Thursday, July 5, 2012
The Well-Dressed Turkey Hunter -- and Other Turkey Hunting Updates
Monday, April 21
I met my friend Curt at a New Jersey turkey hunting spot Monday morning around 5:00 AM. We each set up in spots where we have seen turkeys. We heard turkeys gobbling around us at first light, but when they flew down from their roosts, they walked away from us. Monday's hunt was uneventful.
Tuesday Morning, April 22
I went to a new turkey hunting spot today. I set up on the edge of a big woods around 5:00 AM, and by 5:30 I heard gobbling from nearby trees. From what I could tell, I heard at least three different birds gobbling from 75 to 150 yards away. I moved closer to the gobbles and heard the birds fly down from their roosts. The toms answered my calls, but I could tell they were walking away from me. I walked toward the direction of the gobbles and came across a freshly disked crop field. The turkeys had already made their way to the middle of the field -- about 250 yards from me. There was no way for me to get to them without being seen. There was a HUGE tom in the group. He was in full strut almost all morning, but since there were hens with him and a few other jakes or toms around, he had no reason to respond to my calling. Rather than trying to play to these birds, I decided to head to the other turkey hunting spot I have been targeting for the past several days.
I arrived at the other spot and called for a few minutes. I received no answers to my calls, and I saw no birds. Seeing no opportunities for turkeys on this day, I returned to my truck to change into my work clothes. (Keep in mind most of my hunts occur from 5:00 AM to 8:00 AM, then I head to work.) Just my luck. As I was changing, I saw 7 or 8 turkeys cross the road in front of me about 150 yards away! There were a couple hens, but there were at least 4 gobblers! Like a lunatic, I quickly through my camo on over my dress slacks and oxford shirt. Not having time to put my boots on, I grabbed my gun and turkey vest, and sprinted toward the woods ahead of the birds. Like a mocassined Indian, I walked though leaves, sloshed through mud, and climbed over branches in my black Bostonian cap-toes. I began calling on the edge of a field opposite the birds, and they gobbled back! Things were looking good!
I called some more, but then hens started yelping (instead of toms gobbling). The yelps got softer, and I realized the birds were walking across the road, directly to a protected area. I ran back to my truck and drove down the road where the turkeys just crossed. While driving, I saw all of the turkeys 2 yards off the road in the woods! They were just pecking and scratching and could care less about my truck. I parked and ran to the woods on the legal side of the road with hopes of calling them back across the road. Content with the hens they already had, the turkeys had no intention of coming to my lone call. I could see the turkeys on the shoulder of the opposite side of the road, but I refused to shoot. While the opportunity was tempting, I decided to avoid unethically shooting the birds across a road and on protected land. Invigorated but dejected, I sloshed my way back to my truck and headed for work.
Tuesday Evening, April 22
Around 7:00 PM, I met Curt and Paul at my morning turkey hunting spot with hopes of roosting some gobblers. By 8:00, we heard gobbles and pinpointed their locations. We made a plan to set up on the birds in the morning.
Wednesday, April 23 3:45 AM
My alarm went off, and I awoke with another headache. My exhausted body defeated my mind, and I went back to sleep. I just couldn't hunt this morning.
Wednesday, April 23 9:30 AM
Curt and Paul called me. Unlike me, they showed up to hunt this morning. Paul informed that the turkeys followed the exact routine we thought they would. He then told me that he harvested a nice tom with a 10.5-inch beard. To make matters worse, there were two toms together when he shot. If we set up together, we each would have harvested one! Congratulations to him, but shame on me! Again, my luck has to change soon! I will post photos of his turkey when I get them.