Full Strut Fan Tales

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I go to a private high school, so the weekends are pretty much my only times to hunt. My father had shot a nice bird on the first day of the season, and was now trying to get me my second bird ever and a friendof his their first. Saturday we drove to a small convineince store where we would meet bob(my fathers friend). He climed into my dad's truck and we drove about 3 miles to the area we would hunt. My dad opened his door and stepped out to call to see if he could get a responce from a gobbler, but He didn't call, He just quikly signaled me and bob to get out. Bob was already out of the truck. He had gotten out when we stopped same as my dad. As I loadeded my gun in the dark, I heard two owls, who where sounding off non-stop. Every so often a little ways up an old logging road we could here a tom gobbling off the roost. we walked up the logging road, which was along a large field, until we arrived at where the road forked and set up facing the general direction of the turkey, because we were't sure which way he was going to come. He gobbled just enough to let us know he was there, but he seemed really quite and I wasn't sure why. We sat and called for a while when another bird started to gobble behind us way out in the feild. My dad turned me around so that I sat ten yards from the edge of the woods. and could see out. The gobbler had three hens with him and I only saw him once but I could tell he was big. Then, out of nowhere the first gobbler sounded off only fifty to sixty yards away. Bob slid around to the oppisite side of the tree so that he could look out over the old trail/road. My dad called lightly a few times but the tom wouldn't gobble. Then my dad whispered, excitedly, "He is coming right to your right, DON'T MOVE!" He had snuck past bob in a small ditch in the road and was comming down to the corner of the feild, where he thought the hen was. Then i saw him, a tom, easily twenty pounds, and a beard that was probably eleven inches. He came only fifteen yards from me, stuck his head up and looked at me. I was stuck, He gave me a perfect shot but i couldn't move right to shoot or he'd see me. He moved behind a large oak tree and i moved the gun into his path, but through the brush i couldn't get a shot. As soon as he got in to the field I watched him jolt up back through the way he'd came. I knew I hadn't spooked him, but didn't know what had. We walked back down the logging road till we could see the other gobbler, only fifty yards away. We stood waiting as he started coming in our direction, without us even calling. Then he and his hens ran and flew. We knew we hadn't spooked these birds either. We thought maybe there was a coyote in the field. It wasn't a coyote at all. As we got to our truck we saw another hunter walking down the dirt road that we came on. My dad was a nice guy and went over and started talking to him. It turns out the guy had seen the turkeys and had been trying to stalk them across the feild. He told my father that he had shot and missed one of the birds yesterday and thats why that one bird came in so quite. The next morning we returned to find a truck parked in our spot. It was only 3:30 so he had obviosly gotten there pretty early. Anyways the first four spots we had gone to check there were people at. People find out about your spots quicly in Andover! We didn't find a bird until about 5:30, and we had a half mile hike through thorn bushes to him. He was still up in the tree but he had a hen with him. I saw one of them fly down but not the other so i knew that they had sepperated and would need to find one another again. My dad kept calling as I saw a head pop up to my extreme left. I turned slowly so that the gun was aimed in its direction. it took a few more steps exposing it whole head and I realized it was a hen. She walked strait toward me and bob until she was only ten feet away, then she turned towards my dads calling and walked three feet from him and never noticed. I tought i heard a gobble and slowly eased to my original position. A moment later I saw a turkey walking through the woods. I got my gun ready since it looked like it was coming toward the trail I was on. I didn't see a beard so I thought that the hen had just circled around, but as it got on to the trail and leaned over to feed off the ground I noticed a beard. he was behind a small bush so I didn't know how big it was, I just had to wait. As He took two more steps I leveled him. He went down and never moved. My dad ran up from behind and asked me if I got it. Bob told him that it was a jake. As I walked up to where it had fallen(which happened to be into a good sized puddle)I unloaded my gun. It wasn't as big as the ones I'd seen yesterday, but I wasn't letting another one get away. My Jake weighed in at 15.5 pounds had a 4 1/2" beard, and had 1/2" and 3/4" spurs. Two days later My dad took bob out and bob shot a jake that was 16 pounds, 4" beard, 1/4" spurs. I should mention that my dads bird was 18.5 pounds had an 11" beard and 1 1/8 inch spurs.
Charlie, <Charlie_Cloutier@proctornet.com>
Andover, NH USA - Thursday, June 27, 2002 at 09:21:32 (PDT)
On April 12, 02, a cloudy and rainy Friday morning I took Jerry on his first turkey hunting trip. We were at my hunting club and walked down the power line about an 1/8 of a mile and stopped on the crest of a hill and it started breaking daylight. Immediately after daylight we heard a gobbler cross the power line about a hundred yards away. We went in about 40 yards from the gobbler and set up. We worked with him for about 1 hr. and he stayed in the tree for 1 hr. 10 min. after daylight. We thought we had spooked the gobbler since he would not fly down. About that time we heard another gobbler across the power line. We decided to get up and try to kill the other gobbler. As we stood up, he had come down out of the tree and snuck in on us. He was clucking and trying to get out of the area. I told Jerry to take his shot and try to kill him. By that time the turkey had got about 70 yds. away and he could not get a shot. So I took the shot and dropped the turkey in his tracks. As my gun went off we immediately hear the other gobbler on the other side of the power line shock gobble. I told Jerry let's get set up on that one so he could kill one. We got about 50 yds. on the other side of the power line by a pond. I was using a diapragm and a box call. 200 yards off he immediately gobble back at the diapragm call. The turkeys were on the other side of the pond with hens. I started to get real aggressive with my diapragm by cutting and yelping. They flew across the pond towards us. The jake was trying to outrun the gobbler toward us. I told Jerry Bthat the bigger gobbler was in the back, just hold on so he could get a shot at the bigger one. He got so excited on the first one he couldn't stand it and took the shot on the jake. He tried to stand up and run toward the turkey, I grabbed him by the arm and told him to wait because the gobbler was trying to attack the jake flopping on the ground. So I took my shot on the grown gobbler and guess what, he was a real limb hanger! He weighed 20.5 lbs., 11.25 in. beard, 1 9/16 spurs! The first turkey of the story had a 10 in. beard, 1 in. spurs. The jake had a 5 in. with double beards 3 in. long. Three turkeys before 9:00! One of them a trophy Gobbler! Bobby Harrison
K.c. Harrison, <bckl31054@yahoo.com>
McIntyre, Ga. USA - Saturday, April 13, 2002 at 21:14:48 (PDT)
A day in the life of a Turkey Hunting Couple: Night before:I ask"Ok lets make a game plan what time we getting up?" Husband-Lets get up at 3:30am, we have a hour drive and I want to be sitting under that tree at 5:30am. 3:30am- alarm clock goes off & off & off & off! I hollor, hit the snooze please, HIT THE SNOOZE PLEASE. This continued till 4:15am I get up and say sweetie get up we want to be out there at 5:30 and we are running late. Honey, sweetie, HONEY, SWEETIE!!!...TROOOOOY!!! 5:30am-He finally drags his lazy body out of bed. I am dressed and packed and ready to go. 6:00am-We are just now headed out of town. Should have already been there and set up and slightly snoozing under a big tree waiting for Mr. Gobbler. On the way there Husband is not to enthused about life or being awake at that moment, TILL, we see turkey everywhere on the way there. And the only reason we are seeing them on the way there is IT'S DAY LIGHT AND WE SHOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN THERE ALREADY! 7:00am We are there finally and get out gather up our stuff and off we go. We walk a ways and I say " Where are we going what are we going to do". Husband said "I have no idea.But I have a good feeling, I bet we get set up, call and he comes right in". I said, "I hope so that would be great". 7:15am We go though the gate into the pasture and start down to the revine to cross over to where we think will be a good place."Hey there thay are"!!! 5 turkeys and they were headed in the opposite direction that we were going to set up. Ok the game plan has changed(again)! We continue down the revine and at the bottom a muddy,mooshy,gooshy sink up to you knee creek. Oh well all part of hunting RIGHT! We head up and out and toward the direction they are going. We get set up put the decoys out and start calling.GOBBLE-GOBBLE-GOBBLE, Wow, we look at each other with outspeaking we know what we are thinking,set up call and he comes right in! 8:00am Sitting up against a cedar tree. Itchy,Scratchy...gobble-gobble-gobble...He's closer. 8:10 I got my gun up and I'm ready. Shaking with excitment and I see them, they are running, OH BOY, looks like they are going to run up the hill and over to us....I wait, no turkey, then I hear it!!!! A truck pulled up to the pond and two guys get out with a little boy.Going fishing we suppose. On of the guys started Kee-Key-ing to them and they were gone. The disapponitment at that moment was overwhelming.I just wanted to go over there and give them a piece of my mind!AAAUuuuGGG!!! Husband said"It ain't there fault,they didn't know we were here". 8:45am We pack up and head around where we think they might have went. Now my husband is NOT one to take the path of least resistence. We follow the edge of this field around, just inside the woods,so we are walking on a slop, stepping over logs and tripping over hidden logs.We pop up on the other side and cross the field and back into the woods. Following a deer trail that took us right up a clift beside this little creek. I look down about 30ft,one step and I'm a goner. At this point I'm thinking my husband is trying to get rid of me. I say "Adventure,Drama,Danger,What's next?" We climb a hill only to relize we need to go down the other side, when we could just as easy gone around. As you can tell I'm tired by this time. We pop out where we think they might be. SET up again and call and wait. 9:30am We hear nothing see nothing. We are tring to figure out which way they might have went? We pack up again and head in the direction we "think" they went AGAIN! We walk,scan the area, walk and scan, walk and scan. If y'all don't know Kansas it's all open, except the creeks and rivers and you can see for miles and miles, and the turkey around here hang out in the open fields. After walking about 2 1/2 miles at this point we set up again! Call and wait and decided we figured wrong about where the turkeys went. 11:00am we pack up AGAIN and head to the car. By the time we get there we've walked almost 4 miles. 11:30am We are sitting in the car eating our lunch and making yet another game plan. The owner of the property pulls up beside us and tells us that the night be for over there in that field across the road he seen at least "30 turkeys". He said "they were dancing and showing off Is it mating season". Husband and I smile at each other and say YES it is. He gave us permission to go over there and off we went. If we had waited about 15 more minutes we could have asked the owner of the ajoining property if we could hunt on his land also. But instead of doing that we just go in on this other guy and walk a mile to the spot where these turkeys were suppose to have been seen. 1:00pm, Again we set up and call and wait. At this time I'm tired ,sore,blisters on my feet.We sit there for and hour, hear nothing see nothing. We did have a deer bed down about 40ft away. That was really cool. It's easier to eyeball a turkey and then try to hunt him so we decided to leave and maybe run into at least one on the way out. One mile in, means One mile out but we don't go the same way out and it's a little longer walk(of course) back to the car. We drive over to one last spot and look around. Call a little just to see if anything gobbles or yelps back. Nothing! We sit there in the shade of this beautiful spot and husband said there was a double bearded turkey in this part of the woods that everyone was after. As I was pondering that thought of bagging a double beard, I must have had a funny look on my face cause my husband blew up at me and said,"Well if you don't have anymore enthusiasm than that then lets go home". ENTHUSIASM,...... ENTHUSIASM!!!!!!! WHO DIDN'T GET HIS BUTT UP AT 3:30am, who acts like he really don't want to be here cause he has a cold and is coughing his head off. I know turkey hunting is supposed to be fun and all, but at that moment i was tired,sore,blisters on my feet, and I had just been told "I" had no enthusiasm, and like most women do, I cried. Mostly cause I was mad at HIM, a little cause I was dissapointed. Season is drawing to a close and I had been working so hard this turkey season. I got back into the car and said ok lets just go home. 4:00pm We decide to give it one last chance. We head over to where we seen turkey that morning, thinking we can head them off going to roost. Again we set up and call. 7:00pm We are both beat to a bloody pulp,tired,hungry and ready to head home. We load up AGAIN, and head to the car. As we are driving out "Oh man, there they are", we pull down the road, jump out gather up essentials and creep up the ditch. We set henrieta out there and call. gobble-gobble-gobble and also we have compititon with a hen, she is calling also. They inch there way closer and closer,little by litte. I'm proped up against a post no wider than my spine,OUCH, totally uncomfortable but I can't move the gobbler is looking right at me he is about 80 yards out, behind two grain silos. The silos for some reason were hanging them up. They gobbled and gobbled hoping that henrieta would come to them. Sitting for an hour with a 2 inch wide post in your back with your gun up and ready any minute, was torture. I was in living hell for an hour. Then hunband started crawling away hoping to sound like the hen was leaving and they spied him. The game was over. They trotted off to the woods,and the time of day it was it was just about roosting time. We definatly decided that it was a day and pack up for the last time and drove home.WE discused all that we "SHOULD HAVE DONE" on the way home. Hind sight you know! I told Hubby on the way home that this was a day of BLOOD,SWEAT & TEARS & TURKEYS! I have one more week of turkey season, but if I never get a turkey this season that don't matter. What matters is that I've had the time of my life this season hunting with my grampa and especially my favorite teacher/hunting partner, my wounderfully agravating HUSBAND! May everyones season end on a good note and Happy Hunting To All!!
dances_with_turkeyz, <dances_with_turkeyz@yahoo.com>
N. Central , KS USA - Monday, May 15, 2000 at 11:52:25 (PDT)
First year turkey hunting and boy has it been a learning experience. But after a long 13 days hunting, over 93 hours in the field, and over 1700 miles on the car i finally got my bird. I've never hunted turkey's before, but have to friends on the fire department where i work that were willing to take me out so i thought i'd give it a try. These guys both have 20 plus years experience each and always get a bird every year so i figured it would be a gimme hunt. So i didn't do much in the way of preparation and figured they'd teach me everything i needed to know. Well they took me out a total of three times and we just couldn't connect. We heard tons of birds both on the roost and after they would hit the ground but they weren't coming in for nothing. They'd answer our calls alot but wouldn't come in. We figured they were henned up, or this being the fourth season just too smart now. I found this site as well as a few others on the net and started doing alot of research and reading on these wiley birds. Started doing alot of hunting on my own, and always found alot of birds gobbling on the roost, some mornings they would gobble a little longer after they flew down some mornings not. Got close a couple times, had a jake sneak up behind me until he got right beside me at about five feet, and called in two long beards from a field after watching them strut for about 20 minutes, but they wouldn't come in any closer than 70 yards. Well these two birds i had been working for 5 or 6 days, and had them patterned pretty well. They always roosted in the same tree, i believe, but at least in the same area every night on the same ridge. Set up on them several times on the next ridge to the south of them and tried to get them to fly over to me at fly down but they'd have nothing to do with me. Every morning they would fly down and work north and east, then after a while shut up. Well after them doing that for a few morning in a row i finally did some late morning scouting out into that direction to see what they were doing, and i found a nice cornfield, and to my surprise on the north end were 4 or 5 fans walking back and forth. Setup and started calling and got two birds to come into 70 yards. But being my first year i was so worried about them catching my movement that all i did was work on getting the gun up without them seeing me and forgot to call. They would watch my hen decoy for a while, then move off when she didn't talk to them anymore, guess they figures she was cold or something. Well i had to work the next day but i decided that i would take off work early that shift. We work 24 hours 7 am to 7am, got off early at 4 am the day following my shift and headed out to the woods. It had thunderstormed all night and the timber was soaked, as was i after the mile and a half hike. Just stood quietly in the darkness a couple hundred yards to the east of where the "twins" as i had nick named them generally roosted. Decided that if they were there i would go setup on the field and just wait them out, sure that eventually they would make their way out to the field. Got setup on the northwest corner and waited, they were quiet this morning on the roost only letting out 5 or 6 single gobbles instead of the usual 30 plus gobbles they put out in the morning. Then after they flew down i heard one gobble, it sounded like it was further to the west. Figured i finally get these birds patterned and they end up going the other way. The initial plan was to stay quiet and just wait on them, but i was worried they were moving away, so i let out a single series of about 5 or 6 yelps, just to let them know there was a lonely hen up in the field, then i shut up. A few minutes later i heard another gobble that seemed like they were twice as close to me as the first time. I was smiling then. After a few more minutes i caught some movement out in front of me to the left, in the field. Slowly looked and it was a turkey, with another behind it, and another behind that one. It was over 40 minutes into legal shooting time but a heavy overcast made it difficult to make them out against the wet, black dirt in the field. They kept moving to my right and away from me, not sure what to do they helped me out, and all three of them let out loud gobbles, now i was definately smiling ear to ear. I'd seen big bucks let smaller ones and does go out into fields first to make sure everything was safe, since i couldn't distinguish much size difference between these birds and couldn't make out their beards with the black background i hoped this would hold true for turkeys too. When the last bird in the row stretched his neck up high, i put the front pin on his neck just below his head and squeezed it off. Down he went like a bag of bricks. 40 yards with a 12 guage 3in mag 2 ounces of #5's and he was mine. The other two birds ran circles for a couple seconds putting, then came back to my bird and looked at him like what are you doing dummy, then they departed quickly. Went up and got my bird, but he was still flapping a little bit so i stepped on his neck, then he came alive again, started beating me with his wings, and clawing at me with his feet and spurs, after a short battle he finally subsided and i had my first turkey. 22 lbs 9.5 inch beard, and 1 1/8" spurs..... Very happy with my bird.....Learned alot from others on this site in the chat room and all the other resources.... thanks for the help and check out the pics of my bird on my web page when you have time... Thank you ......... Jason
Jason,http://members.aol.com/iowabowhca/jasonspage1.htm <Firemanup@aol.com>
Ames, IA USA - Sunday, May 14, 2000 at 18:01:01 (PDT)
After four years, I finally shot my first gobbler! Up in Pike County, PA at the family cabin, last Wednesday, May 3, 2000, at 7:00 in the morning. Mt two hunting buddies were still in their racks, sound asleep. I set up where I had heard birds the day before. Heard a faint gobble at about 6:30. Talked back to it a little, and heard it again, at 6:45, this time it sounded like it was on top of me. But I couldn't see it. Fifteen minutes later, I spotted it 20 yards away, sneaking up to my decoy. It didn't gobble again, just clucked once every couple of seconds. Well, I was excited! It didn't take me long to raise my gun slowly as it went passed some trees, then BOOM! Nice clean shot. It probably would have died from that shot, but being my first, and having had a buddy not kill one two days earleir, I rushed up and shot it again. NINE inch beard and 1 1/2 spurs! The fan is getting mounted as I write this...I am hooked on this for life!
Fuzzie,http://vohslaw.com <wcvesq@yahoo.com>
PA USA - Monday, May 08, 2000 at 10:39:17 (PDT)
After four years, I finally shot my first gobbler! Up in Pike County, PA at the family cabin, last Wednesday, May 3, 2000, at 7:00 in the morning. Mt two hunting buddies were still in their racks, sound asleep. I set up where I had heard birds the day before. Heard a faint gobble at about 6:30. Talked back to it a little, and heard it again, at 6:45, this time it sounded like it was on top of me. But I couldn't see it. Fifteen minutes later, I spotted it 20 yards away, sneaking up to my decoy. It didn't gobble again, just clucked once every couple of seconds. Well, I was excited! It didn't take me long to raise my gun slowly as it went passed some trees, then BOOM! Nice clean shot. It probably would have died from that shot, but being my first, and having had a buddy not kill one two days earleir, I rushed up and shot it again. NINE inch beard and 1 1/2 spurs! The fan is getting mounted as I write this...I am hooked on this for life!
Fuzzie,vohslaw.com <wcvesq@yahoo.com>
PA USA - Monday, May 08, 2000 at 10:38:04 (PDT)

There Is A God In Heaven

Toward the end of last year's season, some uncaring individual walked right into my set-up where my buddy and I were working two gobblers in from two different directions. We only had to call a couple of times to get them gobbling, and soon, they were gobbling at each other and were about to get into a dominance dispute, or so we thought. We helplessly watched this guy come across the field toward our decoys which were in plain view, obviously hearing the gobbles and trying to scare the birds off. Needless to say, the birds shut right up and high-tailed it out of there. Moments later a shot rang out on a nearby powerline in the direction one of the birds had come from, while we were giving the jerk the dickens for his inconsideration.

I had hoped that this would be the last time that a hunter, and I use the term lightly in this case, would be so selfish as to knowingly wander into my set-ups. I can understand someone wandering in by mistake, but to look right at decoys and to keep coming toward them in the open??? Anyway, this past Thursday night two buddies and I watched four birds go to roost on the edge of a cut cornfield. Two of us returned the next morning and set up further down on the field's edge. As we sat in the predawn darkness, a vehicle suddenly pulled in behind my truck in the distance. Moments later I could make out the outlines of two hunters walking along the field edge in our direction. We both began shining our flashlights at them to alert them of our presence. They just kept coming and set up their decoys about 100 yds. away.

We knew that this would screw things up as the tendency would now be to overcall now as they obviously would compete with our calling when the birds would fly down. Moments later, the birds began gobbling on the roost. The two idiots began calling loudly with a box call, IN THE DARK...??? About 45 minutes later, we watched two jakes pitch down into the field, and a hen materialized out of the light fog at the field's edge way off to our right beyond the chumps. Then, suddenly a good tom showed up at the field edge and strutted his way out into the field with the jakes and began feeding. We started calling softly, and the others came right in after our calls. We couldn't believe that anyone who calls themselves a SPORTsmen (or women) could be so rude. So we began calling a little more aggressively, and birds worked in our direction. They stopped about 75 yds. from us trying to get the perceived hens to come out of the woods into the field.

After a few moments, the hen, who had now made her way out into the field began cutting and clucking loudly at us while the idiots kept calling frantically trying to get the birds to go in their direction. The hen made her way toward the idiots trying to challenge whata she thought was an obnoxious hen, and one of the jakes in front of us also started in her direction. Of course, as bad luck would have it, the tom began to follow the jake as he was obviously concerned that the jake may do the hen. One of the idiots fired at the tom when he was about 60 yds. out. The tom, now crippled began trying to get on its feet to run off. One of the idiots quickly ran out into the field and began kicking the bird. After collecting our deeks, my buddy and I went over to let the idiots know that we were not impressed with their inconsideration, and thank them for ruining our hunt. The arrogant S.O.B. had the audacity to cuss at us. I had to leave quickly as my blood was getting hot.

So we left the area and left for another spot where we had recently seen birds. As we drove along, I said to my buddy "Man, I've had it with so-called hunters getting into my face on purpose and screwing things up." I remember turning my thoughts above and saying to God "It ain't fair. We should've had that bird as we did all the work to get him." A moment later as we arrived at the other spot, we noted a strutting tom with four hens in a cut cornfield. We rounded the corner and saw sixteen birds in the upper field where we were going to park to go after the birds in the lower field. We proceeded and parked further up the road. After quickly making a country-mile-long loop, we came to the edge of a swamp which bordered the upper field. I continued on to scope out the field while my buddy hung back in the swamp. After seeing a boss tom surrounded by seven jakes and eight hens, I returned to my partner to discuss a possible strategy.

After a moment, a gobble sounded from the far left in the direction of the lower field. The first gobbler was making his way along in the cut cornfield obviously challenging the other gobbler's dominance, and trying to lure his hens. Both birds began strutting and screaming thunderous gobbles at each other and spinning around in defiance of each other. Quickly dropping my vest, I dropped to my belly and crawled through the swamp to try and get position on the area where they would meet. Carefully looking up occasionally, I could see the jakes and hens scrutinizing the field edge, and looking my way. As there wasn't much for cover, I thought that the birds could possibly see my snail-paced movements, but I knew that they wouldn't be able to distinguish what I was due to the light fog. Praying that they wouldn't spook, I continued on finally making it to a small pile of stones and several small trees at the stone wall at the field's edge. Poking my head out slowly to the right, I saw that all the birds were looking in my direction, but I couldn't see the gobbler. I poked my head out to the left, and saw nothing. So I slowly rose to look over the rockpile. There was the challenging gobbler staring right at me about 35 yds. away. I shrunk back down, opened my scope caps, put off the safety, rose and took aim. The shot knocked the bird completely off his feet and layed him on his back in the cornfield.

After a quick photo session, we quickly left for the registration station where guess who was waiting to register his bird. That's right, the idiot. He said "Man, you shouldn't have left, the jakes were returning to the field as we were leaving." I walked by him saying "We weren't there for a jake..." He smiled at me as I walked by, that is, until he got a look at my 22 lb. 10-1/4" beard, 1" spur Palamino color phased gobbler. It was great to see his face hanging out as I began talking with the other hunters who were waiting to register their birds. The idiot's gobbler weighed in at 19-1/2 lbs. had an eight inch beard, and 3/4" spurs. Just desserts! Get this; he had the nerve to come over and apologize for messing us up as he was leaving. To which I said, "Sure, now you'll admit that you were wrong, but back in the field you argued that you were in the right, and you even had the nerve to cuss at my buddy and I because we confronted you. It's idiots like you that cause accidents and give hunting a bad name." Could tell the guy felt like two cents as the other hunters were listening to what was being said, and watched him walk off toward his truck. They all asked me about what had happened as the jerk left. After relating the story, some said that this wasn't the first time for them either, and they thanked me for telling it to the jerk like it really is. I hope this story gets into the hands of other hunters who don't understand what respect and true sportsmanship are. I apologize for the length of this post, but this kind of stuff needs to be said so we can cut back on the number of accidents in the hunting woods, and so we can all do what we're supposed to: have fun SAFELY hunting America's best game animal, the wild turkey.
Rick LaRiviere aka SnoodDude,http://www.geocities.com/rifflebum/talon-outfitters <talon@ncia.net>
Shelburne, NH USA - Sunday, May 07, 2000 at 11:45:45 (PDT)

I guess this has to be the best turkey season and the shortest I have ever had. I have a brother-in-law who owns a nice farm in South Central Illinois and it has some dandy cuts and woods on it. We went down the day before opening day and set up camp, a nice spot away from the roost area and out of the wind and rain. The three of us went to differant parts of the farm to see if we could roost up some birds. When we all arrived back at camp we had each heard birds but one area seemed better than the others. In the mourning I went up to the top of one of the cuts and took my nephew,Dan along, we set up our decoys and found a nice spot to ambush a bird when the sun came up. Dan got into the ground blind we made out of burlap and sticks, and I went to a tree on the downside of the hill, about 20 yards away and behind Dan. Sure enough a little after daylight we heard the tom fly down along with a couple of hens. The Tom started gobbling right away and we made some soft calls and he answered right back, even tho there were hens with him. WE made a few more calls and he was strutting around just out of sight and seemed reluctant to come in, Dan had his gun up and ready so I was the only one calling, I had just bought a MAD "Spit and Drumm" call and I figgered why not try it now. So after a couple spits and drumms I heard the report from Dans gun and hurried up the hill, sure enough Dan had a nice Tom 24#, 10" beard and 1 1/16th spurs. Not bad for a young mans first Turkey. I asked If he wanted to take the ATV back to camp, but he said he would rather carry it the mile or so, I think he wanted to savor the moment as long as he could, great. I looked at my watch as he was walking doen the fence row and it was just 6:30. So as long as the decoys were set up and there were still birds gobbling, i sat down in the sme spot Dan had been. I thought I'd make a couple calls and wait and see what happened, after a couple calls and no answer I was sitting there and thought I heard something over the side of the hill, I turned to look and did't see anything and when I turned back a Tom flew up about twenty yards away in front of me. Needless to say I was cussing myself out for being so stupid and probly blowing the best chance I would have. I thought about moving, then thought what the heck lets try and see if anything else answers, sure enough, a Tom gobbled from the opposit way the one I spooked went. I called, he answered and this went on for awhile, and as I was about to reposition myself so the turkey was in front of me I saw a snowball out of the corner of my eye, It was a turkey in full strut about 80 yards away and just going around in circles. I 'd call and he would puff all up and strut around, but that was as far as he was going, in the mean time the one from the other way was getting closer and closer. I took out the Spit and Drumm call and let a couple of those fly, the one who was hung up folded his feathers up and came arunning when he was about the same spot that Dan had shot his bird he stopped and started strutting again, when he turned his back on me I got the ole model 500 up and on him,as he came out of strut I let him have a load of copper plated 4's and 6's. The bird was a nice one 20# 9 3/4" beard and real sharp 1 1/16" spurs, as I gathered up my decoys and started for the ATV I looked at my watch, it was 8:30, what a mourning, to bad it had to end so soon. I called for my brother-in law the next day an he could have taken a jake from the same spot, but we let it go until it get bigger. I Hope everyone hears a gobble or two, has a safe hunt and let the little ones get bigger. GOOD LUCK
george weeden, <weedengsw46@aol.com>
lowell, in USA - Monday, April 24, 2000 at 19:27:04 (PDT)
Recently I had been enjoying reading some of the stories on your site,and after my hunt this morning(opening day)I thought that I would share this with some of your readers. Last night I had just finished a twelve hour shift at work. I got off at 6:00am. I had made arrangements for my relief man to come in a few minuets early so I could try and get to the woods early. Thunder storms had rolled in at around 4:00am,but I kept checking on the weather via the internet. All reports kept saying the rain would end around noon. We all have heard that before! So at 5:50am I head for the woods. Driving in the rain the whole way. I get to my Uncles farm in plenty of time and lo and behold the rain stops! You can even see the sky is starting to clear. I have hunted this farm most of my 40 year life and have been fortunate enough to harvest many deer,turkey and squirrels. I basicly know every ridge and holler like I know my own back yard. At one end of the farm there is a big pasture field surrounded by woods, some old logging roads and some of the land even boarders a wildlife management area. There are six other fields other than this big pasture field,although none any longer have crops in them. So I park my truck and start getting my gear on. And oh yeah, load my gun. I head down this old logging road to a spot where I know that I will be within 100 yards or so of the birds roosting area. I set out my decoy,I say decoy singular because my wife and I have just finished moving into our newly built house and I can only find bits and pieces of my hunting and fishing gear. I get all settled in with my back against a big oak tree, the songbirds are waking up and the woods are coming to life. On most wet or rainy days the turkeys are almost always out in this big wide open pasture. So the sun comes up. I hear nothing. I had already decided not to use my owl hooter this morning because it being opening day and the government land boardering the farm I knew that there would be plenty of others doing the hooting and cawing for me. I never did hear the birds fly down, but guess what? Do you think that they went to the pasture? Of course not! They flew the other way on back into the woods. Ok,no problem I just deal with it. So after about 30 minuets of good daylight I started making some soft yelps. Nothing. So I get quiet. Ahhh! There they are, 3 gobbelers on different ridges behind me. So I figure that I will try and close the gap on one of the old boys. So I get up and decide to take only one call and no decoy. Stupid move! I start down the logging road and hit the aluminum slate a couple of times and all of a sudden one of the old boys answers back and he's on the same ridge with me! A couple of more yelps, yep he is definitly on my ridge. So I decide to get just a little closer before setting up. By this time the old guy is gobbeling his head off. So I decide to set up. After I get sat down next to a tree that is large enough to hide my silouete I see that it's not that good of a choice. Ever happen to anyone else!!!? But it's too late and I am going to have to play the hand that I have been delt. So I get good and comfortable and make a couple of soft calls just to see if he can hear the soft ones letting me get some idea of just how close he is. Sure enough he fires right back. So I think good enough. I will wait a few minuets and see if he is going to come on in or hang up on me. At first he is coming on, gobbeling almost every step. But then, for the next 5-10 minuets he seems to have stopped. This is great. Now here we go again with the hang up game! I had already decide to wait on doing any calling to see if he would come. Seconds seemed like hours by this point. So after quite some time and him not moving I picked up the striker to the aluminum slate and while the call itself was still on the ground I made some real soft yelps trying to make him think that his love intrest was giving him the old hard to get routine. Sure enough it worked. Here he came strutting and gobbeling up a storm. At first I couldn't see him because the logging road makes a few sharp turns and there was some briars by the last turn. But all of a sudden there he was in all his splendor!!! By this time he is about ten yards away and Im ready. But all of a sudden right when I have a good spot to shoot through, he is in full strut. And thats not a good time to take a clean kill shot. So I wait a second. he stops. Sticks his head straight up. Turns around and makes one putt. But before he could get his first leg to moving I squeezed off on him. Good clean kill. So I get up and run over to him, by this time I have the shakes! Nice bird! Nice ten inch beard and 3/4 to 7/8 spurs. By this time it is 7:30am. So I take my cell phone out to call my wife(Not my idea to take the phone, but she is eight and a half months pregnant and well you know.) Well I hope that everyone has a good season, and remember,it's not the kill that makes it hunting it's the hunt!!!
Doug Chelf, <dougmissy.chelf@gte.net>
Campbellsville, Ky USA - Monday, April 17, 2000 at 19:43:44 (PDT)
I first began hunting in 1996 when I found out, at a church marriage retreat, that my husband wanted me to share his love of the outdoors more than anything. You can check out my web page and click on "Hunting Story" to read all about my first foray into hunting. I had done pretty good with deer hunting but turkeys had continued to elude me by the time the 2000 season rolled around. It was kind of warm for late March. I heard so many gobbles that first day that I became totally confused as to which way to go. I just sat in between all the noise and called. Nothing came to me. I got up a couple of times and spooked them "right over the hill" from me twice. That afternoon, nothing was making a sound. Same thing Sunday morning. After church, I listened for a while and heard nothing. I sat in a blind I had made a week earlier. I didn't hear any gobbling but suddenly three jakes walked up from behind and to my left. My Franchi Brescia 12-gauge was pointing straight ahead, though, and I was afraid to move. The jakes were very interested in my jake decoy, fortunately, and the largest of the three finally came within range straight in front of me. One shot put him down. Wow! The thrill of having tried for so long and finally accomplishing the task was exciting! I hastily grabbed all my stuff and headed for the house. My husband was thrilled for me, of course. Now he wouldn't have to listen to me gripe about not getting a turkey! The next weekend I debated about not getting up on Saturday morning. I was very sleepy. But I went on up the mountain behind the house. Nothing was making a sound, except for a few gobblers on the ridge across the street from the house. I finally gave up on the mountain and hiked down to the house and then up the ridge. As I was walking along an ATV road, I heard gobbles that sounded as if they were just a few feet away. I hastily set out my jake decoy and sat down behind a fallen tree. Less than five minutes elapsed before four turkeys came into view IN FULL STRUT! Talk about excitement! My heart was so loud I was sure they would hear and spook. One finally presented his head in profile and I got off a shot. He went rolling down the ridge and I went after him. I got him pinned down a few feet below the crest. It was another jake. I was so weak from the excitement of it all that I began shaking uncontrollably and had to sit down. Well, it looks like I'm on a roll now. I guess I'll save my 3rd "tag" for a nice big full-grown long-beard. I'm definitely hooked, though!
Susan M. Clark,www.volstate.net/~mrsmusic/ <mrsmusic@volstate.net>
LaFayette, GA USA - Monday, April 03, 2000 at 21:38:24 (PDT)
Last season was a strange one. The birds were everywhere just before the season's opening, and suddenly, you couldn't buy a gobble, even with Bill Gate's money. The birds simply shut right up tight. We'd hear 'em gobble on the roost, and they'd clam up as soon as their feet hit the ground. Had a heck of a time getting birds to give up their location. They wouldn't shock gobble for beans, and most often they'd come in silently. We'd covered more realestate, I swear that I wore out my new Rocky's.

One day as we were cuttin' and runnin' on the edge of a sandpit, we decided to move along an old skidder trail. My buddy was walkin' ahead of me just a few steps when he came to a ditch where a culvert had been removed by the logging company. There was some tall grass and brush in the ditch and a bank on both sides. Just as he prepared to jump from one bank to the other, a jake took off from the grassy ditch and almost flew into him. He fell flat on his back and got real pale, and I was gittin' ready to perform CPR, only I was laughin' to damn hard.

The next day, the two of us were joined by another huntin' buddy, and we were up tryin' to get a strike on a ridgetop powerline, cuttin' and carryin' on every hundred yards or so. Well, guess what, "ol' iron nerves" was in the lead, and as we come over a hump, he turned to look back at us to say somethin' or other. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a nesting hen raise her head out of the grass from behind a log right there next to the path. Well, "ol' iron nerves" turned to continue walkin' and the hen took to the wing right under his feet. I thought "CPR this time for sure". Well, he was okay after a minute or two. But me, well I couldn't regain my composure for most of the day. Thought for sure I was gonna fill those Rocky's.

I'm sure you've heard of the ol' sayin' "What goes around comes around". Well, let me tell you that I now know this one to be an absolute. I was out muzzleloading for deer in early November when I happened to spot movement in the brush ahead of me. I froze and took up my binocs for a better look. After a moment of scrutinizing the brush, I made out the shape of a turkey; two turkeys; no, three turkeys...". I put the binocs down very slowly as I saw they were headin' my way. Friends, the birds just kept coming. FOURTEEN in all. Nine hens, four jakes, and one huge longbeard. I mean this was THOMAS D. GOBBLER. He was huge. The birds fed in my direction, all but surroundin' me. So I squinted my eyes, and froze. Thankfully, there was a little brush there, and I very slowly made my way behind it. I closed my eyes and listened intently to the sounds they were making. Stood there for almost a half hour! After they had wandered off to my right, I slowly made my way to the left to get a thicket between me and them.

This area isn't open to turkey hunting, so I was consoling myself with that fact. Anyway, I continued on my way and began thinkin' about where the birds were headin'. I know that property intimately, and could only figure that they were headin' to a patch of pine that wasn't too far off. I resolved to check it out the next day to see if there was roost sign.

I returned to the area early the next mornin' from another direction to continue lookin' for deer. I came to the patch of pine and zig-zagged my way through it. Just as I'd suspected, I found a few feathers, and some turkey poop. But no birds. So I continued on my way. When I came to the edge of the pines, I made my way out into some tall (chest-deep) grass on the edge of an alder swamp. I was lookin' off in the distance as I'd seen deer in there before. As I went to take a step in the tall grass, guess what happened? I just about stepped on a good gobbler. The four foot plus wingspan, and rukkus created by the bird flushing in my face made the hair on the back of my neck come to attention, and I had to swallow three times to get my heart back into my chest. And just as I thought to myself "No CPR here", I lifted a foot to keep goin', and a hen took off not two feet away. This one sent me sideways onto my keyster in four inches of water. I'll tell you what, I've learned my lesson, I'll never laugh at anyone in those circumstances again!
SnoodDude, <talon@ncia.net>
Shelburne, NH USA - Tuesday, March 28, 2000 at 16:16:39 (PST)

Last season was a strange one. The birds were everywhere just before the season's opening, and suddenly, you couldn't buy a gobble, even with Bill Gate's money. The birds simply shut right up tight. We'd hear 'em gobble on the roost, and they'd clam up as soon as their feet hit the ground. Had a heck of a time getting birds to give up their location. They wouldn't shock gobble for beans, and most often they'd come in silently. We'd covered more realestate, I swear that I wore out my new Rocky's. One day as we were cuttin' and runnin' on the edge of a sandpit, we decided to move along an old skidder trail. My buddy was walkin' ahead of me just a few steps when he came to a ditch where a culvert had been removed by the logging company. There was some tall grass and brush in the ditch and a bank on both sides. Just as he prepared to jump from one bank to the other, a jake took off from the grassy ditch and almost flew into him. He fell flat on his back and got real pale, and I was gittin' ready to perform CPR, only I was laughin' to damn hard. The next day, the two of us were joined by another huntin' buddy, and we were up tryin' to get a strike on a ridgetop powerline. Well, guess what, "ol' iron nerves" was in the lead, and as we come over a hump, he turned to look back at us to say somethin' or other. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a nesting hen raise her head out of the grass from behind a log right there next to the path. Well, "ol' iron nerves" turned to continue walkin' and the hen took to the wing right under his feet. I thought "CPR this time for sure". Well, he was okay after a minute or two. But me, well I couldn't regain my composure for most of the day. Thought for sure I was gonna fill those Rocky's. I'm sure you've heard of the ol' sayin' "What goes around comes around". Well, let me tell you that I now know this one to be an absolute. I was out muzzleloading for deer in early November when I happened to spot movement in the brush ahead of me. I froze and took up my binocs for a better look. After a moment of scrutinizing the brush, I made out the shape of a turkey; two turkeys; no, three turkeys...". I put the binocs down very slowly as I saw they were headin' my way. Friends, the birds just kept coming. FOURTEEN in all. Nine hens, four jakes, and one huge longbeard. I mean this was THOMAS D. GOBBLER. He was huge. The birds fed in my direction, all but surroundin' me. So I squinted my eyes, and froze. Thankfully, there was a little brush there, and I very slowly made my way behind it. I closed my eyes and listened intently to the sounds they were making. Stood there for almost a half hour! After they had wandered off to my right, I slowly made my way to the left to get a thicket between me and them. This area isn't open to turkey hunting, so I was consoling myself with that fact. Anyway, I continued on my way and began thinkin' about where the birds were headin'. I know that property intimately, and could only figure that they were headin' to a patch of pine that wasn't too far off. I resolved to check it out the next day to see if there was roost sign. I returned to the area early the next mornin' from another direction to continue lookin' for deer. I came to the patch of pine and zig-zagged my way through it. Just as I'd suspected, I found a few feathers, and some turkey poop. But no birds. So I continued on my way. When I came to the edge of the pines, I made my way out into some tall (chest-deep) grass on the edge of an alder swamp. I was lookin' off in the distance as I'd seen deer in there before. As I went to take a step in the tall grass, guess what happened? I just about stepped on a good gobbler. The four foot plus wingspan, and rukkus created by the bird flushing in my face made the hair on the back of my neck come to attention, and I had to swallow three times to get my heart back into my chest. And just as I thought to myself "No CPR here", I lifted a foot to keep goin', and a hen took off not two feet away. This one sent me sideways onto my keyster in four inches of water. I'll tell you what, I've learned my lesson, I'll never laugh at anyone in those circumstances again!
SnoodDude, <talon@ncia.net>
Shelburne, NH USA - Tuesday, March 28, 2000 at 16:13:05 (PST)
Well this story involves two guys that love to turkey hunt together. They are the best of friends and turkey hunting is a passion of theirs. These two friends just know how to hunt together. This paticular hunt started one morning at the edge of a cotton field. The birds here are crazy birds and they don't gobble at owl hoots like most birds do. They will gobble at a crow call sometimes, but most of the time they do better just letting them gobble on their own. This morning one started gobbling early and we set up in an island of trees out in the cotton field. He was really hammering good and started responding to our calls. We could tell he was getting closer to us and was responding the way we wanted him to. I don't know how we know what to say or do but we always do when we are hunting together. I usually see the birds come out of the woods into the cotton field first. This morning was no exception. I told my friend there he is , these are sweet words when you are waiting for a longbeard. The gobbler started to us across the field and I knew he was fixing to shoot him so I gave him a good cutting on my mouth call trying to get him to gobble in our face. I started laughing and told him not to raise his head or he would shoot it. He did it anyway and a load of copper plated no. 4's ended the hunt. He was a good bird and we were proud to get him. My friend Mark and I were thankful to be sharing this experience together. We have shared several of these and hope to share some more. Thanks Mark for all the good times.
David Henderson, <jdh421@aol.com>
Wetumpka, Al USA - Friday, March 24, 2000 at 12:01:13 (PST)
well i had my first turkey hunt last year and it was the best i have ever had.i didnt bag a turkey but this is how it went.....i was a newby and dad never turkey hunted.we had the liscens and everything though.i had a remington 870 20 gauge.i woke up at about 5:00 am.i got dad up.we camoflauged ourselvs.we headed out back on our lease of 465 acres.we got about a mile out into the woods and herd a gobble.i reached into my pocket to find that there was zip shells in!!!!!I FORGOT ALL MY SHELLS ON MY DESK IN MY ROOM!!i gave dad my gun.he stayed there trying to locate a gobbler wile i ran as fast as i could down the grassy road to the house.well i got back nonstop running.i couldnt walk any further.well dad made me get up by telling me that there was a gobbler out to our left about 500 ards.it was faint though.we headed on down the road trting to locate a gobbbler still cuz that one had shut up.it was 6:00 now getting daylight.we herd a gobble and headed down a deer trail to where it was.we got 50 yards away from the landline and then we sat down.there was a creek in front of us.i was a newby and dumb so i didnt know a turkey wouldnt cross a creek unless he was getting off the roost.when he started answering us.i was actually scared.i dont know why though.i herd a hen.....then i herd a call.i looked at dad and sai,"that ante a turkey thats a turkey call.thats a slate call...i was wanting to holler but i was too nervous too.there was a gobbler with hens out too my left.we played a little duel about 1 1/2 hrs.all of s sudden i seen a big man stand up.i yelled to hem "hey!".it turned out it was the president of du and his friend.the president of du's name was Danny.i was amking Danny mad by having the real gobbler heading my way.he said that i sound so good with a turky call that i should sign up for the calling championship that at yellville.i didnt want to.the thing i thought was funny is that he was the guy that showed me to turkey hunt.we loaded up and went hom.he went to his vehicle and we tlaked a wile at our house.that was the best turkey hunt i was ever one. Author: Zachary D. Talley
Zachary ,http://www.expage.com/page/zackshunter <drrd@magnolia-net.com>
arkansas USA - Saturday, March 04, 2000 at 10:18:51 (PST)
Well, turkey hunting is my passion. I love to chase the birds and love to catch up with one now and then. I love to call them up for my friends but I like getting to take one myself every once in a while. The morning that this hunt took place I was trying to call up one for a friend of mine. The way it worked out I did the shooting. You know how it is with turkey hunting, nothing never works out the way you plan it. We had hunted this private land before but this morning they didn't gobble were they usually did. We went a little further into the back of the property and heard one gobbling. He was on the edge of a green field so we set up as closer as we could get or dared to get. We started working the turkey and after a few gobbles another turkey started gobbling to our right about 200 or 300 yds away. Of course you know what happened. The turkey we were set up on shut up and never made another sound, and he didn't make a showing neither. I was doing all the calling and the second bird that started gobbling really got fired up, so I turned my attention to him and started working on him. Since he was as far away as he was I decided to pick up the calling a little more than I usually did. He liked what he was hearing and started coming to us pretty fast. I was doing some excited yelping and a lot of cutting to him and he really liked it. He started double and triple gobbling. I had never had one to triple gobble that much to me before and we were really enjoying what he was doing.He got within about 70 yds and seem to hang up. I could hear him spitting and drumming between gobbles. He double and triple gobbled more than he single gobbled.I don't have the best ears so for me to hear all the drumming he was really pouring in on loud. I was getting a little worried about getting a shot because there was a ditch between us about 5 or 6 feet deep and I thought maybe he will walk down the ditch and I can get a shot. By now he was gobbling every breath it seemed and spitting and drumming to beat the band. Then it happened. He gobbled loud and the next gobble sounded as though it was way off. I suddenly realized he was down in the ditch when he gobbled. The next time he gobbled it was loud again and I knew he was on my side of the ditch. He came walking into the logging road I was watching and started to me. My buddy was sitting watching the green field and couldn't get a shot. When he started down the road to me I went ahead and made the shot, it was about 25 yds. It was a great hunt and I felt priviledged to get to tangle with such a great bird. I couldn't believe he actually crossed the ditch but I know he did from the sound of his gobbling and his feet were wet about 5 inches up his legs. It just happened to work out my way this time. He was a good bird, with a 10 1/2" beard and his spurs were 1 5/8" , 1 1/16" long. He weighed 22 lbs. He was one gobbling fool and I have enjoyed a lot of days remembering the hunt. It was an ideal hunt, alot of gobbling , a lot of calling and then getting to make the shot also. They just don't come any better than this.A lot of times since this hunt they didn't work out in my favor but I can always remember the one that did!!
David Henderson, <jdh421@aol.com>
Wetumpka, Al USA - Monday, February 28, 2000 at 09:50:47 (PST)

Mid-Day Marvels

The days seem to be getting shorter now. The winter has finally sat in with its traditional blanket of snow. I have sat my days on watching a flock of 25-30 eastern wild turkeys. In the morning, they will awake from a cold night in the tall pine trees and gracefully sail to the sunny side of the opposite mountain. There, they embark on a journey to find beechnuts and acorns buried beneath the snow. Later, they return by migrating into the evergreens to prepare for the frosty night ahead. The presence of wild turkeys near my land has opened a whole new opportunity to enjoy the sport of hunting. Traditionally I hunt deer, rabbit, grouse, and the occasional fuzzy tail. Now, my attention is more focused on bagginí a longbeard than any other animal. The local birds have been in this same fall/winter pattern for the past five years. Many people are beginning to take up turkey hunting because of the great accomplishments of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlifeís restoration of the eastern wild turkey in our area. Preparation for the challenge I will encounter in the spring has drained my wallet. First, I bought a 3 Ĺ inch Remington Super Magnum. Later, I began purchasing calls, decoys, camouflage, and everything needed to become a turkey hunter. I was set. April finally roles around and the distinct pattern of the turkeys vanished. It didnít strike me as odd, for I read all the articles available on hunting wild turkeys. The evening before opening day of season I was outdoors to try to hear or locate a gobbler roosting. Unfortunately, I didnít roost one. So I went to plan B. The next day, I hiked to where I knew some birds would be. The mountain where they roost has a large grassy field where I assume they would munch on some grasshoppers as the day went on. I arrived at the field by flashlight and sat up a hen decoy and a jake. I was so excited and anxious to pull the trigger of my brand new gun on a nice longbeard. The weather was unbearable though. It was forty degrees with a strong wind that blew my blind about thirty yards with the first gush. I took it as long as possible and then packed up. I wasnít that discourage but the first day of season was horrible. I watched the local weather to find the next day to be highís in the high sixties. My eyes became baseballs. I spent the evening fighting the bitter cold to hear that elusive faint gobble before dusk. Still nothing. I was beginning to think my birds were gone. The next day I decided to try the mountain where they fly to after the sun comes out. I went to the main ridge top where I had constructed a foliage and sapling blind a couple weeks before. At dawn I let out a fly down cackle and patted my Wind Thing from Lohman on my leg to imitate wings flapping. I purred and scratched in the leaves a little then went hush. Every fifteen or twenty minutes I yelped and scratched some leaves. Around 9:00 a.m. a jake and two hens walked in front of me about ten yards away. I put the Tru-Glo sights on him a pulled the trigger. Pulled I did. I missed the jake and he and the hens went running back the way they came. I stood up and managed to get off two more rounds. I missed all three shots. I was so pumped though. I had missed the jake but I didnít care. The thrill of him coming in to my decoys and presenting himself in a half strut was so magical. My hunt was not over yet. I sat back down in my blind and began calling. Instantly, I heard a gobble. I pulled my gun up to my knee but had no shells in. I get in my pockets to find them empty. I didnít know what to do. Then, I laid my gun down and ran down the mountain to get my last shell out of the box. I ran back up the mountain and loaded the Ole Blacky. I gave a sorry yelp with my mouth call because I was out of breath. He gobbled though. I went to my aluminum call with a couple raspy clucks and yelps and he gobbled again, this time even closer. This was it. It was my time to shine. It was now 11:30 a.m. and the sun was beating down. I set back and waited for the tom to make his appearance known in the majestic Beech tree woods. I could hear him spitting and drumming just over the ridge. I then saw a white head peep over the ridge and shake with the sound of a gobble. There he was and he was the most magnificent bird I had ever seen. He locked on my decoys and came in full strut. My arm was getting soar from holding gun up but I sat like a stone. He came up to my jake decoy and put his face directly in front of the jakes beak. Here, the longbeard was looking away from me and was hiding his head with his large fan. I then slightly moved my safety to the fire position. The tom danced around the jake for what seemed like forever. He turned around and was looking at me again with his head a different color. Now it was red. I gave an alarm putt and he stuck that blood filled head out a mile. My adrenaline pushed my finger down on the trigger and the giant fell. The bird didnít make a single flap with his wings. I went to pick him up and couldnít because of the strenuous pain coming from a shoulder that took four shot of a 3 Ĺ shell shot. I managed to take him home though. The bird weighed 20 pounds, had ĺ inch spurs, and carried a 10 inch beard. This was truly a day that will have many to follow.

BIG TOM, <bigtom99>
Morehead, KY USA - Thursday, February 10, 2000 at 16:03:37 (PST)
As far as the story goes on the Old Man with the six beards this is how it happened. I went out scouting Sunday afternoon. It was the day before opening day of Spring Gobbler season. It was raining to beat the band and I knew the birds would be in the fields. Sure enough there was a big gobbler with 3 hens. I watched them for about an hour feeding and then he mated one of the hens. They were wet and all I could see on the gobbler was one long beard. After that they went in the woods. Well, I was set ....I knew where the were and where they would come out the next morning. Well, as you know nothing is for sure in turkey hunting, Next morning I am on the edge of the field waiting for the first gobble which was not long in coming. I set the decoys up on the edge of the field and made a call. Well, plan "A" went wrong from the start. He flew off the roost and went the opposite way.....Away from me. I knew he had hens with him so off I went after him. I stayed about a hundred yards behind him.....I would wait for him to gobble on his own then I would answer him. Then wait...He would gobble farther away...I would move up and call. This went on for 2 1/2 hrs. He would gobble and walk away I would answer and follow. Well, finally I got a break....There was a big beaver pond on his right and an old logging road off to his left about a hundred yards from the pond. The road went to the dam of the pond. It was a natural bottle neck. If he kept walking beside the pond He would cross the old logging road at the junction of the road and the dam....Well off I went. I went down the road and got IN FRONT of him......This time I was in the direction he wanted to go....or should I say the hen's were leading him. Well, I sat down at the edge of the road where I could watch the road and see the dam. I made a call (3 fast yelps) He thundered back a booming double gobble the first double gobble of the morning. He knew where I was and that's all he would hear from me. About 10 min. later I saw a hen at 20 yrds. then another one, then another one. Then 2 more crossed the opening. I had the gun brought to bear with the bead in the opening as they crossed. Finally the Old Man stepped in the opening. Standing straight as a soldier. All I could see was his wattles and that red, white and blue head...I rested the bead on his wattles and sent a 2 oz. Load of Federal Copper 6's on their way. My gun was custom sleeved by John Bengle of Richmond Va. So at that range I knew it would be a kill or a clean miss. Well, down he went. I ran to him and he was laying there with his wings out flat lying on his breast. I put my foot on his head to let him finish flopping himself to death. When he was finished I turned him over and that's when I saw all the beards. My God what a bird......Well tagging done....Off to the Taxidermist I go. It took 2 1/2 hrs of playing chase with the bird and I was 2 miles deep in the woods from the field I started at that morning. He was the best duel I have had so far and believe me, I have had a lot of previous cases. If you have not been to my home page to see the bird here is the link: www.http://hometown.aol.com/yelper55/index.html Well that's how it happened and I was glad to share it with you. I wish you many mornings of gobbles at dawn for they are a lot more fun than just watching the sun come up. Good Hunting, David W. Collins
David W. Collins,www.http://hometown.aol.com/yelper55/index.html <Yelper55@aol.com>
Petersburg, VA USA - Tuesday, January 18, 2000 at 18:09:44 (PST)
Attached is a photo of the Turkey that my wife Joan shot her first day turkey hunting. We had located some roosting birds early in the morning and they sounded like they were about 300 yards away. We moved quickly to a field that was about 100 yards from us towards the gobbles we heard. I set up a single hen in the field 25 yards from us. My wife sat in some bushes and I sat about 5 yards back and 8 yards to her left. I told her to make sure she had a good line of sight on the decoy and don't move. She sure follows orders because I couldn't see her from where I was sitting and I called for about 2-1/4 hrs. before her turkey came into the decoy. He never gobbled the entire time I was calling. He was with two other hens, but when he spotted the hen decoy he left them and made a beeline for the decoy. Joan never gave that bird a chance to fan out or strut. After her bird was down and she calmed down from excitement, she told me she was starting to stiffen up looking down that barrel for the whole time. She said she made up her mind if that turkey didn't show up in another 15 minutes she would have to move, because her butt was sore. How's that for dedication !!! Her turkey weighed in at 16-1/2 lbs., had a 9-3/4 inch beard and 3/4 inch spurs. She uses a Remington Mod. 1100 20ga./hastings Super full choke. Her Turkey was harvested the spring of 1998. Al Bruno - al45acp@aol.com Joan's First Turkey
Al Bruno, <al45acp@aol.com>
USA - Monday, November 22, 1999 at 16:04:43 (PST)
May 18th 1996:This was my first "real" turkey hunting season.My best friend Mark and I were out hunting early and no luck. Mark knows some people that have a very large farm out in the country,so we decided to go and check it out.We were driving past the farm and saw Greg (farmer) coming up the road on a tractor. We stopped and talked to Greg and asked him if he had saw any birds. He tells us,"there is one north of the farm that he sets his watch by everyday,he's as tall as his wifes car door,a 1' beard,he's got a path beaten down 2' wide." Did I mention that Greg was drinking a beer at 10:00a.m. So, Mark and I meander down the road laughing at this story. I said to Mark," I suppose he rides on the cows backs too." We stop where Greg told us to. We get out of the truck,laughing.We stroll on into the woods,looking for this 2'path.We were probably 50yrds off the road and Mark calls-nothing. He tells me to call, I did,And I'm motioning to Mark about the 1' beard.All of a sudden,"GOBBLE." This bird wasn't 35-40yrds right in front of us.We looked at each other,trying to do our best at getting our headnets on,load our guns,& shaking like 2 little kids. It wasn't 15 seconds later and I see a bird coming in full strut.This thing is thee tallest turkey I've ever seen,with a rope swinging down that is all of 12" long.He comes in 20 yrds away. I'm shaking my gun barrel off. I shoot,the bird flys straight up in the air,I shoot again,Mark finally sees him,he shoots. The bird runs to our left, I shoot again,Mark shoots,the bird comes RIGHT at me.He is not 10-12' away. I'm out of shells.Mark yells,"Tim shoot." I yell (whine) back,"I can't I'm out of shells."(more shells in vest,but I'm shaking to bad to try and load gun. By this time the bird is right in front of me.Mark shoots (alittle too close) All in all,6 shots of 835 mossberg power = NO BIRD! This was the end of our season. Next year,A scope for my gun,& buy Greg a sixpack and ask him where the birds are!
Timmer, <timmer@toolcity.net>
Linesville, Pa USA - Friday, November 12, 1999 at 14:37:16 (PST)

Another Turkey Tale

Well heres my story.
I been seeing and hearing a couple of birds almostevery morning. Itold my wife the first bird i seen was going to bedinner. Well that all changed when i saw the bird of my deepest dreamsabout turkey hunting. I had a jake in my sight when i seen him. He hadat least a 10 in beard but was huge 20 or better. He just wouldnt comein close enough for a shot. He was about 75 yards away strutting hisstuff at the edge of the field. Then i watch 2 hens go the other way andhe followed them away just gobbing away. So the nest morning i set upabout 30 yards where he had came out before. At about 5:55 I heard himgobble as he was coming off the roost I already had plans for him. How iwas going to have him mounted. I let out a couple of soft yelps and hewent off coming my way. I though this is going to be so easy. Then forsome reason his just stopped and started to circle me still gobbling. Idecided to give him the silent treament to see if he would come in to mydecoys but he keep circling me and then i heard nothing i tried a coupleof yelps and he wouldnr answer. Just then i heard a hen yelping and ithink he was with her. Today is my last day but right now its just athundering and lighting out so i dont think any turkey is worth gettingstruck by lighting if it clears I want to go out later and try. O well Ihad a good time this years seen a lot of small birds so they will bethere next year hopefully. Good luck and take care marty !!!

Marty Gayle and Becky <rebby@i-star.com>
USA - Thursday, October 21, 1999 at 13:26:56 (PDT)

Turkey Story

Well, it's not professionally written, but what the heck.
A week ago yesterday a friend and i were hunting in southcentraltennessee, just above the alabama line. it was windy as heck. we hadhunted in area with several hills and draws, that's what we in the southcall ravines only on a small scale. we had a whole flock of jakes hangaroud us all morning and since we had killed a jake each earlier in theweek, we decided to leave them alone and go to another area about 15miles to the west where we'd seen several longbeards during the winter.we made the right decision. the wind was about 10 - 15 mph with frequent gusts over 20. needless tosay we couldn't hear much even though we were on the leeward side of ahill. after an hour of patient waiting on an open hardwood flat, mybuddy and i eased down to a logging road that ran out into an isolatedfield surrounded on all sides by fairly steep hills. as we eased down the road toward the field in hopes of spying somebutterballs playing in the 10 acre plus field, we heard a distantgobble. your aware, gobbling in the wind can fool you, both indirection and distance. as we got closer to the field the wind wasdiminished by the steep hills and we could actually tell where thegobble(s) were coming from, the hillside directly across the field atthe widest part. we didn't know exactly what to do. at least the turkeys weren't in thefield. it was about 11:15 and I distinctly remember harold knight sayinghis favorite hunting time is lunch. so we decided to set out some decoysat the edge of the field and ease back into the woodlline about 15yards. the decoys could be seen from virtually every hillside and square footof the field. unfortunately, so could we as we set the decoys out. wejust settled down and resolved ourselves to hunt this way the remainderof the day. 5 minutes after setting out the decoys, i let out a few yelps from a boxcall and shook a gobble tube one time. within a minute i noticed aturkey standing at the edge of the field but he must have been 400 yardsaway. i put the glasses on him and could see the white and red head andlong beard of a mature tom turkey. i was excited. i told my buddy setting 10 yards away, "there he is". of course a treehad my friend's view obstructed. when i looked back in the field. icould see 2 turkeys. i looked back through the glasses and 2 longbeardswere straining to see the decoys. they could see them dudes from thatfar. oh yeah, we had set out 3 hen decoys and one jake with the jakepositioned almost on top of a feeding hen.i glassed the birds again and watched them running toward the decoys.they stopped only two or three times to check out the situation and iknow it took only about 3 or 4 minutes for them to cover that distance,but it seemed like forever. my buddy was blocked by that damn treealmost the entire time. he depended on me to provide play-by-play oftheir dash to the decoys. i couldn't believe they came all that way. i just knew they would hangup or get spooked. but the closer they got, the faster they ran. theywere after the jake decoy. we didn't give a chance. when they got in gunrange and my buddy gave me the all clear sign, that meant he could see,i counted softly one, two, three, and BANG!!!! a stereo shot. both birdsrolled backward. my buddy and i have done this double whammy thing before. but not likethis. them birds moved 400 yards that i saw. that don't count whatdistance they moved while on the hill. the hills are thickly wooded andopen up only at the field. beautiful country.two trophies, both weighed in at 20 pounds, 10 inch beards, and 1 inchspurs. they were after that jakes' ass. my buddy has killed 5 gobblers this year so far and i've taken 6. that was the the most memorable hunt i've ever experienced. i neverwould have guessed those turkeys would've come that far.it wasawesome!!!the very next day, i was involved in another double whammy. this otherbuddy was hunting with me in another spot and roosted a bird and set upon him. we were being almost totally quiet when two longbeards snuck inon us from the left. now initially, we as we set up on the roosted bird, i did a fly downcackle and we both beat the ground with our hats trying to emulate somehens pitching down. that gobbler blasted at us with a resounding doublegobble. we sat there for a minute and made some soft yelps and purred afew times and raked leaves with our hands and he thundered again.about that time we heard several real hens start cackling and flyingdown close to the roosted monarch. so we just shut up. that dude kept on gobbling. although we couldn't see him or the hens,they were only about 100 yards away. we sat quietly. all of a suddenjust below a rise to our left gobble, gobble, gobble. we were paralyzed.my buddy was sitting right next to me. he whispered, "there he is". "nowait, there's two of them and they're coming this way". i slowly turnedmy head and saw two white heads bobbing toward us. ssuddenly a hen flewdown from a tree right at the gobblers. they stopped. another hen flewdown and then another. i couldn't believe it. the toms were headed rightfor us and them damn hens stuck it to us. they were all about 75 yardsaway. desperately, i made the sound of an excited hen, cutting and yelping,and shut up. we also had set out the those decoys again. the gobblerslooked up and slowly eased up the rise until they apparently caught aglimpse of the decoys. at first they both puffed up and drummed loudly,then all at once took off running at the decoys. the hens followed the gobblers yelping like crazy. i don't know if theywere yelling at the gobblers or the decoys or us. we were set up betweenthe decoys and the gobblers and they literally ran toward the decoyswith hens in tow. i can't believe the hens didn't slow them down. just like the daybefore, when they got into range and my buddy gave the all clear signal,it was 1, 2, 3, boom. another stereo double kill. awesome again.2 longbeards, although they weren't quite as heavy. they were trulytrophies.also, about 3 days before i accidently killed 2 birds with one shot. ihate that. one of them was a whopper. he weighed in at 23 pounds and 9ounces. he sported 1 1/8 spurs that curved up sharply and had a solidpaint brush of a beard that measured 9 1/2 inches. the other bird wasn'ta slouch. he weighed 19 1/2 pounds. what a year. and i aint done. i got one more legal bird in me.

Mark Edwards <MEDWARDS@cst-hsv.com>
USA - Thursday, October 21, 1999 at 13:20:09 (PDT)
The Frederick Four

Click here to see pictures of them.
When my Brother-In-Law hurriedly pulled up the drive, ran to the door and shouted "Come on, get in the truck...TURKEYS!!!"...Well let's just say I didn't hesitate.When we drove the mile or so back to the spot where he had seen 4 Jakes, they were still in the area, feeding on bugs and whatnot in the tall brush along the side of the road.We pulled out the binoculars to see if there was any sign of beards, but these birds were all Spring Jakes, not a bud on them and no Mother Hen in sight.We watched as they ate, unconcerned about us just 20 yds. away, until a bicyclist came whizzing by and nearly ran one of them over. He was not even aware that he was about to run one down until he was right on top of him.The Bicyclist came over to talk with us and the Turkeys just kept feeding. After he left, we decided to go back to the house, get the camera, my sister, and their two little girls (Future Turkey Hunters), and return to take some pictures.You guessed it, they were still there. Well I got out with the camera and was headed around the edge of the field to get in the clearing while Sean went up a Deer trail to kinda push the Turkeys out of the edge of the woods and intothe open so I could get some clear shots.It worked perfectly and the kids got a great view of the birds for some time. We were amazed at how these birds were so unconcerned with us, even when I shouted to Sean to come through the woods, the birds just 40 yds. away and me in plain view, just sat there feeding.I think maybe that momma might have fallen to a fox or maybe a car or something. These birds may not have had enough time with her to know what was a threat and what was not.I started calling to the birds (with my mouth) and slowly easing my way towards them. They responded to my calls with great interest, and actually started heading my way. Again...I am in PLAIN sight of them.When they reached within 15 yds. of me, they stopped walking and continued to feed. Then I started closing the gap.I was able to get within 10 FEET of these birds by calling to them with clucks, soft yelps and purrs before they started finally showing a bit of nervousness and turned around and slowly headed back up the slight slope in the field.I followed them continuing to call and take pictures but the more pressure I put on them the more distance the put between us.This was all still only about 15-20 feet away.Finally I decided to educate these young fellows and teach them to run from man. I set out running right at them and let me tell you, I am a pretty big guy (275 lbs.) and once I get going, it's going to take a linebacker to stop me, and there ain't no such thing as a "turn".But I did my best to scare them away and it was all I could do to get them to run. They refused to fly, slowly ran into the brush, and tried to hide.I chased after them and actually could have caught one around the body, and another one I had a good shot at grabbing his leg. I did not attempt either of these moves, as it was not my intent to catch the birds. I only wanted to scare them away so they would be afraid of man, and have a chanceto at least make it through thier first Fall season.Once they got deep enough under cover, I went back to the truck and we took the next right curve in the road and guess who was standing in the middle of the road..."The Frederick Four".I got out and chased them again, but was only able to seperate one of them from the group, the others didn't want to leave, and this one wanted to get back to them, so I let him, then just kinda pushed them a little farther down the road and tried to keep them off the road.I have busted flocks before but NEVER had anything like this happen.I will never forget what Randy Travis said about Turkeys being the dumbest animal on the face of the earth. Even though I think he meant domestics, I am not too sure he isn't on to something with wild birds as well.Once we get the pictures developed, I will pick out a few of the better ones and post them on this Website, probably not in the photo album but their will be an obvious link from the menu on the left scrollbar of the main page.
Sean E-Mailed me this morning with this:
"Remember the four birds we saw behind the house? there baaack!!!! thats
right they were in my front yard. then they went across the street and
behind the houses. I ran and got the camera went out and found them down
in the court.I also grabd my box call. I got some good pic's and I
called to them and got them all cranked up.They started cutt'n, 
and even started walking towards me, then got anxious when
other neighbors started coming out to see and take pics."

Warren,http://www.fullstrut.com <warren@fullstrut.com>
Baltimore, MD USA - Tuesday, September 07, 1999 at 14:16:46 (PDT)

Thunder at Dawn

The weather was shaping up the same as it had every time we tried to hunt. We had gotten to the point where if we didnít get wet something was wrong. Sam and I have been pals since college, some eighteen years or so. About five years ago, we began deer hunting together on my familyís farm in Nelson County, Kentucky. We donít always put meat in the freezer, but no one enjoys getting out in the woods more than we do. The past few years Kentuckyís turkey population has really grown. So after hearing some turkey hunting stories from a another friend, Sam and I decided to give it a try. This morning we were headed to my uncles farm, it was the only place that we knew had turkeys on it. Last year, our first attempt at turkey hunting, we had seen a nice gobbler, only to watch another hunter scare him out of the county. But it was enough to get us hooked. And now at 5:30 on Friday morning we were headed back to the same spot. We were getting our gear out of the jeep and listening to the thunder roll from a storm passing by a mile or two away when Sam paused and excitedly asked me if I had heard that. I had not so he explained that he thought he had heard a gobbler. We stood listening to another volley of thunder, straining to hear thunder of another type. We were not disappointed. About four seconds after the thunder from the storm died out we heard a gobble. And sound was coming right from where we had planned to hunt. This was a first for us. The sum total of our turkey hunting experience would fit in a spent shotgun shell. As we hurried to get our gear together and lock the jeep, our minds were reeling trying to decide what to do next. We were excited, so naturally nothing was going right. We dropped shells and hats and couldnít get the gate fastened back, but finally we headed across the field to the woods. Walking across the large open field, each time the thunder would roll, we would pause and listen for our gobbler. And he sounded off every time! As we got closer we tried to fix the gobblerís position in the woods. He was at the end of the field, where it narrowed and was lined by woods on three sides. We decided to move to the edge of the woods and ease down the wood line until we were eighty yards are so from the gobbler, then set up a couple of decoys in at the edge of the field while we concealed our selves in the brush just inside the woods. As we made our plans, Sam asked me to do him a favor, I said sure, and he asked me to take the shot if we got the gobbler to come in. I wanted to know why, but he wouldnít give me a reason. I agreed, but it was understood that he would not pass up a shot if I was out of position. We moved in. We found a location with a couple of good spots to sit and we placed our decoys out. We cleared brush and sticks from our spots and tried to settle in. We did all this in the dark because we didnít want to tip off our gobbler, the only light was from the occasional flicker of distant lighting. Finally, we settled in and listened to two kinds of thunder, one from the storm, and one from a hot gobbler. There was still 30 minutes or so before it got light, maybe longer since it was overcast so we waited it out. Sitting there, waiting for dawn, we were both mentally going over everything we knew about turkey hunting. As I mentioned earlier, experience wasnít our long suit, but both of us had been watching videos, reading articles, talking to other hunters and practicing or calls. Now we would really find out what Turkey Hunting is all about. Something else was going through our minds as the darkness receded and our turkey continued his thunder. Were there other hunters on their way to this patch of woods? Last year in this same area we had seen four other hunters. We had intentionally arrived an hour before day break hoping other hunters would see the jeep and know we were there, but memories of the previous season were still on our minds. All we could do was wait. And listen to the thunder. As the morning began to lighten up, and the storm moved out of our area, we realized that our judge of distance was something else we needed to work on. We had originally thought we were within fifty to eighty yards of our gobbler. Now we realized we were more like a hundred and twenty yards from his roosting spot. We had been fooled, because in the darkness, an hour before dawn, the passing storm and our gobbler were the only sounds. The old tom had really sounded loud. The position we choose had us facing east. We had considered moving because the sun would be in our eyes, but decided that it was too over cast for the sun to be a problem. It turned out to our advantage because as dawn arrived Sam spotted our gobbler. He was in a tree at the very end of the field. As the sky brightened I also spotted the gobbler, and I checked him out with my 10x binoculars. He looked huge! Silhouetted against the sky with his tail hanging below the limb he was on, he looked four feet tall. When there was enough light to see him if he did come in, I began calling with some soft tree yelps. I was immediately answered with a thunderous gobble. A little more calling and he came out of the tree. Sam saw him fly down but he landed over a slight rise from us out of our view. He continued answering our calls with single and sometimes double gobbles, but he didnít sound like he was getting any closer. This went on for fifteen or twenty minutes when another element was introduced into the game. A hen walked out of the woods directly across from our position. We had actually heard her soft clucks before she appeared. She eyed our decoys and clucked a few times, then headed toward the gobbler and his persistent gobbling. We thought this was bad news for us. We had always heard it was hard to get a gobbler away from a real hen, but we didnít give up. I was using a glass friction call. Now Sam joined me with his slate call and we tried to convince this tom that it would be worth his while to come and check us out. But he still wasnít interested. He continued to gobble off and on, but kept his distance. From the sound of his gobbles we could tell he was on the move, never getting closer, just moving around the end of the field out of our sight. The hen had been with the gobbler for about fifteen or twenty minutes. I was getting worried they were moving away from us. But the gobbler was still answering our calls so we still had a chance. Sam had begun using a mouth call that I thought sounded better than anything we tried so far so I put my call down and jokingly whispered to Sam to go ahead and call him in. I adjusted my position a little. We had now been sitting for an hour and a half. I rested my gun on my knees and listened to Sam as he stepped up his calling and put some real excitement into his yelps and cackles. I realized Sam had really mastered his diaphragm call. His excited cackle was all it took. Within a minute or two of Samís excited calling, a moving snow ball appeared at the crest of the rise in the direction of the last gobble weíd heard. Sam saw him first and I heard his excited whisper, "There he is, get ready". A second later I also spotted the turkey that we had been listening to for the past two hours and forty-five minutes. And he was coming in. As he topped the rise he spotted our decoys and headed in our direction. My gun was already up and I smoothly swung the barrel to the right to track the big bird as he came in. In the building excitement that feeling came over me. Only other hunters will understand. There are a hundred things going through your mind at once - donít move - this is it - wait for a good shot - donít move - make sure itís safe to shot - donít move - judge the distance right - donít miss! All the while your heart is hammering in your chest and the adrenaline is pumping. Even with all this going on there is an outward calm, and a hush has come over the woods, where only a moment ago you couldnít hear your self think over the crows, woodpeckers and other early morning woods sounds. The sounds are still there, but your concentration is so focused that you donít hear them. Staring down the barrel of my shot gun I watch this incredible creature approach. Our preparation and planning has paid off. Our morning hunt is playing out in a hunterís dream. The old tom slows down about forty five yards out and goes into a little strut. But he never stops moving in our direction. Now, he is only fifteen or twenty yards from our decoys. He slows again. And again he goes into a strut. My sites are glued on the gobblerís snow white head, but at the same time, I am trying to take in everything about the big tom. I caught a glimpse of a nice beard hanging from his chest. And when went into his strut, the beautiful fan of his tail and the array of color in his feathers. I also noticed that the hen had come in with the tom. I made a mental note to make sure my shot wonít endanger her. When he came out of his strut and moved to cover the last few yards toward the decoys I squeezed off a shot.He weighed 21pounds, had a ten and a quarter inch beard, one spur was an inch long the other an inch and a quarter. I know these are not world record numbers but they are good for our area. And quite a trophy for our first gobbler. Minutes after I had taken the shot, another hunter had walked up to see out bird. He had been a few hundred yards away and had listened to our gobbler all morning. Later that day I talked to my uncle. I wanted to thank him for allowing us to hunt. He told me that he and a neighbor were in that area the day before and a turkey was gobbling so much that they almost couldnít carry on a conversation. I am sure it was the same gobbler. The hunt was a great thrill. The action started as soon as we got out of the jeep. The old Tom had gobbled almost constantly for two and three quarters of an hour. Sam and I finally have a hunting story that doesnít end with "he got away". And from now on, the sound of thunder will always remind me of an old Tom. By the way, we went back the next morning hoping to find another one for Sam. It rained!

Ralph Chowning, <ralphchow@aol.com>
KY USA - Sunday, July 25, 1999 at 15:04:59 (PDT)

Just had to share my hunt story from last Saturday.

On the last weekend of Spring Gobbler season in Florida. Took my 8 year old daughter Morgan and best hunting buddy Rick up to a spot around Newberry, Florida, on Friday afternoon to scout and set up our tent for a campout. Found a lot of tracks near an area we had successfully hunted on opening day and found a tree that provided perfect cover from all sides. Spent the evening listening to my daughter's somewhat whimsical ghost stories around the camp fire and got a good night's rest. Next morning we snack on some bagels and head out to our tree. On the way, I stop to blow the owl call, but never get a response. We proceed to our tree and set out our decoy. As day breaks and the woods come alive, still no turkeys to be heard. I begin to work the diaphram call with a few soft yelps and cross my fingers. I yelp every 3-5 minutes but still no response. After 45 minutes, my daughter starts to get restless and I decide to change calls to a diaphram with a higher pitch. Just as I get the call in my mouth, my buddy taps my knee. A large gobbler can now be seen to my right headed towards us down the edge of the field. My heart starts to race and I tell Morgan to be still a little longer. At 45 yards, the gobbler stops and begins to strut back and forth but won't come on in. I wait a couple of minutes and then give him a couple of clucks and a short yelp . . . Here he comes at a sprint! He stops at about 18 yards from us and turns directly towards the decoy which he now can see and presents a beautiful side shot. I tell Rick to take him, and the big Tom dies of lead poisoning. Time: 6:45 a.m. The turkey never made a sound, but was clearly hot and ready. There is a lesson here for those who live and die by what they can hear. Sometimes, silence is golden. Final measurements: 21.5 lbs., 11" beard, 1 1/4 " spurs. This was Rick's first season hunting turkeys, and I managed to call him in one on opening day (16 lbs.) and this trophy on the last day. Do you think he's hooked? The turkey is now at the taxidermist and destined for a mount in full strut. Can't wait to see it! My daughter now wonders if it is always this easy.
Cliff "Doublegun" Shepard

Clifford B. Shepard, III,<cliff@sfg-law.com>
FL USA - Sunday, July 25, 1999 at 13:47:10 (PDT)

What a great day of hunting!

This was my first BIG Gobbler, I've taken smaller "Jakes" before but this was an 18 pounder (field dressed) with a 9 in. beard.

I was hunting near Deep Creek Lake MD. off RT. 495 and wasn't having much luck at first but then at about 9:30 am, I heard this one answer my call. After about 40 min. of intense calling, he decided he DID want me after all. I continued to call him very aggressively, when I noticed he was headed my way, I took cover and called again, Then he let out a thunderous gobble.

He was very close now so I decided not to call anymore, but instead got ready to hit him in the head with a Remington 4x6. It was the last 4x6 load I had on me, the rest of my shells were straight # 4 shot. I watched the woods in front of me very carefully for any sign of the bird, when suddenly I spotted movement down the hill...a white patch of color moving sideways and up the hill towards me.

I waited to see if it was for real...it was VERY real and coming right to me, or should I say at me? Then I saw his beard and realized I was about to take a trophy class gobbler. Or at least in my book he was. One more step and I'm gonna... "why you little..." BANG, Turkey Dinner!!!

April 22, 1995

I was Hunting near Deep Creek Lake, in Garrett County Maryland. It was Saturday and I had already taken a Gobbler on the 18th, (Opening Day) and had never taken more than one bird in any one season, but since my Vacation had really just begun, I decided to give it a shot(no pun intended).
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday all had promise, but I just couldn't seem to get things to work out. I had heard quite a few birds, but had only laid eyes on a few here and there, with no luck in persuading them to come into range.
Then on Saturday, I was in a field about a mile into the woods, on some private land, down some very big hills and crop fields, through some woods and into an old crop field at the end of an old tractor path, "calling my butt off" for several hours to at least 2 or 3 different birds, (one or more below me, and one just at the top edge of my field).
It was just becoming light enough to see, when the fog rolled in and made me feel like I was in a small room all alone. Every time the Gobbler above me answered my call, it literally scared the hell out of me. It sounded as if he was right next to me. I figured if I couldn't see him, then he probably couldn't see me either.
I must have been wrong because he suddenly stopped calling and I don't think he had any company. As I continued to try and entice him back, the others (Downhill from me) responded but would not cross the small river that seperated them from me.
Finally at about 9:50 am, I heard a gobble (or two) from directly in front of me , across the field and about 50 yards into the woods. I kept working them for about a half hour and each time they answered me it seemed as though I heard one more bird than the previous time.
I was getting very excited now and couldn't wait much longer...when are they gonna show up? I had my Flambeau Hen decoy set up about 15 yards in front of me and the birds where directly in-line with it. I was camoflauged in all RealTree camo, head to foot, leaning back on an Oak tree about three times the size of me, with a strip of Orange tape tied around the tree trunk about a foot above my head.
(Maryland law does not require you to wear Hunter Orange for hunting Spring Turkeys, but it is a good idea that if you choose not to, than at least carry some surveyors tape and put it were you can be seen by other hunters.
Studies have shown that Turkeys do not seem to take notice to this tape as it is seen in the woods on survey stakes quite frequently.
Also you may consider carrying an Orange hat in your gear, to wear in and out of the woods or whenever you are moving.)
Soon I saw the head of one of the birds moving in the woods about 15 yards deep. Then another, and another, and another, and YES another.
5 Jakes appeared right in front of me on the other side of the field, each stepping very carefully out into the opening. One by one they started in the direction of the hen they heard (Me).
But something was about to go wrong...one of the birds decided to head downhill, and soon a second followed him. I gave a soft yelp on my glass caller and soon they headed back towards the others, who were now only about 30 yards off.
When they reached about 20 yards, I chose one and waited for him to pronounce his intentions for the young lady, and took my shot.
After waiting for the other birds to scramble, I went to collect my fare, knelt, and thanked God for giving me the opportunity to experience the thrill of this wonderful sport and enjoy the benefits allowed us, by the work being done by ALL the organizations involved in Wildlife Management Programs, and all the funds being raised by People simply participating in the hunting sports, which goes to protecting habitat and protecting Non-Game Species as well as Game Species.
Happy Hunting...or whatever Outdoors Recreation you choose to do.

Scouting Trip

Saturday, March 23 10:00am

I wasn't feeling well on friday or friday night, so my trip to Deep Creek Lake was postponed until Sat. My brother-in-law (Sean)drove the nearly 3 hour trip to our friends home in the woods off of Interstate 68, near Route 495. At almost 1:00 in the afternoon, it wasn't exactly the time I wanted to get started. After Stopping to say our hellos we went to park the truck and nearly got stuck in the 6 inches of snow that fell Friday night. This wasn't going all that great so far, but at least I didn't have to spend the night in the truck in freezing temperatures. Anyway we got the truck parked and headed to some of the usual spots we liked and started our ritual scouting, after an hour or so, we hadn't seen a single track,or heard a single bird, or seen a feather or poop or any damned thing! Where are they? We headed past the spot where I shot last spring's Opening Day Gobbler and proceeded to where I shot a "Jake" the following Saturday. About the only thing here is a rabid raccoon. We decided it was time for a rest, and to "re-think" our plans. To our right was a big fallen log which we decided to use as a break from the strong winds blowing across the field in our faces. Then I showed Sean the nice view overlooking the woods from the stone wall in front of us, and mentioned it was a nice way to see Turkeys coming up the hill from below, and maybe we should climb the wall and use it to break the wind. At the same time we could see much better if something were to come nearby. I took out my glass call to give a short series of Yelps and see if anything would respond, after calling a few times and hearing nothing in return, I put it back in my pocket and waited, watched and listened. NOTHING. After looking around a bit I noticed Sean trying to get my attention, (without having feathers on you, this is a tough thing to do) he is about 15 feet away and is indicating he sees 2 birds, so I raise myself up to see over the crest on his side of the hill, and sure enough, here come a couple of big fat Longbeards. We watched as they looked for the hen they *knew* was in the area, then noticed there were actually four birds, another Longbeard and a Jake. Two of the birds moved on up the hill above us, while the other two stayed and tried to find the hen. Neither of us was completely hidden, infact I wasn't even in camo pants. I had an old faded pair of blue-jeans on. But we were never seen by them, and they came to within about 20 yards. They finally went to join the others up the hill. This gave us an opportunity to check out their trail and where they came from, as well as see where they went. While walking up the hill far behind the birds we checked for other signs as we went, but these seem to be the only birds in the area. After about a 1/2 an hour, I looked ahead and saw one of the birds scratching in the snow for food. We took cover and watched with our 10x50 Jason binoculars,(best $40 bucks I ever spent)then noticed many more birds were there. Counting one at a time, the total came to 8. We watched them under the same tree for almost 2 hours before our feet nearly froze, but it was fun and we were able to sneak within 40 yards. We headed back to the truck and decided not to stay the night,(Too damn cold) but rather go visit my sister in Hagerstown and sleep in a warm bed, get up at 4:30am and drive to another location about 25 minutes away in Washington County. This worked out well, as we got to visit my sister who I hadn't seen since Christmas and we were closer to home when all was said and done. Also there was no snow on the ground on this side of the mountains. We arrived just as the sky turned a little pink in one corner, and rushed to get a few things together, and headed down across the fields to the edge of the woods. Once there we got situated between two fields in a slim break of trees and I gave a few calls. Several Gobblers answered me but they sounded as though they were together and a thousand miles away. After 45 minutes or so, we moved on to the deeper woods and then some more open fields where I shot a nice 1 year old, two Springs ago at about 11:50am. (10 min. before the end of the hunting day) I almost didn't even go out that morning, but Sean had talked me into it. Then he got jealous because I got one.(He didn't) Well there wasn't much here to look at so we headed back to the cabin on top the big hill and sat around talking about this and that, and I made a few more calls and the Gobblers were still there,(a thousand miles away) when nature called, so I put the call on the tailgate of the truck and answered the other call. As I was preparing to leave the outhouse I thought I heard a loud gobble but wasn't sure, (with all the noise inside those Jiffy Johns, it's hard to hear anything on the outside) it could have been a rooster on the farm not far away. I had a little trouble with the latch and made a lot of noise getting the door closed on the John and when I came up the hill there was Sean again telling me to be quiet because he sees birds. He had gone to the truck and picked up my glass call when he heard the gobbles and started calling them. I never even heard him calling, so the Gobbler I heard must have been close. Sean handed me the call and I gave a few calls and got cut off by 2 birds. I put the call down and we waited to see them. Here they come running at warp speed right to us. We screwed up! BIG TIME. All we could do now was hope they don't find us and spook away. It was not our intention to educate these birds. After a few minutes we saw a jake walk within 15-20 yards and headed for the road, but the two big Gobblers we saw were not following suit, we lost track of them behind a woodpile and down over the hill. It was mutually assumed (that oughta tell you something went wrong, right there!)the birds followed the jake on a lower route to the road. I gave a few minutes to let them get some distance between us and then gave a few more calls to hear them gobble again and maybe they would come back and spend a few more minutes in the area so we could watch them some more. After a few calls we heard some leaves rustling and I put the call down on the picnic table, I was just about to get up and stand on the table to get a better look down through the woods, when Sean stretched his neck to look over and around the woodpile. He came eye-to-eye with one of the Gobblers and the other was just beside the first, right behind the woodpile 15 feet away. I don't know for sure who scared who the most but at least Sean didn't go running in the other direction as fast as he could go. Oh well, you DO learn from your mistakes that's for sure. I will be much more conservative with regard to calling when I scout these usually elusive buggers. I bet when the season starts, I'll have to wait 'til I see 400 deer before I see one Turkey. At least it WILL be worth the wait. I Hope everyones scouting goes a little better then mine and Good Luck on Opening Day!

Northwest Illinois 1996 Spring Turkey Hunt
"Dueling Banjos,-- I Mean Turkeys"
By: Mike Janik
April 14, 1996 found my hunting partner Ken Kloepfer and myself standing on the front porch of the old farm house waiting for the sun to set and the call of roosting Gobblers. We both stood there in utter silence. It was cool, no make that cold, the rain came and went and I thought to my self I must be crazy to go hunting in this weather. The forecast for opening day in north west Illinois was cold with a chance of snow and snow flurries. We had requested the second period on our applications for the spring season, but the DNR computer picked the first period for us. Oh well, this still beats working any way you look at it. From the eastern wood lot of the old farm came the Gobble we strained to listen for, then another Gobble from the Pig Farmers wood lot, and another toward the west. I told Ken that at least we knew that the Turkeys were within range of the house and they hadn't left JoDaviess County. We had heard enough to plan our strategy for the morning. The plan was to try for the gobbler that was definitely on the eastern wood lot of the property. The hard woods in there offered excellent roost sites. I could almost picture the exact tree that they were going to spend the night in. Monday morning we awoke to a snow-covered landscape. The weather man was correct for a change! At least the snow cover made the trek to the wood lot allot easier, we could see where we were going even at 5:15 A.M. We made our set up with the decoy in front and between the two of us, and settled back against the big Walnut trees. The appropriate time for sun rise came and the woods were quiet. No Gobbles!!?? I'd call softly and wait with anticipation for a Tom to answer, nothing! After a good 45 minutes I spotted movement off to my left, The heart rate shot up, and I waited. The next thing I hear is a cluck, not more than 50 yards to my left, I could make out the head of a Turkey. Unfortunately it was a hen, I guess she was looking for company. She hung around for a few minutes, and walked to the edge of the tree line and flew across the corn field to the western wood lot. We waited for a while, thinking that there might be a Tom following her. Nothing! We moved to our second location and repeated the process, nothing. The third location produced the same results. Out of desperation ( to get out of the snow and wind) we moved to the western wood lot and set up in the cedars at the edged of the apple orchard. I called again, and again without so much as a peep from a Tom. I looked at my watch and it read 11:49, (Hunting stops at Noon) I was cold and my butt was wet form the snow so I stood and walked over to Ken, clearing my 11-87 as I walked. I said "I wonder where all the Turkeys went that we heard last night." He simply pointed over my right shoulder and said "there's one of them now!" I turned around to see a nice Tom come strolling thru the orchard toward the decoy. I asked Ken if he had clean shot, as we stood there frozen in our tracks, He answered " yes,-if my gun was loaded!" The Tom didn't make a sound coming in, he looked at the decoy and continued through the orchard. All we could do was wave bye to him. Tuesday was another bust, although we located roosting birds the night before, they were unresponsive in the morning and again made no calls. The only action we saw was when a large Hawk swooped in and made a pass at the decoy. We figured the Turkeys were not in an amorous mood due to the weather and the earliness of the season and could care less about some nutty hen impersonator with a plastic decoy. Tuesday evening, after a Venison Swiss Steak dinner, found Ken and I sitting on the front porch sipping hot coffee, again listening for the telltale Gobble that would tell us where to set up in the morning. The weather was improving and the forecast for Wednesday was sunny with a high near 52 degrees. We savored the peace and quiet of the old farm. Spring was coming, the trees were starting to bud, a great blue heron glided over the river, we watched a calf being born not more than 20 yards from the porch. An Owl hooted from the woods behind the house, and we both nodded off for a short nap. Wednesday we were set up on the down hill side of what we affectionately called the Burma Road (the tractor ruts from the upper alfalfa field). We settled back to await the sun rise. The woods were starting to wake up to the new day. A female Cardinal fluttered about the bush to my right and alit on my hat for a second. A racoon crossed the drainage gully and passed within 5 feet of my completely camouflaged form, and didn't take notice of me. That gave me a sense of confidence that I blended well with the surroundings. Ken was about thirty yards to my left and it appeared that he was catching another nap, as his head was bowed and he looked to be totally relaxed. I started my calling at 6AM and was soon answered by at least two, possibly three Toms from their roost about 100 yards up the hill. A hen yelped from close proximity to the gobblers. I immediately thought that another hunter had some how gotten around us and also set up on the roost. The Toms immediately answered that call. I distinctly heard three different gobbles. I turned toward Ken, who was sitting straight up now, and held up three fingers. Ken shook his head and extended four fingers. I called again and the hen/hunter jumped in the middle of my calling sequence, and the Toms would gobble their heads off. For a while there it was a case of "Dueling Banjos," only with Turkey calls. It dawned on me, that I might be competing with an old Boss Hen vying for the attention of the Toms. I'd yelp, and she would yelp louder. I'd imitate her calls and she would imitate mine. We kept this up for at least fifteen minutes. To complicate matters, a single Tom answered us from the ridge to our backs. The woods were now filled with hen yelps and gobbles from both in front and behind our set up. The Tom behind me was a lot closer and he was on the ground moving toward us, so I inched my self around and caught a glimpse of him through the brush. He stopped in the thick brush just short of the road, and let out a commanding gobble. He was no more than twenty yards away, but I couldn't get a complete look at him. The old Boss Hen gave out a fly down cackle and passed me with a swoosh, two other hens followed her lead and went to the Tom. He never did completely show himself to present a clean shot. I would only catch a glimpse of feathers as he took his harem toward the alfalfa field. We still had the four Toms roosted in front of us to work some more. After a brief pause, to catch my breath and let my heart rate settle back down, I started to call again, and was disrupted by four more hens that came in behind us. Evidently, they came down the hill with the first Tom. They almost walked over Ken, and I wished that I had my Video Camera to record this action for posterity. My partner, who doesn't call and refuses to learn, always complains that I call too much, but these four birds never shut up for a second. One would be clucking, another would be purring, the third would be softly yelping, then they would alternate who was saying what. Granted, their calls were not very loud, but they were constant. So the five of us sweet talked to the Gobblers roosted up the hill. The four Toms finally came down from their roost. They alit about fifty yards to Kens left, a bit out of his Shotgun's range. No amount of pleading on my part would turn them our way. They gobbled a couple of times and the four ladies behind us marched off to join them. The birds were headed in the direction of the corn stubble to the west of our location. We sat still for a good ten minutes , remembering our embarrassment from Monday, then pulled up the decoy and quickly headed north and west around and over the ridge to try and cut them off before they left the property. I wish I could say that the next set up was a fantastic job of calling and logistics, but unfortunately it was not. We just got to the edge of the stubble seconds before the flock of Turkeys were about to pass. I put the cross hairs of my scope mounted 11-87 on the base of the biggest gobblers' neck and presented him with a full compliment of No. 6 Turkey Loads thru the extra full Turkey tube. He weighted in at the Elizabeth Check Station at a respectable 23 pounds, 8 ounces, sported a 10- inch beard, and 1 1/4 inch spurs, a personal best for me. I always feel that I learn a lesson or two from each hunt whether successful or not. The lessons learned from this trip: Use the diaphragm call sparingly, and softly purr and yelp on the slate/glass more frequently. In the early Spring the Toms don't answer all the time. Sit tight, be patient, and don't leave the area until its time to leave. Request permits for the second period for next year.