Thursday, July 5, 2012

Remembering a Turkey Hunt

Got up at 3:00 AM this morning to turkey hunt Season A of the New Jersey Wild Turkey hunting season. After yesterday's ordeal, I was chomping at the bit.

I met my buddy Tom M. at 4:00 AM, and we drove to the turkey woods. We were in position by 5:00 AM, set up where we observed two big gobblers last week. We did some calling before dawn and some more after dawn, but we got no response. We heard no birds and saw no birds. By 6:30, we decided to move locations.

By 7:20, I heard a gobble in the distance. I set up on the ground with my back to a tree, and Tom set up about 10 yards away. He was calling for me, so he has a bit behind my location. I heard the turkey respond to Tom's calls, but it sounded like the turkey was walking all over the place. I heard him in the woods, then in the field, then back in the woods, and then in the field again! The second time I heard the gobbles in the field, I knew he was coming toward our calls. I heard a loud gobble, and saw him walking through some tall weeds at the edge of the field. He stepped into the woods cautiously, and held up for a bit. He was about 40 yards from me, but I had no shot through the trees.

Tom could not see the bird, so he just watched my trigger finger. When he saw me get down on my 12-gauge and take the safety off, he knew the bird was close. However, I just needed the bird to walk about 5 more yards! Tom noticed my hesitation and clucked a few times on his slate call. This was just enough for the turkey to take about 10 more steps into a SMALL clearing between 2 trees. I aimed my gun between the 2 trees (which were about 2 feet from the turkey) and squeezed the trigger. The turkey dropped.

I marched the shot distance off, and we determined the shot was about 35 yards. I was quite impressed that my choke tube and Remington Heavy Shot Turkey Loads (1.5 oz. number 5s) held the pattern together for the shot. There were 2 or 3 pellets in the two trees that were in front of the turkey, but all in all, most of the shot hit the target.

The turkey was a jake that weighed 16.5 pounds and had a 6.5-inch beard.

There is meat in the freezer. I can now be choosy with my next bird!

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