Forum Seeks First-Timers

Whether you're a 10-year-old kid or a 40-year-old kid-at-heart, bagging that first bird is a thrill. This is the place to share photos and stories of your first harvest.
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Ben Sobieck
 
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Forum Seeks First-Timers

Postby Ben Sobieck » May 6th, 2009, 10:00 am

Whether you're a 10-year-old kid or a 40-year-old kid-at-heart, bagging that first bird is a thrill. It's hard to hold that excitement in, so we've created a special place for you on the turkeyandturkeyhunting.com forum.

The First Time Turkeys thread is the place to share photos and stories of your inaugural harvest. Forum members love seeing photos and stories of harvests, and that goes doubly for first-timers. Whether you bagged your bird this year or in 1982, recount your experiences here.

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trkynut54
 
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RE: Forum Seeks First-Timers

Postby trkynut54 » May 6th, 2009, 12:45 pm

I killed my first gobbler in 1995. A friend of mine took me out to show me the ropes and called this one in for me. We went out the evening before and heard him on the roost gobbling his head off. He gobbled until the last bit of daylight. We went there the next morning and walked up the mountain and got level with him. He started gobbling, then flew down. My buddy started calling and it answered every call. Soon I saw it coming, it was strutting the whole way in. I shot at 35 yards. It was exciting to say the least, I was hooked ever since. It weighed 18 lbs and had a 8 1/2 inch beard




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Cut N Run
 
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Location: central North Carolina

RE: Forum Seeks First-Timers

Postby Cut N Run » May 7th, 2009, 5:50 pm

I don't have any pictures from my first turkey hunt, but here's the story about it.
 
I started turkey hunting in 1983 and made the mistake of inviting one of my neighbors to come along for the first time. I had no clue to what I was doing, except I could sit still & make reasonable turkey sounds on the old Lynch box call I'd bought for a few bucks at the flea market. I read some turkey hunting articles from a few sporting magazines and it sounded fun & challenging at the same time. I was up for that.
 
This fellow I invited along is the same guy who the Fall before, during the Rut, went into a small pine thicket that held a huge whitetail deer's primary scrape with his chainsaw and cut some shooting lanes to "Get a better shot", rather than setting up on the down-wind side of the scrape from a good observation point & just hunting.*sigh* All he succeeded in doing was to turn the deer's visiting pattern to that scrape into nocturnal one.**double sigh** For some reason, I exercised poor judgement by adding my neighbor to the mix and put myself at more of a disadvantage against turkeys than I already was.  I'd found what the hunting magazines said appeared to be a prime strut zone.  There were tracks and dust bowls along a flat portion of a short ridge-top logging road in some mature oaks that bordered a cut-over.  You could see the big tracks & wing-tip trails in the dust of that road where a gobbler had been strutting.  As luck would have it, there was a huge up-rooted oak on the forest floor that was in easy shooting distance from the roadbed, which would make an ideal natural blind. I met my neighbor at his house an hour and a half before sun-up.  I was in military camo a family friend had given me that he'd worn in 'Nam.  My neighbor was wearing his ancient brown canvas hunting coat & matching hat.  It was so faded from being worn so much around the farm, he almost glowed in the dark. Before dawn, we eased up the logging road to the downed tree.  I positioned my neighbor at the oak's rootball, where he had the maximum concealment to hide that coat and cap & I went up to blend in with the forked limbs.  About 15 minutes after it got light enough to see, a gobble thundered from about 150 yards away.  I could see my neighbor's head swivel towards me with wide eyes as he gestured for me to hit the box call.  Everything I'd read, suggested to wait until the bird was on the ground before you called to him.  I shook my head no lightly as I put my palm toward him in a "stop" sign.  The next thing I heard was my neighbor sharply whispering "Hey Jim" and motioning with his brown cap covered head toward the turkey's gobble, wanting desparately for me to communicate with that bird. Again, my stop sign hand went up, pumping a few times for emphasis. I put my gloved finger up to my camo bandana-covered face in a shhhh motion in front of laser-eyes serious enough to burn holes in the roots of that oak. 
 
That gobbler was feeling it and wanted all the world to know. "Call to him" came from the roots. I was trying my best to ignore as I was mentally kicking myself in the butt for even considering this shared outing a good idea.  Finally, we heard the wing flaps as the gobbler settled to the ground.  I scratched out a few notes with that old Lynch.  The gobbler never let the sound get all the way to him before he double gobbled back.  WOW! This was fun! This was cool! This was exciting! AND,this WAS going to happen!  I clucked feebly on the Lynch and got an immediate response from the Tom.  He was coming in a hurry!  I saw this big dark turkey cross the high side of the ditch and get on the logging road near where the road curved about 80 yards away. His beard flopped as he moved downward.  I set the call on the ground beside me. He puffed out to full strut seeking that sweet-talking hen that just had to be near by.  I could see his colors shift when he walked through more sun-lit spots along the road.  I could have almost peed myself, I was so excited. My heart was racing a thousand beats a minute as I eased the hammer back on my trusty Stevens single-shot.  It had a 3 inch #5 Winchester turkey load in the chamber, that until now, I'd only fired at paper. The hammer fell into that familiar cocked position. I'd feathered the trigger so it wouldn't make the loud, silence-shattering click it normally does when it was set to go.  The turkey was inside 50 yards, when suddenly, his red periscope of a head abruptly went up, he PUTTed loudly, and he scrambled off towards the cut-over.... I can still see the dust kicking up behind his feet in my nightmares.  I glanced toward the other end of the log & my neighbor's brown hunting cap was rotating & shining like a lighthouse beacon as he was trying to get himself in better position for a shot.
 
AGGGRRHHHH!!! So close, but so far.  I could scream, I could cry, I was  angry at my neighbor and at myself for both being so stupid. My neighbor was sure the bird went away because I hadn't called enough.  "You had him coming, then you just quit." He looked at me shaking his head, like I was an idiot. Jim's turkey hunting rule #1 was formed that very second in my brain. 
 
Rule 1.  Never take someone turkey hunting that is not at least half as dedicated to turkey hunting as you are.
 
My turkey hunting adventure got spoiled because of this brown-clad nimrod...and he is sure I'm the screw-up. We barely spoke as we walked back toward our houses, each thinking the other was a fool. It was also the last time we ever hunted together.
 
It took me a few more years to take my first gobbler, a willing two year old that fell to that same Stevens single shot. He gobbled, I called, he walked into easy range, & I dropped him. It was nowhere near as exciting as my first hunt, but a thrill none the less. I practiced calling at every opportunity and it eventually cost me a girlfriend in the process.  I would go sit & listen to turkeys, then try to mimic what I'd just heard.  I also learned about movement and not over-calling. Too much of either would end the hunt in a bad way in a hurry. I called in 6 more gobblers for friends to take before I ever shot another one myself, learning the ropes along the way.  Now, I hunt with just a few others on as prime a piece of turkey hunting land as I can afford.  I don't want a cure for this obsession within me. I just wish I could afford to travel to other states to enjoy more chances to turkey hunt.
 
Jim
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turkeyinme
 
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RE: Forum Seeks First-Timers

Postby turkeyinme » May 8th, 2009, 3:20 am

The very first day of our season I went out by myself.  I saw 3 jakes at 25 yards and I passed on them- holding out for a better kill.  Well I hadn't seen one since then and thought I had blown my only chance at a bird.  Good thing I was wrong.
 
So Friday morning my husband and I got up at 2:30am, got ourselves ready and headed over to our friend's house.  So we arrive at the friend's home at 3:30am and the men pack up and head out.  I get in my vehicle and head to my hunting spot alone.  When I get there I have to get into my hunting gear because I had worn street clothes over to our friend's.  So I finally get all my camo on and ready, put my shells into my 20 gauge and head down to the field.  I set 2 decoys out, one at 15 yards and another at 30 yards and get into the blind.  I am now ready for hunt, not bad, it is now 4:05 am. 
 
At 4:45 am I hear my first gobble.  I get out my handy hen call and make a muffled purr.  Another gobble, neither of them sounds very close...oh well.  I purr quietly again and wait.  The day starts to wake.  The birds start chirping and you can hear the loons down at the lake.  Crows start blaring out their call and another gobble, this one sounding off not too far in front of me.  I do another muffled purr and cluck.  I check my watch it is now about 5:15am.  I hear gobbles in the far distance and the sound of crows calling.  I decide to start calling out the gobblers that I can so vividly hear.  I start a cluck, purr, and then call. 
 
Suddenly I hear a whooshing of a bird flying down from the roost.  It lands about 60 yards from me.  It stands there for a moment looking my way and I am like a statue, barely moving, barely breathing.  My heart pounds out of my chest.  At this point I can't tell if it is male or female.  The bird moves and I can see that it has a beard.  Looks to me like maybe a jake, but that is okay with me about now.  I am 2 weeks into my season.  I have gone out probably 8 mornings, getting up between 2:30 - 3 am and looking forward to the season ending prosperously and sleeping in until at least 6 am.  I give my call a good sounding and he's still looking my way, walks a few yards and stops again.  I sit still continuing to watch him.
 
He decides my decoys don't look all that appealing and he heads parallel to me, still at a distance of about 60 yards.  He's heading to the stone wall to hop over into the next field.  Now to give you a picture of how this is looking- I set my blind in a field, the back next to the stone wall.  Along the edge of the stone wall is a row of trees and shrubs.  I had set the blind in a position that if a male had made its way behind me, I could open the back window and shoot through an opening in the brush.  Right now I am thinking it is a good thing that I had thought of that possibility. 
 
Well, while he is crossing over the stone wall, I figure it's a good time to start closing some open windows and open some closed ones, trying strategically to determine what would make the least amount of noise with the greatest chances of success.  I open the small window to my back so that there was a 4 x 12 in space to shoot through.  I make just a 5 in opening in the zipper to the window just left of it- just a peeking hole.  I finally see him come into view and he is still walking away from me and the decoys.  I pick up my gun and snap off the safety.  Good thing he wasn't moving all that quickly.  I look at my sights.  Fiber optic sights- okay, okay got to remember keep the sights horizontal- got to keep them all lined up- repeating this it seems 3 or 4 times.  I find my target.  I keep thinking, "Got to remember the neck, the neck".  I pull the trigger- "bam" goes the shot gun.  Smoke rolls from the barrel and I see my target drop to the ground.  I glance at my watch.  It reads 5:30am.
 
Now I am so excited, I feel like vomiting.  He does not move.  I quickly unzip the door to the blind and head to my bird.  I get to my bird and what a surprise!  A good looking tom laying there, spinal column severed just above the body.  The head lays disproportional to its body.  I let out a hoot and inspect my bird.  He has a 9 1/2 in beard and 1 in spurs, nice.  I look back to the blind and realize it was quite a distance.  Hmmm I wonder how far it was exactly.  I decide the tom wasn't going anywhere, so I walk back to the blind, picking up the decoys on the way.  I pack up all my gear that I slough after I had set up, this includes a range finder.  I keep the range finder in my hand and with all my gear packed; I walk back to the bird.  Yup didn't move and it was completely expired.  I stand next to the bird and put the range finder to my face and click it on.  I focus on the blind and take a measurement.   It shows, 48 yards.  I click it again, 49 yards.  I then focus on the stone wall that is in front of the blind.  Click, 50 yards.  I click again on the stone wall, 50 yards.  Wow! 50 yards with a 20 gauge, no one will believe it.  I pick up my bird and head to the truck.
 
I called my husband and told him the news.  He says, "Great!  Looks like we were both successful."  He asked when I got mine and I told him and he tells me that he got his at 5:15am, even before mine came out of the roost.  Nice.  He had an adventure all his own but we will save that for another time.  So we both have our birds and the season is over for us.  We never did get mine officially weighed but approximate it at 16-18 lbs.   My husband had weighed and measured his bird, 21 lbs., 9 in beard, 1 in spurs.  We are both very happy with the season.  He still didn't quite believe that I had shot him at 50 yards so we headed back to my hunting spot.  We get to the blood spot in the field where he had laid.  He foot measures the distance and gets to the stone wall in front of the blind.  He says, "I can't believe it, 50 yards".  I said, "Well I told you I measured it with the range finder.... Hello!?!  He claims this was just plain luck, I think maybe he doesn't want to feel out done.  A friend writes that my husband sure can shoot.  I think I just proved that I am pretty good as well.  Just for minor information, not a pellet was found in the breast meat and boy was he good!
 
 
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RE: Forum Seeks First-Timers

Postby cbradshoot1 » May 8th, 2009, 5:31 pm

My 6 year old son Hayden got his first turkey this year and I'm so glad to have been able to be with him on his first ever hunt. Not only did he score his first bird on the opening day of the KY youth hunt this year, but his bird was on the groung less than an hour after first light. Even more, he now holds the family (if not state of KY) record for the best bird for his age group. His Tom weighed in at 27lbs 4 oz. Good weight for an Eastern,... but there's more. Both spurs were identical at 1" even and nicely shaped. But to make a first bird an even better trophey, God blessed him with a Double beard as well. The main rope,... and I mean ROPE, measured 11 1\2" and the smaller was 8 1\2" for the grand total of 20 glorious inches!!  How is he ever gonna top this, I don't know. But what I do know is that he's always wanting to go hunting to try to find another and his Dad is extremely proud!
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Ben Sobieck
 
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RE: Forum Seeks First-Timers

Postby Ben Sobieck » May 11th, 2009, 10:42 am

Wow, great stories guys. Keep 'em coming!

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Ben Sobieck
 
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RE: Forum Seeks First-Timers

Postby Ben Sobieck » May 12th, 2009, 5:40 am

Here are some photos sent in by a reader. This is Kourtney R. with her first Rio.



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Ben Sobieck
 
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RE: Forum Seeks First-Timers

Postby Ben Sobieck » May 12th, 2009, 5:42 am

And here's Kourtney with her first double-beard.



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mark hay
 
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RE: Forum Seeks First-Timers

Postby mark hay » May 13th, 2009, 12:10 pm

My first SUCCESSFUL  turkey hunt took place in '88. I was cut off by a gobbler before my first series of loud yelps were finished . I told my dad I thought we should close the gap a little . We lit out on  brisk walk . Hadn't gone 20 yards when dad says sit down and net up . I obeyed the command , except for the ''net up '' part . I didn't have a net . What I had was a green ''T shirt '' with the neck sewn shut and eye holes cut . Anyhow , I made sure dad was ready and let out another series of yelps and was rudely cut off again . Now I can see this white spot bouncing through the green briars and coming fast . The best I can remember I just kept quiet and let him run on in . He didn't stop until he made the big log that was out in front of me , dad being off to my left . When the gobbler reached the log he just jumped right up on it and went into strut . I could only see the back half due to a large tree between the bird and me . I  yelped and he gobbled and my dad dropped the hammer on his little modified choked 20 ga.
 My excitement was unreal to say the least . I jumped up and ran to the bird and of course grabbed his legs , being a greenhorn . Yes , it laid my thumb open with its 3/4 inch spurs .
As we were talking , laughing and replaying the events of the previous minutes another gobbler began gobbling down in the holler . And like  a durn fool I thought I should close the gap . There wasn't any leaves on anything and I'm near positive that the second gobbler saw me moving .
 There were few birds in those big hills of pike county and those gobblers were hot to trot . I messed up a perfectly good chance to kill my first bird in the same spot my dad killed his only bird .
 But , that's turkey hunting . Learning from mistakes .
 That seems like it was yesterday , an I can still see that white head bouncing , hear his thunderous gobbles , and the pop of that little 20 ga.
I've learned a bunch since then , AND I'M STILL LEARNING .


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