A little before 6AM I heard two birds gobble from the roost way off on other properties in opposite directions. I couldn't move towards either one to hunt. They got quiet fast too. About an hour after light, I cutt on the long box and had a hen answer with clucks from down along the creek. She took her time getting there and did a half circle around me less than 10 yards, then went back from the way she came.
At 8:35 I heard a gobble in the bottom near the swamp. I cutt back right away and he cut me off with a second gobble. He stayed quiet for 30 minutes, though it seemed like an hour. He'd halved the distance between us by the next time he gobbled. I clucked and purred on my Tom Teasers diaphram as I scratched the leaves, but he stayed quiet. Maybe he was still too far to hear me or the breeze had cancelled my calling. By now, it was forty five minutes since my first call to him and he hadn't shown himself or sounded off again. Then, just over the crest of the ridge, I saw the top of his head moving as he scanned the area and circled around the other side of the knoll from me. There were no calls from him, maybe he saw something he didn't like & left. I thought I heard him drumming when the breeze laid down, so I clucked and purred again. Nothing. I waited another 15 minutes and purred and scratched the leaves again. He gobbled back for only the fourth time, now more than an hour ten minutes since this chess match started. This clearly wasn't his first rodeo. I quietly purred and scratched the leaves beside me once more and saw him coming straight on behind some green leaves. He stepped into the shooting lane I made last winter. I clucked once to bring his head up and he happened to be standing in the exact spot as the one I killed last Friday. I busted him with Hevi #7s at 29 yards with the same result. My watch said it had taken 80 minutes from the time I heard his first gobble until I dropped him. My nerves were frayed, but I was thrilled when I saw him.
When I went to pick him up, I saw drag marks in the leaves in the area where he was standing. The spot I found is clearly an important strut zone that more than one gobbler uses. I've only hunted there 5 times in the past two years, but I've tagged three fine gobblers from it, all with shots from inside of 30 yards. I've also let several jakes pass so we might meet there again in the future.
This gobbler weighed 22 pounds on the dot, 11.125 inch beard, 1.25 inch spurs, and has a beautiful barred fan. It was a great way to spend my second tag and end the season. The start of this season was more than aggravating, with the gobblers being henned up or shutting up at fly down. Five minutes before he gobbled, I was considering how long I was going to hunt today or where I might be able to tag a bird on Friday. Now,I'll probably go call for my best friend.
- 5-6-14. Limbhanger.jpg (263.37 KiB) Viewed 823 times
- 5-6-14. Success.jpg (191.22 KiB) Viewed 823 times
Luck Counts, good or bad