Saturday, April 3, 2010

My first turkey encounter

I started trying to kill a turkey about 10 years ago. Piddling around with diaphram calls and going out in the Osceola Forest in hopes of hearing a thunder chicken sound off. But it never happened. Four or five tries and no luck. Then I moved further south and lost interest, began to fish and gave up the pursuit. Now I live in Southwest Georgia and the fishing isn't that great and the hunting bug has infected me again. So a friend of mine 3 years ago took me with him to his place and I started my pursuit again. We ventured out 1 time not hearing the first bird. Last year my neighbor let me hunt his place, he has birds on the place next to him, but I couldn't get them to cross the fence. That would be the extent of my experience. Go out call and hear nothing or hear one half a mile away and that was it.
We have had plenty of deer on our 92 acres but no birds. Neighbors to the east and west have them but not us. Until the call came in last night that I had been waiting for. Another neighbor was riding home and saw birds in a field on our place. It was late and he figured they would roost near there, he was right.
This morning at 5:15 I woke up and headed out. Arrived, setup, and waited for first light. I hooted a couple of times, no answer. Waited a little while and yelped on my Straight Creek Calls slate, nothing. Then it happened, about 10 minutes passed and an owl hooted and he sounded off. My heart started to pound and I hit my call and he cut me off, GOBBLE. I put the call down and switched to my diaphram. He was on roost and about 120 yards away (really I have no clue how far he was but 120 sounds good). I waited until the sun broke and did a fly down cackle and waited. He gobbled back and I knew then it was on. About 5 minutes passed and I yelped, he cut me off again, he was hot to trot. He hit the ground and gobbled again this time much deeper and bigger sounding then before. I actually thought it was a different bird. I yelped a couple more times and he gobbled back and I shut up.
Then it happened I saw movement across the field, coming out of the woods on the road I thought he would come out on, it was a hen. I yelped once more and he thundered back at me and I knew he was right behind her. She popped her head up, saw my decoys and headed straight for them. He came out, puffed up a couple times and went right back down. A good friend told me you can tell if it is an older bird cause they won't stay in full strut too long, so I really got excited, he was about 80 yards and I could just see he had a full fan, but not his beard. He saw the hen heading to the decoys and followed, blowing up and coming down about every 5 step. My heart started racing as I sat there waiting for him to close the distance. I let out a few clucks and the hen came running in, but, he stopped. "Crap, he thinks something is up." is what I started thinking. He started feeding and slowly coming my way. He got to about 50 yards and hung up. He wouldn't come any closer, he was a big bird and by this time I couldn't see his spurs but could see his beard hanging from his chest. It was pretty thick and about 10-11 inches long. By this time the hen had made her way to my decoys so I clucked a couple more times and he popped up his head. I wanted to pull the trigger, but really wanted to have him in about 10 more yards. So I waited, boy was that a mistake, he turned and slowly made his way back into the woods. I yelped, he gobbled and kept walking.
The hen stayed with my decoys for 30 minutes as he walked deeper and deeper in the woods, gobbling about every 5 minutes. Occasionally I would yelp back and he would cut me off with a gobble but just wouldn't turn and come back. I finally slid out undetected by the hen and will return tomorrow for another chance to kill my first bird.
This was my first time getting to see any birds while turkey hunting and to hear him blow up was something I'll never forget. And to top it off to have a hen at 15 yards and watch her, it was truly a fantastic encouter. Hopefully next time I write I'll have some hooks in my hand. Until then, happy and safe hunting.


Albert A Rasch said...


What are you waiting on to fill us in on what is going on down in Georgia!

Best regards,
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles: PeTA Gets Its Just Dessert, One Child at a Time