Today was the start of second season in Illinois. It had rained 1.5 inches last Thursday and the temperature had dropped from the high 70s last week to the mid 40s this morning.The barometric pressure was rising, the wind was less than 5 mph and there was no cloud cover. It was a beautiful day!!
I got up at 3:30 AM, had a big breakfast and went through my checklist. After a long walk through last years bean field, I started setting up about an hour before sunrise. I placed 5 hen decoys and 1 jake decoy at a known corridor for turkeys in this area and then concealed myself in a honeysuckle vine patch. I knew I was well concealed when a bird landed on my gun barrel and stayed there for about one minute.
Last Tuesday when I got my first long beard, the turkeys were grouped up at the area; approximately 50 turkeys in this group. As the crows started sounding off the long beards were gobbling from all directions and it was obvious the turkeys has split up. At about 200 yards to the north 4 hens and a gobbler were heading my way. Then at about 50 yards the hens headed east and Mr. Longbeard went with them. Eventually 2 of the hens came back to my decoys and passed within 10 feet of where I was sitting, but the gobbler was not with them.
I call a little and a gobbler to my west responded each time I called. He must have seen my decoys. Some hens were also coming toward my location. All of a sudden the gobbler was at the edge of my decoys and the rest is history. I shot him with my Benelli Super Vinci with Indian Creek Choke and Hevi 13 Blended shot at 33 yards.
This was my second long beard in less than a week and only my second Illinois gobbler. He weighed 21 pounds, had a 10 1/2 inch beard and 1 1/4 inch spurs. This was a great rush but at the same time I realized that I would have to wait until April 25 (4th season) to go after one of these beautiful birds again. God has surely blessed those of us who hunt with the beauty of the outdoors and nature. The wild turkey is truly a wonderful bird.