Decision Time: Bean and Mean

In this interactive feature, Editor Brian Lovett shares a scenario from his 20+ years of turkey hunting, asking "What would you do?"
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Brian Lovett
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Decision Time: Bean and Mean

Postby Brian Lovett » September 22nd, 2010, 3:51 am

In "Decision Time," Editor Brian Lovett will share a scenario from his 20-plus years hunting turkeys. Each hinges on a critical decision. Post what choice you would have made, then see how things actually turned out.

Bean and Mean

I contend that when an inexperienced turkey hunter encounters a good situation, he thinks, "Great, I'm going to get a turkey." However, if an experienced turkey hunter encounters that scenario, he thinks, "OK, what's going to goof this up?"

Sometimes, that pessimistic outlook seems pretty well-founded.

Four years ago, Steve Stoltz and I roosted three longbeards in the corner of a freshly planted Missouri beanfield and formed a plan. The next morning, we slipped in at dark-thirty, set out some decoys and readied our ambush. When two hens started tree-yelping just 40 yards away and two gobblers lit up in response 30 paces farther, we knew we were in great shape. The hens would doubtless fly into the beanfield, and the lovesick longbeards would follow, right down my gun barrel. It would be a smash for the ages.

But about five minutes after the birds started talking, some deer approached the edge of the field to our right and winded us. Of course, one doe started snorting. And snorting. And snorting some more. At first, the commotion didn't seem to affect the turkeys much. After a few minutes, however, the hens seemed to get edgy, and one began putting nervously.

Soon, my greatest fear was soon realized. The hens were spooked enough that they flew down away from us, into a large hayfield behind the tree line and right past the gobblers. Of course, the longbeards followed, and then all was quiet.

Now what? It was too open to move on the birds, but I wasn't convinced we could call them back toward our setup. The morning was cool and still, so we could probably strike a hot turkey somewhere else. However, I didn't want to leave an area the turkeys seemed to favor.
Stoltz and I had to decide how much faith we had in the beanfield setup.

What would you have done?
Post your decision below.

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RE: Decision Time: Bean and Mean

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » September 22nd, 2010, 9:05 am

As long as you were set up and you hadn't bumped the birds I'd be staying put. If there were only a couple of hens, it won't take them Tom's long to start looking for others, and as you said they liked that area.

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Cut N Run
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RE: Decision Time: Bean and Mean

Postby Cut N Run » September 23rd, 2010, 11:35 am

I might try them another day, only after smelling the place up with some aftershave or a few old camo T-shirts placed strategically around the perimeter so the deer wouldn't be as likely mess you up again. I do the same thing to a few of my better locations before the season just so that kind of thing doesn't happen when it matters most.

I don't have agriculture to hunt near and have no experience with it.

Luck Counts, good or bad

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