Started the day hunting the same blind I hunted opening day. It is in the saddle of a ridge that runs North-South which has another ridge that runs into this one, sort of a two for one deal. Almost 50 years ago loggers chose that spot to set up their mill and all that remains is dark pulpy soil (and loads of turkey sign). Most of the surrounding timber was since cut-over less than 15 years ago and there are some trees that were left which may be 35 years old that are about the same diameter of a power pole (cedars & dogwoods). The area 150 yards beyond the old sawdust pile was selective cut last summer and that meets a 15 year old cut-over. It goes from wide open visibility to 45 foot at best in the space of one logging road.
The Turkeys don't have a problem getting around in any part of it at all. They are just at home in the wide open as the ultra-thick vegetation.
What we are finding is that the birds are still tending to use the same terrain (ridges, draws, knolls, creek bottoms, etc.) if trees are there or not. The turkeys are not tending to spend as much time in the open as they used to when that same area was wooded. Why that is, I'm not sure.
The Landowner was set up in a blind that E.P. had taken a nice Gobbler from last Saturday northwest of me. He go on the radio about 6:18 and said he had one gobbling behind him (I couldn't hear). It gobbled perhaps two dozen times (some of which I heard). We both heard another one between us that moved southwest like he knew where he wanted to go.The Landowner had two hens walk down a logging road beside his location , then a gang of 3 Jakes crossed in range ( Jakes get a free pass at our lease).
About 8:20 I heard a gobble to the southeast of my location which I cutt and yelped back to right away. The gobbler responded a few times and was getting closer. I radioed the Landowner that I was going off the radio for a time because I was working a bird (He couldn't hear). Perhaps 15 minutes later a Jake came in from the east and crossed in front of me @ 8 yards. He stopped behind some trees and I could tell he was looking for the hen. I was disappointed that it was a Jake, but the more I thought about it, the gobble I heard didn't sound like it came from a young Gobbler. About that time, the Jake started moving to my left again, looking nervous and I could hear something behind me approaching from over my right shoulder. The Jake hopped up in the air and kicked it into high gear and I could hear spitting and drumming very close behind me. My heart started pounding. Mentally, I composed myself to make sure I would be ready and would not get ahead of myself & screw this opportunity up. I could hear the Gobbler's wingtips dragging through the crunching leaves less than 20 feet behind me as his drumming sounds reverberated in my own chest. I hoped he could not hear me swallow as I tried to do so quietly. He passed all the way behind me to the west, then drifted back into the thicker young pines, and back-tracked the direction he'd come from spitting and drumming along the way. When he dropped off the ridge toward the creek bottom, he gobbled again. I answered back with a light purr and couple of clucks and scratched the leaves on the ground beside me. As quickly and loudly as the next gobble followed, I knew he was going to come have a second look. I swung slightly to the east and continued to scratch the leaves beside me. He gobbled again, even closer now. I went ahead and switched the safety off because it was fixin' to happen. I expected to see his head come up over the crest of the ridge any second.
About that time I caught movement across the sawdust pile where I can see the farthest, perhaps 50 yards to the north. I rolled my eyes to catch glimpses of a hen crossing through the trees in the saddle in the ridge. She let out a couple of yelps and I could hear him start to spit and drum again. All the calling I had done had enticed a real hen to want to hook up with this Gobbler and I'm sure he was happy to oblige. Looks like I did them both a favor. Cut N Run Dating Service... They never knew I was there either. It was pretty intense and exhilarating, but disappointing at the same time.
That was as close as I got today (you can't get much closer and not connect) . I would have at least liked to get a good look at him. I hope I get to see him next weekend...by then all the hens should be setting and I hope not to have interference. I have a new choke tube I wanted to try out on something besides paper. If it does to turkeys what it does to paper...yikes!
I saw one other hen at around 9:30 going through the saddle to the east and one other hen about 11:45 doing the same thing. With that, I called it a day.
Maybe next time. It sure was fun trying.