Decision Time: The Corn Snake

In this interactive feature, Editor Brian Lovett shares a scenario from his 20+ years of turkey hunting, asking "What would you do?"
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Ben Sobieck
 
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Decision Time: The Corn Snake

Postby Ben Sobieck » April 26th, 2011, 5:18 am

In "Decision Time," Editor Brian Lovett will share a scenario from his 20-plus years hunting turkeys. Each hinges on a critical decision. Post what choice you would have made, then see how things actually turned out.

The Corn Snake

If you've turkey hunted a while, you've probably enjoyed one or two of those whacky, improbable hunts that make you shake your head.

But sometimes, whacky ain't all great.

One morning this spring, I slipped to the base of a ridge bordered by a cornfield. Most of the corn had been cut the previous fall, but the landowner had left a small patch standing for deer.

Nothing gobbled at my tree yelping, but after fly-down time, a bird across the town road started lighting it up. I yelped pretty hard at him, and within seconds, he had crossed the road and gobbling furiously in the field.

He had, however, brought a buddy: a jake. The shortbeard rushed to my setup and then rubber-necked away. The gobbler stayed put.

Finally, after 20 minutes of soft calling, the bird broke and started walking along a creek bottom toward the standing corn. He disappeared into the bottom and then ... well, disappeared. For 30 minutes, I didn't see or hear him.

Then, like black ghosts, six birds emerged from the bottom and rushed my setup.

"Jake," I thought. "Jake. Jake. Jake. Jake. But what's that last bird?"

I couldn't tell. The thick standing corn prevented me from seeing his beard, and the dorky jakes were also in the way.

"Crap, did the jakes run the gobbler off?" I thought. "Or is that him? He had a jake with him earlier, after all."

In my head, I heard an Alabama buddy say, "Shoot him and ground-check him."

With the birds starting to ease away, I had to shoot or hold fire.

What would you have done? Post your decision below.

Click here for Lovett's decision.

simpzenith
 
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RE: Decision Time: The Corn Snake

Postby simpzenith » April 26th, 2011, 6:45 am

No brainer here. Never shoot unless you can positively identify your target. Hen, jake or tom? If you don't know, hold your fire.
2012 MN "King Kaller and Iowa State Open Champion
2010, '11, '12 Mid-Iowa Owl Hooting Champion
http://www.CallingAllTurkeys.com

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dewey
 
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RE: Decision Time: The Corn Snake

Postby dewey » April 26th, 2011, 7:20 am

ORIGINAL: simpzenith

No brainer here. Never shoot unless you can positively identify your target. Hen, jake or tom? If you don't know, hold your fire.


I could not agree more.

Dewey
"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." --Mahatma Gandhi

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."--F. Scott Fitzgerald, American writer

       

Tom21inNM
 
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RE: Decision Time: The Corn Snake

Postby Tom21inNM » April 26th, 2011, 7:46 am

Count me in that group also, I had an Elk hunt last fall and on the last day after drawing a blank had an animal not 3 yards from me in heavy brush. I could see the body but not the head and subsequently any antlers of there were some. I held my fire an watch it disapear into the trees. I will never know if I missed a chance at a bull, but am satisfied I did the correct thing.

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Mossberg835
 
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RE: Decision Time: The Corn Snake

Postby Mossberg835 » April 27th, 2011, 10:06 am

Right on, never shoot unless you have positively identified ur target. My dad and older brother have been teaching me that since i was 4 and i never forgot it.
Hunt for thunder chickens for months at a time...you know that's right

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Everyday Hunter
 
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RE: Decision Time: The Corn SnakeWith

Postby Everyday Hunter » April 28th, 2011, 2:38 am

This is so easy, it makes me wonder if I missed something, some information is missing, or if it's a trick question. Never shoot unless you can positively identify your target. In this case, nothing is said that even indicates whether the last bird is a legal target. Could it be a hen?

With the information given, I'd never shoot.

Steve
When [url="http://www.EverydayHunter.com"]"The Everyday Hunter"[/url] isn't hunting, he's thinking about hunting, talking about hunting, dreaming about hunting, writing about hunting, or wishing he were hunting.

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dewey
 
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RE: Decision Time: The Corn Snake

Postby dewey » April 28th, 2011, 5:19 am

ORIGINAL: Tom21inNM

Count me in that group also, I had an Elk hunt last fall and on the last day after drawing a blank had an animal not 3 yards from me in heavy brush. I could see the body but not the head and subsequently any antlers of there were some. I held my fire an watch it disapear into the trees. I will never know if I missed a chance at a bull, but am satisfied I did the correct thing.


WOW!! I bet you were shaking like crazy after it was all said and done.

A guy from MN shot his 8 year old son a couple of years ago because the dad thought he was a turkey. I could not imagine.

Here is an excerpt from the story from 2008.

Dad Shoots, Kills Son On Turkey Hunt

An 8-year-old-boy who recently completed a school project on hunting with his father died Saturday after being shot by his father while hunting turkey in Minnesota.

Sibley County Sheriff Bruce Ponath said that Anthony Klaseus, of Belle Plaine, and his son Hunter were hunting turkey about three miles west of Belle Plaine Saturday evening when Klaseus shot his son in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun.Belle Plaine is about 45 miles southwest of Minneapolis.Klaseus dialed 911 on his cell phone and carried the boy to a rendezvous with emergency responders, Ponath said. But the boy was pronounced dead at the scene."He was absolutely panicked. That would be an understatement," Ponath told The Associated Press.The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Hunter, dressed in camouflage, was 20 to 30 yards away from his father when his father mistook him for a turkey and fired his gun.The shooting remains under investigation, but the sheriff characterized it as a tragic accident."A lot of people are in shock. It just doesn't seem possible," Pat Pribyl, the principal at Raven Stream Elementary School in New Prague, where Hunter was a third-grader, told the Star Tribune.Pribyl described the boy as a wrestler and an active and eager student who had recently written and illustrated a book for a class about hunting with his father.

Dewey
"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." --Mahatma Gandhi

"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."--F. Scott Fitzgerald, American writer

       

Duke0002
 
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RE: Decision Time: The Corn Snake

Postby Duke0002 » April 28th, 2011, 5:52 am

Positively identifying your target means 100% identification, not 99%.   No one can ever "undo" a shot!

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kygobbler
 
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RE: Decision Time: The Corn Snake

Postby kygobbler » April 28th, 2011, 5:56 am

[:o][:o][:o] Words can not describe how I feel for that man and his family. Lets just hope and pray that nothing like that ever happens again.
Image

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educote
 
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RE: Decision Time: The Corn Snake

Postby educote » April 28th, 2011, 6:15 am

I side more towards your Alabama buddy. Given any legal Gobbler is the rule and the hunter will be satisfied with a Jake.

You guys are complicating the issue. He isn't saying his target was unidentified. He is saying the maturity of his target was not confirmed. He didn't shoot because he couldn't confirm maturity. Huge difference from not confirming the target initially. He knew it was a male turkey.

I have only shot a few Jakes but most of them were mistakes in the sense that I didn't confirm maturity. I was still happy and satisfied for the gift. A few personal examples are: 1. A gobbling bird coming up a ridge with the sun at his back alone. His gobble sounds big, mature looking body but with the glare I could only tell his breast feathers split and there was a beard with red wattles. No doubt it was a legal male turkey. He tasted very good. 2. High wind and a distant gobble. Meet the turkeys at the corner of a clear-cut and hardwood bottom with hust enough time to get my gun up. Red head, tall black body, etc. Light to carry but everybody got seconds that night. 3. Hunting in tall grass. Birds gobble big but the only thing I can see is neck up. Black body, red wattles, snow white cap = flopping turkey.

One thing to remember, especially, for those of us chasing turkeys around clear-cuts and young timber where the only open terrain is a pipeline - we don't get to watch turkeys. Ever. Plus, with the huge amount of pressure we don't get many opportunities. I almost never set up where I can see past shooting range. I use the ridges, road bends, corners, etc. to hide behind so when I see the turkey I can kill him.

For me, they are all gifts from God. I love shooting big, mature birds. I wish they all were but there have been a few times they weren't. I could have passed or taken more time but like I said they are all gifts. In fact, those times where I did rush and kill a Jake have made me appreciate the long beards even more because when you stop and think about it you almost never know how mature a bird is until you kill him. If a long beard, he could be 2 or 12 and you have no clue or infleunce over what walks up there. They are all gifts and these "mistakes" help keep me humble.

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