It's been a tough week, but finally filled one of my tags this morning. Weds. morning I heard a jake yelping on the roost, then a hen started cutting at him aggressively, then went to tree talk. I never seen or heard anything after that. Thur. morning I hear a hen tree talking, gave her some tree talk and she starts getting mad, started cutting at me and fighting purrs. I heard her fly down and she started back into the fighting purrs and here she comes. She came in and seen my hen decoys which were out in the field, and started cutting like a mad dog at them, she steps into the field and see my jake decoy, locks up and starts putting at it and turns and leaves. She was the only bird I saw all day. Friday morning she starts tree talking, I answer and she starts yelping aggressively, so I copy her. It's a yelp fest that goes on for about 5 minutes of solid non-stop aggressive yelping. She flys down and starts cutting and cackling and here she comes again. I didn't have my jake out, just the hens, she comes in cutting and yelping aggressively, she gets up in the face of my up-right hen and starts fighting purrs and pecking at it, and I'm purring back at her, she starts whoopin that hen, knocks it over and jumps on top of it pecking at it some more. She them heads for my feeding hen clucks at it and settles down and feeds with it for a bit, then walks off. She is the only bird I've seen in 3 days of hunting. Saturday We went to the T&TH hunting grounds to see what was up there? We didn't see or hear a bird, we talked to the other hunters and stopped at the sport shop to talk to them. They said the same thing, the birds still aren't broke up, either your in bunches of birds or none at all. This morning the fog was thick, but I'm back at my usual spot, I set my hens and strutter up and set back down and start getting my calls out. My favorite hen starts her cutting and cackling, this time she's cut off by a gobble that's about 60 yards to my left. I grab my soft touch and start tree pitting and soft yelping. I hear him leave the tree and land in the tree next to me, but the fog is so thick I can't see him up there. He stays up there a few minutes then glides out to the decoys, when he turns sideways I can see a long beard and bird shape. He goes into strut and gobbles, as soon as he gobbles the woods comes alive with birds flying out of the trees all around me, I see 6 birds land near him and he goes out of strut and takes off running with the birds chasing him back into the woods. I can hear them in there but can't see them, back out of the woods they come and into the field and disappear in the fog. Soon they come running back to the decoys chasing the gobbler. I grabbed my box and gobbled at them. They stop chasing the gobbler and head for my strutter, all 9 jakes. The gobbler stands and watching them by himself. 3 of the 9 jakes go into half strut and start deep growling at my strutter. The Tom is watching this unfold at about 20 yards from me alone in the field. I thought this is your lucky day Tom, as I draw a bead on the biggest jake, when he clears the strutter I turn a load of Feds 5's loose on him, he folds as the other jake bust up and run in three different directions. The gobbler never moved, he stands there watching the jake flop around, then walks back into the woods. I give him a couple minutes to leave then get up and go after my jake, it's 6:03 am. The trees errupt with birds flying out of them deeper into the woods, I heard at least 7/8 birds fly out. Most of you wonder why in the hell would he shoot a jake with an adult gobbler standing there wide open 20 yards away? Well I'm a turkey hunter first and formost, and if you let large bunches of jakes stay together, they run most of your gobblers off or keep them from doing much gobbling. I still have more tags left for this area, and if I can help the gobblers out by busting those jake gangs up, I'll do it every time. A bird is a bird once the feathers come off, and I like hearing birds gobble and getting a chance to work them in, that's the fun in turkey hunting. I'll get a pic posted when I can get someone over to take it for me.
WI Youth & LTH Mentor
Dodge Co. NWTF