this set up and my eye catches a gobbler out of the right side. He had no trouble spotting the Jake and started to make his way towards it. You all know that feeling, "oh yeah - I'm up!" He's in range and I got the tri-viz sights on him. I didn't have to call again to get him in, in fact - he didn't make a sound either. Nice and quiet like. I'm trying to breath normally as my heart is jumping. This gobbler is fanned up, probably getting ready to pounce the Jake. Once he was turned I hit the mouth call to try and make him crane up, but he didn't. Took the best shot I could, about 40 yards eye level. The 1300 flattened him - hammer down! Federal 3" #5's & gobble stopper choke. Got a few pellets in the upper breast meat, n/p when it's time cut it up & maybe make Turkey jerky with this one.
21 lbs 10" beard 1 & 5/8" spurrs
Slammin` this ends my season so I enjoyed an outstanding night at camp, excellent weather, cooked some steaks over the fire, hit a little tequilla, and shot the BS. Good hunting!
"Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book."
Congrats, Great Hunt. Some fine blowing up you done there.