On the board

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Gopherlongbeards
 
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On the board

Postby Gopherlongbeards » September 19th, 2012, 10:09 pm

Took my first (on purpose) fall bird this evening, a nice jake of the year.

Today was the only day this week I didn't have meetings at work: I took that as a sign that I was meant to go hunting.

Left the house at 5:00 AM with a plan to hit some of the public land I had scouted during the summer. Arrived at the first spot at 20 to 6:00 to find trucks parked at both ends. Assuming they are bowhunters and not wanting to bugger their hunts, I turn around. The second spot on my list, is only 5 minutes away. As I was unloading another truck pulled up and two more bowhunters stepped out (apparently everyone else had a meeting free agenda today as well...), so I walked over to see where their stands were. Turned out they were tracking a deer they had shot the evening before, and were heading to the opposite side of the public from where I wanted to go.

It was windy all day, which made hearing birds difficult. I heard nothing on the roost or at flydown. After a few 1/2 hr calling sessions with no responses, I started trolling around the area. The habitat looked good, I was surprised to not hear any birds or even find any sign. Around 8:00 I decided to head over to another piece of public ground I had scouted. On the way I drove past one of the farms I have permission to hunt to see how much progress they were making on getting the crops out. Just down the road from the farm I did a double take: about 30 birds picking bugs in a back pasture a couple hundred yards from the road.

The second piece of public ground also turned out to be a bust. I covered most of it in a couple hours, again no birds seen or heard. Not even a feather or a track seen. 11:00 AM found me sitting in the truck eating a sandwich for lunch and thinking about where to head next. I finally decided on another piece of public ground where I had seen a few birds two weeks before (I was purposefully avoiding the private ground I have permission on as I had hit them pretty hard on opening weekend, and wanted to give those birds a bit of a rest). By chance I happened to be driving down the same road I had taken earlier. The birds in the pasture had been replaced by a couple dozen cows, but there was a truck in the driveway. I figured what the hell, and pulled into the driveway. The farmer was very friendly and after a nice 15 minute talk he told me It'd be fine if I hunted his land this fall, as long as I was careful about the cows. A handshake and a few smiles later and I was headed through the cattle gate and into the pasture.

The wind is blowing pretty good by now, making hearing difficult, but over the next few hours I manage to make contact with a couple groups of turkeys (one a brood hen with her poults, and a group of bigger birds that I didn't get a solid ID on. Last year's jakes maybe?) while slowly walking and calling while staying as hidden as possible. The birds where pretty chatty when I could get close enough to hear them, but a shot never did present itself (the safety came off twice...) and both groups eventually drifted away. I attempted to scatter the larger birds for a recall attempt, but they were wise to that game and I couldn't get close enough before they all winged off together to the next ridge over.

I spent the last hour sitting in the shade at a trail crossroads cat napping, enjoying the weather, and throwing out some gobbler yelps and clucks every now and then. I packed it up at 5:00 pm so I could be home at a reasonable time and started the walk out. About halfway back to the pasture gate I thought I heard purring coming down the wind. A few steps later and I was sure of it. I could hear flapping wings and clucking, and caught a glimpse of birds jumping around 100 yards ahead and off to the side of the wheeler trail I was walking. I eased over to the side of the trail and began to slowly close the distance, screened from the birds by the saplings and undergrowth that lined much of the trail. At 50 yards distance I sat down, put my gun on my knee and let out a short series of jake cuts, rolled into a kee kee run, and threw in a fighting purr for good measure. Everything goes silent and I take a breath to kee kee run again when 12 birds round the corner in a dead sprint right at me. A single cluck stops them in their tracks at 30 yards, and they up periscope. The lead jake drops at the shot and the rest take wing in all directions. I sit there for a minute to make sure they've all moved off, then get up and walk over to the jake. I slit the time and date on the tag, fix it to his leg, and place him over my shoulder to resume the walk out. The first kee kee run rings out 100 yards up the ridge, followed by a second, then a third. I smile. With two more tags in my pocket I am certainly tempted, but no, it's a long season. The birds aren't going anywhere. I turn and head down the wheeler trail towards the pasture gate, listening to the recall going on without me...

I think I am starting to like this fall thing.
Last edited by Gopherlongbeards on September 20th, 2012, 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ticklishtompro
 
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Re: On the board

Postby ticklishtompro » September 19th, 2012, 10:19 pm

Congrats Gopher!! Nice post I felt like I was right there with you. I only got out Saturday morning and where I had been seeing birds for the whole week decided to go elsewhere. Of course the goose hunters in the field next to that one, and the 100 geese in the field may have had something to do with it. Then I split the days bowhunting and goose hunting. Just not enough time to do it all. But I will give it another try this Saturday.
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charlie elk
 
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Re: On the board

Postby charlie elk » September 20th, 2012, 9:17 am

Congratulations all around, new place to hunt, making the birds cooperate and now you have some mighty fine eating that is going to spoil you big time. :D
Gopherlongbeards wrote:I think I am starting to like this fall thing.

Yep, this is your first step to becoming fall turkey hooked. It is a good thing.
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.

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WillowRidgeCalls
 
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Re: On the board

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » September 20th, 2012, 9:54 am

Congrats on your Jake, Gopher. Good to hear you got another spot to hunt and birds that wanted to play. :D
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Duke0002
 
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Re: On the board

Postby Duke0002 » September 20th, 2012, 10:13 am

Congrats! Nice report and bird.

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dewey
 
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Re: On the board

Postby dewey » September 20th, 2012, 1:51 pm

Congratulations on the bird Gopher and thanks for sharing the story. Good luck on the future hunts. Certainly does sound like you had more fun than you would have at work.

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

       

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Gopherlongbeards
 
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Re: On the board

Postby Gopherlongbeards » September 27th, 2012, 7:54 pm

Took the morning off to hunt today and managed to take a jenny. She must have been an early hatch, was the same size as the jake I got last week. The hunt was pretty cool. I was walking along a hilltop field edge around 9:00 AM when I heard a major turkey fight going on halfway down the side of the hill. It sounded like a lot of birds, so i figured it was a brood hen and her poults. I walked along the field edge for another 100 yards or so, and then eased down the hill through the woods to get on the level with the birds. I backtracked about half of the distance towards them and stopped in a patch of open woods. I clucked, and it was immediately answered by a bird up ahead. I yelped back and multiple birds answered. I grabbed a seat and yelped, clucked, and kee kee run'd the whole flock almost into my lap. They called all the way in and listening to the footsteps in the leaves get closer and closer was way cool. After the shot they all scattered and I figured I might be able to reposition and call in another. I waited it out for an hour, but I never heard another peep. I needed to be heading home anyways so I took off. It was another great day in the woods, and I finally managed to get some visual confirmation on the culprits leaving the mondo sized turkey tracks, feathers, and droppings all over the place (sometimes inside my footprints from earlier in the day). There are four of them, beards all dragging the ground. I think I have a new goal in mind...

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Steve_In
 
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Re: On the board

Postby Steve_In » September 28th, 2012, 8:02 am

Great post Gopher. Get after those gobblers now.
Steve, I love "smoked" turkey

charlie elk
 
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Re: On the board

Postby charlie elk » October 3rd, 2012, 7:26 pm

Congrats on your second WI bird, hunting is really great this year. No matter the size fall turkeys are fun.

Gopherlongbeards wrote:After the shot they all scattered and I figured I might be able to reposition and call in another.

I have made the repositioning mistake more than once myself. The turkeys have taught me it is best to stay put for additional recall attempts.
Good hunting.
later,
charlie
If you agree with me call it fact; if you disagree - call it my opinion.
After all - we are talking turkey.


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