It was a lot of fun. I'm thankful for the invite and I was fortunate enough to tag a bird on the last hunt of the trip. A senile hen helped me seal the deal on a big ol' tom. I was hunting in a ditch in the middle of a field where we saw birds travel by the prior morning. Randy Hembrook was hunting a few hundred yards away as we were hoping that one of us could tag a bird no matter which way they traveled. At first light, heavy fog rolled in and no birds could be heard gobbling nearby. I could hear birds gobbling in the neighbor's woods across the road but they were a half mile away and open fields separated the birds and myself. There was a plowed field across the road that we could hunt but no trees except on the neighbor's property. I noticed some large logs laying near the fence (that marked the property line) as we drove by one day and since I didn't have my blind with me, I figured I could sit next to them. What did I have to lose plus it was my last hunt and no birds were gobbling near my current location. I hurried across the field I was in, across the paved road and across the field I wanted to hunt. I settled next to the logs and when the gobblers sounded off, I was disappointed to realize they were at the far range of my hearing. I had waited too late to move and the birds were heading away. I thought it was in vain but called anyway. They seemed to gobble to my calls but came no closer. After a few minutes, I moved my arm and instantly heard wing beats and cackles. "Oh no, I've been busted!", I thought but I hadn't. I turned to see a hen flying over the fence and over the logs that I was next to. I had a lone Avian Jake dek out and after a quick inspection of it, she decided to check me out. She came right up to my boots, less that 2 feet away, and once she had looked me over thoroughly, she turned and fed out into the field. As this was going on, the gobblers were hammering away, over and behind my left shoulder, and now seemed closer. The hen started going to the left and in the gobblers general direction, at which time I decided to spook her off. She was at 20 yards and I leaned up but instead of running, she begin to do what sounded like a combo of putts and cutts, and walked toward me. I remained still and let her get closer. This time, I was going to scare the mess out of her. At 5 feet, I quickly reared up, waving my hands wildly. The hen went straight up into the air 15 feet and when she hit the ground, ran to my right 30 yards and stopped. She then began too cutt even more aggressively and walked back to me. This hen is either insane or has lost her fear of humans, I thought, but at any rate, her cutting along with my excited yelps and cutting were dragging the gobblers on in. When they got to what sounded like they were less than 75 yards to my left and behind me, the hen entered the woods to my right and behind me. I didn't hear anymore gobbling and thought that the hen that was impossible to scare away had stolen my gobblers. I still could hear drumming and so I remained motionless. After an eternity (about 2 minutes), two gobblers appeared to my left, along the field edge, and quickly made there way toward my Jake decoy. They made it halfway when I stopped them with a single cutt and sent a load of Winchester #6s into the strutter's face. There he was flopping on the ground, my first Wisconsin gobbler and my heaviest bird to date (21 lbs. 6 oz., 10" beard, 1 and 1/16" spurs.) I've shot most of my birds in South Carolina so that's why my heaviest bird is only 21 pounds.
As I tagged my bird, I heard another gobbler sound off behind me. The gobbler that was with the bird that I had shot, flew across the road so the one I was hearing was a totally different bird. In my excitement, I called to him and he responded. Oh no, I shouldn't have done that. I should have text Randy Hembrook ( he was still hunting near my original setup) to come over and try to tag him. I text Randy to come over and didn't dare call again. As I impatiently waited for Randy, the bird continued to gobble and get closer. He gobbled just inside the wood line when I finally spotted Randy's truck coming down the road. We decided to take a chance that the bird didn't see us and set up again anyway. Turns out, it was to no avail and we never saw the bird. At any rate it was a blast and I look forward to doing it again next spring. Because my camera was busted from my Nebraska trip 2 weeks prior, I had the chance to just hunt for a change. Oh how I forgot what it's like to just hunt, watch the day begin, hear the birds sing and see a hunt unfold through the HD vision of my own eyes than through that of a 3" LCD screen. It was great company with all the others and a big thanks to Randy for allowing me to hunt with him and showing me around the property for two days which was instrumental in knowing where I could move those birds. Otherwise, I may have just remained in my original location and gone home with tag soup.