Friday, July 6, 2012

New Jersey Turkey Week C: Finally - A Turkey

Monday's rain prevented me from hunting, but I awoke this morning with focus. I was up at 4:00 AM and was in the turkey woods at 4:45. With legal shooting time coming around 5:30, I still felt pressed for time.

I had about a 10-minute walk to my hunting spot where I figured birds would be roosting. I crept in quietly, but still managed to spook about 10 deer. Seeing a good spot, I set out my decoys and placed my ground cushion against a tree. Around 5:45 AM, I heard gobbling about 70 yards to my left.

There were at least 2 birds gobbling, so I answered with some soft tree calls. Every time I called, I would get gobbles in return. Things were looking good.

I saw one bird fly down from its roost tree at about 6:15. After that, things were silent for about 5 minutes. I heard some clucking, so I began purring, cutting, and yelping on my slate call. I then heard two turkeys gobbling big time -- and heading my way. Because the birds were to the left of where I thought they would be roosting, I had to move a bit. After moving, I could no longer see my decoys because of bushes. However, the decoys still seem to be in the turkeys' lines of sight. Since I didn't want to risk being seen, I switched to my diaphragm call. I yelped a couple times, and the turkeys came running.

I saw the turkeys moving behind a bush at 20 yards. I aimed my gun just passed the bush, made one more call, and watched the first turkey step out. I saw his smallish beard, but since I had no meat in the freezer (and because I had to go to work), I squeezed the trigger. BOOM! He fell in his tracks. I then saw his companion, a jake, run the other way.

I quickly jumped up to retrieve the turkey. He was shot perfectly. I checked him in at Bradways (15 lbs, 4.5-inch beard, 1/2-inch spurs), returned home to shower and change, and was at work by 9:45 AM. Not a bad morning's work. I can now sleep in (at least until 6:00 AM) the rest of week!

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