I am just sitting here reflecting on the mornings I was able to spend in the woods.
There is nothing closer to an 8 year old on Christmas morning, than a turkey hunter in the woods as the sun lights the horizon. There is something magical about easing into an area that you expect birds to be in, and hearing that first gobble crack the silence.
Nothing like it.
I think back to the mornings spent with my dad as he taught me how to hunt.
As I watched Pat's video, I was reminded of a turkey my dad shot when I was 10 or so. He had not shot but 1 turkey before. We had chased birds around for several years. Turkeys, and our properties, were few and far between in those days.
He shot this turkey one morning. We ran up to it and just stood there admiring its beauty. About that time it jumped up and disappeared in a FLASH!! I mean, it ran behind a bush and was gone. We just looked at each other like we had seen a ghost! Never found that bird. But we made sure that every bird that we shot after that, and to this day, we hop on and make sure it's dead!
Turkey hunting, hearing a bird wake the morning, is something that is deep within me. Relaxes me and sets me right in my mind.
Who else has a special memory or connection with turkey hunting?
In my blind right now waiting for that first gobble to echo across the fields. Nowhere else id rather be.....
One in particular was the longest shot I took on a turkey... about 40 yards. That isn't a terribly long shot these days it seems, but at the time I was pushing my maximum limit. Low and behold, I hit low and only wounded the bird. Luckily I was immediately on my feet to run him down. As I approached him in a hurry, he got off the ground and attempted to fly. I promptly wingshot him like a pheasant and was glad that I learned to run up on turkeys after the shot.
Now there is nothing in the turkey hunting world like trying to coax a tom in close for a well placed arrow... just me, my bow, the calls, and the sounds of the turkey in the timber. Sometimes it can be pretty frustrating too. ;^)
Great post. Oh yeah, I missed on what will likely be my only shot at a turkey this year too. Also questioning why I didn't take my opportunity to let one fly at a jake that was at as close a yardage as one can get to a gimme. One more day of hunting for me; maybe.
I enjoy deer hunting and duck hunting as well, but nothing gets me as excited as turkey hunting. While I admire the people that can set up on travel corridors and such and kill a silent gobbler, it's not for me. If I can't get one hot and gobbling, I move on down the line a bit until I strike one up. Something about that interaction that I just can't get enough of!!
Many memories in the woods with my brother and I running and gunning for them. We don't sit and wait for them, we cover a lot of ground to locate and setup. Fields are all private property so we have spent a lot of time trying to pull them into the woods. But the most special, was calling in a nice Tom for my 11 year old sons first bird this year. My brother and nephew filming in back of us as well to capture it all on video. It's a memory that we will all never forget and my son is hooked.
Thanks for the reminder deaver !
What I can never get over is how something with a brain the size of a pea can outsmart me again and again and again :) I zig, they zag. I zag the next day, then they zig. Eventually they zig and I zig though, and it's always fun!
He didn't have a shotgun, so I let him shoot one of mine. We took it to the range the day before, and I showed him how it was hitting a little low. So he needed to aim a little high.
The next morning we have a jake gobbling his fool head off. I am sitting at the same big oak as my buddy. I tell him to let the bird get about 5 steps closer then shoot him. He was holding it together pretty well until I told him that, then he went to breathing real heavy and I could see the shotgun barrel moving up and down about 6 inches with every breath! I told him to calm down and squeeze the trigger. Well, on the down stroke of the barrel(remember it was already hitting low) he let her rip! Shot the turkey in both legs. I get up and start running after the turkey. We were about 20 yards from a very deep creek bank and that bird was flapping with everything it had trying to get airborne, but couldn't get any lift with both legs broken.
I tackle him right before he dropped over the creek bank. We get him dispatched and head back to his parents house.
Now he didn't grow up hunting and neither did his parents. So we walk in the door, and like a lot of non-hunters will say, his mom asked if we "caught" anything. I had a huge smile on my face and said, "Jeremy shot it and I caught it!"
We still laugh over him hyperventilating at that bird to this day.
I get absolutlely obsessed with turkeys and hate when the season ends. Then I forget all about them and move onto Big Game like Elk, caribou. Then I forget all about them and move on to Deer. Then I forget all about deer and move onto coyotes in winter. Then I forget all about them and think about Turkeys and the cycle starts all over again.
I love hunting. There's something to kill damn near every day of the year.
The next morning I went back to that valley and shot my first turkey - with a shotgun - as all nine birds fed and gobbled about 20 yards away. That was my first and last time hunting them with a scattergun.
Your post hit home and I experienced many of the same emotions this season during a great hunt. Thanks for your thoughts.
There is something about it. I've called in too many to begin to count for other hunters. I've killed too many to count in a lot of states. Yet, tomorrow if I were to get to go, I'd be a shaking mess if I got one close. The gobbles flip a switch in me. I hear them and it instantly becomes a concentrated, efficient effort to hunt them. I'll leave one ridge top, drop 900-1000' down, then straight back up however far I need to go in order to get even or above them on the other ridge. I have never not went after one as long as I had permission to do so where they were gobbling. I've carried dead ones 5 to 6 miles. I'm just driven to do it. I'd never hunt another animal if I had to make that choice, just to spring gobbler hunt. It's in my blood. Just something I can't really explain other than to say I LOVE it.
God Bless men
Your post also makes me reflect on my first turkey and that day, that I heard my first gobble. I had learned the week prior how to make a 3-5 note yelp on a diaphragm call. My next door neighbor had turkeys on his place and invited me down to his land near Sulphur, OK. We had taken in all the info on turkey hunting that we possibly could from friends, hunting companions and a fella that ran the local Surplus store in Norman. His advice... "Look for the tall trees around the creeks and listen at daylight for gobbles." Then what? "Well, if you hear one, sit down and make a few yelps and see if he responds." That is exactly what we did, except my friend went to one side of the property and myself the other.
At daylight, sure enough, a gobble! I sat down by a small sapling and some bushy trees and made a very tentative call. Boom! He cut me off! He seemed a long ways off, but I was wrong! When I made another half hearted yelp, he double and then triple gobbled, cutting me off in the process, again. Next thing you know, he was bearing down on me at 50 yards.... that red/white/blue head was so vibrant! He ended up walking right up to my gun barrel at less than 10 yards and took some shot to the face! It was all over in less than 30 minutes. Less than an hour later, I caught up with my buddy and we called him one up as well. An amazing morning that started a fire of going to 5 different states to hunt these birds over the next ten years. That fire is reserved for whitetails more so nowadays.
Thanks for the thread, made me reminisce. :)
Turkeys were reintroduced back into my area of iowa back in the mid 70s & they opened up a season for them in 1979. Back then, you used to have to apply to try and draw a tag for one. My Dad and I decided that we wanted to give it a try. Fortunately, we both drew tags. We both knew next to nothing about how to hunt them (no videos or shows back then) so I read everything I could about how to go about it. We bought 2 box calls and some WW2 camo. Even put camo tape on the shotguns (big mistake)! I remember reading about them having almost X-ray vision, so I even went so far as to take a black magic marker and color the silver boot lace hooks on my waffle stomper hikers so as not to scare them off into the next county!
We roosted a whole pile of birds one evening and I told Dad that he should set up on those birds the next morning and I would go over to our other property about a mile away and try to get near where we would often hear other birds roost. We headed out about 4:15 in the am, Dad to a spot on the edge of the field near the roosted birds, and I headed to the other spot, hoping to get some birds to respond and figure out where to set up.
I couldn't get a single bird to gobble, but I could hear all the birds near Dad gobbling their heads off, so I decided that there were plenty of birds over there for two guys and headed that direction. I knew where Dad was set up, so, somehow I managed to slip in on the flat about 150 yds from him without blowing the birds out.
As soon as it was light enough, I could hear Dad's calling on his box call (Ben Lee he ain't)! I started calling as well(I wasn't much better) but the birds seemed to buy it, gobbling each time we called. I'll bet there were at least 8-9 toms in the bunch! Finally, they all flew down different directions and only one bird ended up near us. He was down over the hill on the abandoned RR tracks that ran through our timber. We continued calling to this bird and he would always answer, but he stayed down on the tracks the entire time. He would work his way down the tracks to straight below Dad's location, then I would call and he would work his way to straight below me. We could only hear him, but couldn't see him because we were up too far over the edge of the ravine to be able see down to the tracks. He did this for 2 hours!
Finally, I remembered reading something about going silent on a responsive bird, so I quit calling to him. Either it was a fluke or it actually worked, because within 5-10 minutes that bird started coming up the hill from straight below me, gobbling every 15 seconds! I got my gun pointed in his direction and as he crested the hill, I let him have it. He went down and went to flopping everywhere, so I let him have it again, then ran over and stepped on his neck till he stopped.
As I stood there admiring my very first turkey, I heard what sounded like a bulldozer coming through the brush towards me. It was my Dad, and he was mad as heck until he saw it was me!, then a big smile appeared! He thought somebody else had snuck in and ruined his hunt. He said he could hear the calls from my direction, but didn't realize it was me.
I'll never forget that morning as long as I live, and it always brings a smile to Dad's face whenever that hunt is mentioned:-)