May 3, Warren County in northwest PA:
At 6:01 a turkey gobbled about 125 yards to my north, and I responded with a soft call. He answered back, but sounded like he was on the ground and headed for a field at my back. On Tuesday I had called four down along the edge of the field, but had no shot, so I turned to make sure I could cover that this morning. I didn't move much, but when I did, a big gobbler flushed from a tree about 35 yards away -- I didn't know he was there because he had never opened his mouth, and he was roosting right where two trees crossed so I didn't see him.
There were still 2 gobblers, but instead of coming right to me, they went into another field across the ravine. I could see them fanning out and gobbling, about 150 yards away. They would answer, but seemed to want to stay in the field. So, I got aggressive. I began yelping, cutting, purring, and clucking loudly on the little custom scratchbox I make. I went on for a full minute, and really got them fired up. They came to the edge of the woods, about 100 yards away, and they stopped there. So, I fired up my call again, and here they come. I stopped calling and watched.
When they got into the ravine and I couldn't see them, I started what I figured would be my last series of calls. They came across the ravine in a heartbeat and at 35 yards one of them took a load of #5 shot. He went down hard enough that I didn't need to hurry over there. He dropped right under the tree the silent one had been roosted in. Now, his buddy flew off in the same direction.
PA Tag #1 is filled (6:48 AM, 19 pounds, 9-inch beard. He had 1 broken spur and the other was a sharp 1" long). A nice 2-year old; maybe 3. May 17, Washington County in southwest PA:
I was hunting with the NWTF "Energy Hunt" group when I took my #2 Gobbler for the year. I had three days, and got him at 9:30 on day 3. We hunted in the mornings and had an "energy" tour in the afternoons. We went to a Marcellus drilling rig, a coal mine subsidence site, and a pipeline right-of-way to learn about how the energy companies work with the PGC and the NWTF to make sure energy production has a positive outcome for wildlife.
Up until Day 3 of the hunt the group got only one bird, killed by a guy from Consol Energy. On the third and last day I hunted with a local guide named Mike. We got into the spot at 5:30 and the gobbler sounded off at the end of the field. He flew down and minded his hens (2 of them) while another gobbler watched. He only occasionally responded to our calls, but shock gobbled every time Mike blew on the crow call. They came toward us around 8:00, but stopped at about 55-60 yards and turned back the way they came.
While they were gone, Mike put a jake fan right in front of me at the edge of the field. Later they came back to the 60 yard mark, and saw the jake fan. The gobblers wouldn't take their eyes off it, but the hens just kept feeding. After the hens walked back the way they came, the gobblers hung around, drifting to about 25 yards. Mike said not to shoot the one that wasn't strutting; he could see the spurs weren't very impressive. So I focused on the strutter. He went to my right, and when a bunch of grass screened my movement, I s-l-o-w-l-y brought my gun to the right and got on his head. When I filled his head with #5 shot he went right down and the other gobbler ran off.
He was a thing of beauty coming in at full strut in the sunlight. If it hadn't been for that jake fan, I doubt he would have come close enough. He would have followed those hens back across the field.
It took 4 hours, but it was worth it. My #2 gobbler had a 10" beard and thick, sharp spurs a strong 1¼" long. They didn't curve much, probably because they were so thick. No one had a scale, but everyone thought he was well over 20 pounds, and he was clearly bigger than my other gobbler. You can see in the photo that one toe had been broken and it curled outward. According to the NWTF info found here
, this gobbler was probably 4 years old.
Hoping now to call one in for my nephew.
When [url="http://www.EverydayHunter.com"]"The Everyday Hunter"[/url] isn't hunting, he's thinking about hunting, talking about hunting, dreaming about hunting, writing about hunting, or wishing he were hunting.