Well, here is my success story for 2010, my first year turkey hunting.
Last Saturday 4/24 was a miserable day outside with the COLD wind blasting the country side. I couldn't hear anything and never saw anything from well before daylight till almost noon. I wanted to give it up for the day and go home, but went to check out a spot in the woods I had meant to scout but never got there. I am so glad I did. I found fresh scratching and tracks. Good! Fresh evidence of feeding. After looking around carefully I also found a roost tree with fresh poop. Good again! I set up and called with some strong yelps on my box call. On the second set I had a loud response gobble. Not good, Great! He was moving away though and I wonder if he didn't see me snooping around. After an hour of trying to coax him and after no response for 30 minutes I looked a little more towards where I had heard him. I found a trail of MANY scratched areas leading the direction I heard the gobbles. Hmm, this must be the way they leave the roost. So I found a good set up point, sweetened it a little for cover, chose where to put the decoys and got out of there.
Sunday morning I was back and done with getting set by 5:00. An hour to wait for legal shooting hours and an hour and a half till legal sunrise. As it got light my Toms let loose with some gobbles and about made me jump out of my skin! Damn they are loud in the quiet of the morning. I was about 80-90 yards from the roost tree and I thought everything was perfect. Then on the second set of good morning gobbling another tom joined in from right over my left shoulder! I had missed the fact that there was another roost 15 yards to my left. I HAD to be right under him when I set up my decoys! I figured I had blown it but sat tight anyway to see what would happen. He flew down first, and it was still so dark I had trouble making him out on the ground. In about 5 more minutes one of the gobblers from the original roost tree flew down and met up with the other. It looked like they were moving away toward the clearing so I purred and clucked quietly on my slate. They hammered back instantly! Excellent! I just sat still and waited. Another gobbler flew down from the original tree I had found and headed towards the other two. Three on the ground in front of me about 65-70 yards. It was plenty light to see them now. At that time I was surrounded by the sound of wings everywhere! The hens were flying down all around me and landing within two to ten yards. They were all between me and my decoys at 15 yards. What a rush! They started meandering towards the gobblers, and the gobblers meandered to the hens. They all met up at the halfway point about forty yards out, a little too far for my old browning fixed choke O/U. About that time another Tom flew down from another farther tree and I lost sight of him. two of the three gobblers in the flock seemed to be looking at my decoys and they began walking towards them. Then before they got clear of their harem of hens they stopped. Oh no, don't leave with the hens I thought. So I dared to give out a few of the softest purrs and clucks I could muster, and they started towards the dekes immediately. I already had the gun up and followed them right in to the dekes. They split up one on each side of my jake decoy and the bigger was strutting and slowly getting closer to jake. I let him have the top barrel at 14 yards and he dropped like a bag of rocks. I kept my gun trained on him to see if a follow up was needed. Then the smaller gobbler RAN back to the other and started strutting over him. I had never heard of that kind of behavior, but Jim say's it's common for a sub celebrate his new status one rung higher on the ladder. I couldn't stand it with him strutting right in front of a loaded bottom barrel, so when he came out of strut he got to talk to mister Browning too. Two gobblers on the ground in all of three minutes, tagged out and done for the year at 6:20 on the second weekend!
I know this has been a long story and thanks for making it to the end with me. I couldn't be happier with my birds, a 19 3/4 lbs and 18 1/2 lbs with 9in and 8in beards and 7/8 and 3/4 spurs. Two barrels, two shots, two gobblers, and one GREAT season!!! Thanks for all your help Jim!