Well fellas thanks for the prayers...unfortunately the cards were not in my favor. Joe, remember that piece of advice about going to your first setup that feels right...well of course I did not follow it, lol...and I paid for it too. I'm getting pretty good at figuring out roosting sites without seeing them fly-up...so good in fact I managed to plop down not 10 yards from the tree those birds where roosting in. In doing so I had to do a little cross country trekking so I was probably louder than I should of been and in being honest the reason why I did not go with my first setup was because it was uncomfortably close to the backyard property line. Anyway, no sooner I find a suitable tree and sit down I start hearing this weird soft putting noise...I'm thinking to myself,,,what bird is making...UH OH...and the whooosh, flap, flap, flap...two birds fly off the roost headed for the adjacent farm property...BUSTED GAME OVER!!! So then I had a decision to make...do I try to go after these birds, circle around and try to cut them off, or run and gun? I chose to run and gun because they were spooked so trying to chase'em down and not knowing if there were other hunters in the woods was probably a bad idea...I could have circled around but I decided to try some running and gunning...if for no other reason than I've not really done it. So i waited a few mins then got up and marched up the hill. I won't say i was stealthy, but I was cautious and deliberate and mixed up my calling. I got no responses, which is what I expected. Then I doubled back to the original setup from last week and parked it there for a half hour...nothing. Then I went across road thinking they may have headed that way...setup and went into an aggressive series of yelps, clucks, and purrs...no response. At that point I ended the hunt because I had to go to work, but as I drove down the road a little further I saw a hen in the woods across the road and the area she crossed would have coincided with the area where I busted them off the roost. So in hind sight I probably should have circled back around or as Joe calls it Hook and run, but the reality is they generally don't cross that side and get into that area until after 0900, and I'm on my way to work by then.
This piece of public/private land these birds call home is a tricky piece and its no wonder this Tom has survived for so many years...its not easy to get back to, and their roost/strut zones are sandwiched in between private parcels, so taking into account the legal standoff required and other factors, it makes for a difficult hunt..and these birds know it! Its going to take some special consideration and tactics to pull this guy from his hens and get him to come to you...in an area that is further away than he probably likes.
I may have a slim window of opportunity to get in there tomorrow, but I'm guessing since I spooked them off the roost, and this Tom is smart, he probably won't be roosting in the same spot...and if I do go it will probably be on the other side of the road and just in the treeline, so I can see them coming, at which point I could do a delay and defend type tactic...reality is though my season is over [:'(].
As I mentioned previously though, this season has been a huge learning curve for me, and one full of great memories and experiences. I've learned something just about every time I'm out. I had some great encounters, took a couple long shots (literally) that did not pay off, but for sure I'm a better hunter for it. Most of all I've made some great friends here, and I can't thank you all enough for your patience, understanding, and willingess to help a stranger out...it speaks volumes about your character as hunters and decent human beings. I'll probably spend the next month tweaking my setup and repatterning my shotgun...did not get a chance to resolve that issue fully and I don't want to wait until next spring for that. Aside from that, its time to perform some needed maint on my gear, a deep cleaning on the shotgun, then pack it all away, ready to go at it next spring. I'll keep a call or two handy though for practice [;)]
Fall Bow Season is around the corner, and the fish are biting...so you all won't see me as much here , but can catch me on D&DH...but I'll pop in from time to time. You all are good people so I'm not sure I can stay away until next season anyway, lol[:D]. For anyone whose season has not ended, best of luck..keep at'em!!!