Today was opening day for the fall shotgun turkey season in Illinois. I had been scouting for about six weeks and had located five flocks of birds. The flock that I was going to hunt today had about 25 young birds and a few hens, maybe three and I hoped to harvest a young bird for Thanksgiving. With one more tag I could then concentrate on getting a long beard. With much anticipation, I had set up in a prime location since these birds roosted within a 100 yard area each night and I had figured out their pattern of travel. This morning I woke up at 4 A.M. but there was a big problem, it was raining. What should I do? It didn’t take long to decide to head out to the woods rain or not. I had a camo umbrella and grabbed a big towel to wrap around my Remington 870. So here I am wondering through the woods with an umbrella but I can’t locate my setup in the dark. It was 5 A.M. so there were two hours before it would be light enough to see and I was becoming a wet noodle. I set down on a log to collect my sense of direction and pulled out my flashlight with a red lens. After looking around I could see some oak trees that were close to my setup and headed in that direction and found my ALF turkey chair right where I had left it. I was set for my hunt but it would still be an hour before first light. Sure glad I had the umbrella because it was still raining, but slowing down. My blood really started pumping and the endorphins spiked when I heard a bird 50 yards west of my setup. A couple of birds flew into the creek bottom but the majority flew down on the ridge line and started walking toward the woods line. I could hear a hen yelping in the bottoms so I struck up a series of yelps two different times. That was all it took and the young birds circle back to my location. At about 35 yards I fired up the Remington 870 Super Mag with a Jellyhead choke and a 3.5 inch Hevi shot #7. One shot and one turkey. Interestingly, this morning I heard a gobble before first light. Don’t know if it was a long beard or a young bird. Although it was damp, it was still a great morning to be in the woods and to experience God’s fabulous creation.
- Young Hen for Thanksgiving
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