I've hunted every day but one since opening day of A-week - I've been on private land, public land, zone 15, zone 21. I can't count how many hens I've called into perfect shooting range, and I've been outwitted, outsmarted, and outplayed by numerous Toms... but this morning was finally a day it all came together and boy was it a day to remember!
Hunting a friends place, get in at 4:30, pick a spot where I heard a couple Toms yesterday. I lay out a jake decoy and hen decoy this time - I put them about 8 feet apart and 20 yards away from where I plan to sit. (some folks suggested that I do this - thanks! it definitely helped)
5:15 I hear the gobbles, but pretty far away. 5:30 I let out a soft yelp. And - what else is new? - I called in another hen. I can't believe it. I swear I won't sniff a hen in the fall, but I sure can call them in during the spring. Well, I let her do her thing, clucking and sounding off. She ends up leaving. I let out some clucks and soft yelps every 30 minutes, but nothing is happening. 8:00am rolls around and just nothing is happening since the hen left. I gotta go to work in an hour, so I throw a hail mary - I decide to take out the gobbler call and rattle off a gobble, then immediately follow that up with a yelp.
Unbelievably, the gobble call worked! I don't think it was 5 minutes when a Tom let's out a huge gobble to my direct left! (where they have been and how they got over there I have no idea!) I look over and here's TWO Toms coming in! I'm left-handed, so I can't easily swing around. Gotta hope they walk to my front. Sure enough, the lead Tom catches a glimpse of my Jake decoy and they both bee-line to my setup. One is clearly the alpha-Tom - he starts pecking at my Jake and displaying. The second Tom is just standing there, not displaying, just watching. Well, I know which Tom I'm gunning for - but he's too close to my Avian-X Jake decoy - I want to shoot a turkey, but I'm not blasting my $80 decoy so I watch and wait. Eventually, he moves just far enough away, I pull the trigger and the Tom goes down.
Little did I know that wasn't the best part !!
Well, this second Tom just stands there. He doesn't leave! He isn't spooked at all! The gunned down Tom is in the middle of his death throes and this second Tom is just walking around not knowing what is happening. A buddy of mine is going to hunt here next week, so I don't want to spook this second Tom by getting up (but how he wasn't spooked with a shotgun going off and blasting is friend's face is beyond me). So I just watch him (besides, I finally called in a Tom so I didn't mind at all watching him - awesome!). It is almost like this Tom was mourning his friend or something He wasn't leaving the dead bird's side. 10 minutes go by and this bird isn't leaving.
I didn't know what to do. But then I look another 10 yards out and I see A THIRD TOM COME IN! And he's coming in hot! He jogs over to the second Tom, both immediately start displaying and circling - oh, my, God, they are going to fight!! They start going at it - they jump up, trying to kick each other... circle, jump, and swat each other with their wings. This goes on for a couple minutes. Then they grab each other by the beak and start wrestling each other!!! They try to push each other backwards, one bird gets the upper hand and I thought he was going to kill the other one. I've never seen this before... my jaw dropped as I'm watching this go on and on... They fought for at least 10 to 15 minutes, eventually, their wrestling takes them out of visual range from my spot. I quickly get up, start taking some pictures, and gather up my stuff. Just as I'm about to grab my bird and walk out, I hear a gobble - one is coming back!!! He wasn't too close, but I hurried to get out of there.
Anyway, what a hunt!! You never know what you will see. God has blessed me with some cool things to see this season, but this by far was the best. It's mornings like this why I hunt.
So, I've got one day left - last Saturday of E-week and I've got Kirk to deal with. But I'm feeling lucky now Cannot wait to end the season this Saturday hunting that bird!
This is where he went down - you can see the layout of the jake and hen decoys and where he was in relation to them - my position was off-camera to the left about 20 yards or so:
22 pounds, 10.5" beard, 1 1/8" spurs:
Woot! Nice trick with the gobble. Congrats!
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Congrats. You sure put your time in
Wow! That's an incredible story! Great job!
Way to go mazz. Told ya that gobbler shaker works! Them other toms were fighting to establish whose the dominant bird. Good luck getting them!
Last edited by Buckeyes11; 05-17-2016 at 04:41 PM.
Congrats. Glad to hear you got one before the end of the season.