So Thursday, April 26th, afternoon I get this email from my mother in-law.
Just had lunch with Alicia at Renee’s. Dave, a farmer friend of the family that owns around 1000 acres of great turkey hunting land, came in-he’s hauling grain today. He told me to tell you that you better get your turkey at our house, because he’s had 3 people out hunting, and nobody has seen any turkeys. He said he knows they are out there, but nobody can find them!
Let me just start this by saying I LOVE a challenge and this is a big time challenge. I had the same thing happen in the spring of 2009 after talking to some hunters that also hunt Dave’s place and I tagged my biggest turkey ever. So anything short of Godzilla walking out of the trees Saturday morning at my in laws place was going to get a get out of jail free card from Dewey since the real challenge was 20 miles West. So Saturday morning a friend of mine, Mark, and my father in-law get out to our spots at around 5:15 and I sit on top of a small hill on the driveway in which I have harvested numerous turkeys from the past few years. So I clear some shooting lanes with a pruner and get good and comfortable next to a good sized pine tree and just wait. Sure enough about 5:30 or so I hear a gobbler back off of my right shoulder then I hear another one out in front of me. Then without any warning I hear a gobbler from right above me and slightly off to my right. The dang thing made me jump a little bit but at that point I know that I have to be extremely quiet and not move at all. Then I hear a jake gobble, or try to gobble, above me and a little to my left. It was actually kind of humorous to hear him try and gobbler with the big boys but he just couldn’t do it quite right. Finally about 6:00 I see a good sized gobbler come up the hill and I got a good look at him when he was about 15 yards away and he had a good set of 1” plus spurs and a good beard but the real challenge was still 20 miles away so I let him walk knowing that he was more than likely going to head towards Marks location. He also had the 4 jakes I heard above me following him so I was able to relax and move a little bit after that. Not long after that I hear a gunshot and I figured Mark had knocked down a gobbler. I figured at that point that it was good that we talked about sitting put until I made the move to the house so no one scared any potetial turkeys away getting up to look at their bird. So I call a few times and sure enough the same tom I saw earlier comes back to looking for a hen that he will never find. Then shortly after that I saw the same group of 4 jakes except this time there are only 3. It was pretty easy to figure out that Mark had shot his first male turkey. Shortly after that I see a hen in a tree straight in front of me begin to fly down but she is coming straight at me and ends up landing literally 6 feet from my feet, that was really cool. She kind of feeds and works away and the jakes start working towards me. 2 of them ended up standing right in front of me at 6 feet staring at me and generally just looking around. I almost started laughing at the sight of their red heads almost within arm reach of me that was another great part of the morning’s hunt.
So after a quick breakfast and a good nap my father in law and I head out to hunt at my friend Dave’s farm and we stop and BS with him for a few minutes and he says to stop back after we are done hunting and have a cold beer. So we head out to a location that has been good to me in previous years and we see a lone turkey crossing a wheat stubble field about 600 yards out in front of us. So we decide to park the truck and try to hunt him but as soon as we move he slipped back into the trees. Perfect I thought we at least know where he is at. So we walk to the general location of where we saw him and set up 3 hen decoys and then my father in law sets up along the field edge about 30 yards North and I set up about 50 yards South of him. I read my book for a few minutes then when the wind died out I called a little back and immediately I hear a gobbler back off my right shoulder. Perfect he knows where I am now I will read some more of my book and let him come look for me. 5 minutes later I call again and this time he blasts me from really close. Within a couple of seconds I see his white head through the grass and see that he is looking for a very sweet sounding hen. Unfortunately for him all he found was a screaming load of #4’s rushing towards him from 8 yards away. My father in law comes out after I yelled at him and said he wondered if I missed but he saw some feathers fly by so he knew I got one. He was a good two year old gobbler with a 9 inch beard and ¾” spurs with a weight of right around 16-18 pounds. All in all we were away from the truck for 35 minutes. Needless to say our friend Dave was very surprised to see us come back so soon.
This spring season was very successful with my first Rio turkey from KS and another gobbler from MN on property that others struggle with but I have been very fortunate to do very well.
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"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