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!