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  • If Only

    If only I had been on the other side of the tree, I would have gotten him.
    Ran into a gentleman last night at church that I knew had a good farm for turkey hunting, I asked him if anyone turkey hunted his land (knew he deer hunted) and his response was of course no. I decided to push for more info and inquired on why, and got an answer I did not expect 'no one has ever asked me', well I replied 'I am asking now'. He thinks for a minute and replies 'You can hunt on a couple of conditions' they are 1. Tell no one where you are hunting, I don't want a hundred phone calls asking permission. 2. Stop by the house and show my father anything you harvest. 3. I get one breast if you get one. We agreed and he gave me a quick rundown of the land and possible turkey haunts.
    The wife and I decide it is best to get there earlier than normal and to leave the pop-up behind just in case we have to do some running around. We get there well before light and ease to where we where told the most sign has been seen and pull up a tree and have a seat.
    I am awakened around 6:15 by the sounds of thunder, and I don't mean a storm was approaching. I come to my senses and start to check out my surroundings and try to remember where I am at, and BAM he hits it again then another bird sounds off. By this time my heart is pounding and my wife and I can't beleive we are set up on two different birds on a farm we have not seen in the daylight until now.
    One bird is on the edge of a swamp to our left and the other is on a ridge to our right, one on left is only about 75 yards away, one on right is a good 150 yards, so we focus on the bird to the left. I run off a few tree yelps with answers from both birds. I hush up some and let them both stew a little, have had to many times in the early season to much calling brings in to many hens. I hear a fly down but still hear both toms on roost gobbling away, I know we are in trouble now, HENS.
    I begin my calling sequence and still get answers from both birds and they are on the ground. My wife and I begin to hear the hens off to the right, we think this could not get any better, we are set up to take the bird on the left, the hens are with the bird on the right PERFECT. And then it happens.
    The bird to the left begins to gobble off in the wrong direction and the hens start to pop out on the path to my right, at 35 yards. Now I am peeping around the tree over my right shoulder watching hen after hen come out on the path and I catch the movement of a fan in the edge of the woods. Unable to move, whether to shoot or to let my wife know what is going on (she can not see them), I sit and watch as he does his dance and the ladies pay him no mind for the next 45 minutes. The hens, all six of them, begin to led him off away from us and our decoys. It is now or never to get the gun around and make the shot, but it is never that easy.
    Unable to let my wife know what was going on, she was in the same boat, she could not let me know there was a jake 15 yards from her that I could not see. He was there the whole time, I guess tring to slip in and steal one of the boss' girls. I begin to make my move when I hear PLOCK, PLOCK, as we all know what happened next the hens, jake and tom are gone.
    My wife turns and looks at me and says 'What are you doing, it was just a jake, I know you weren't going to shoot a jake with all that gobbling we heard'. She had no idea that I had been sitting here watching a nice tom strut around with six hens at 35-40 yards away for the last 45 minutes and unable to get a clear shot.
    I explain everything I had seen that she did not, and we were only seperated by 3 feet, and she tells me about the jake. I tell her IF ONLY I HAD BEEN ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TREE.
    I now wish we would have taken the blind, it would have allowed the movement I needed to get the shot, but hind sight is always 20/20. We will try him again, hopefully the hens will leave him soon and he will want to take a ride in my truck.
    Good luck to everyone, be safe, and have a Happy Easter and God Bless.
    Yep, I hope that yall can get back there and coax him to take that pick-up truck ride.
    Outsmarted Again
    Ok, short and to the point. Same spot, same bird, this time I had the blind and was ready. Heard eight different birds sound off on roost, scattered all over farm. Only have time for a morning hunt due to prior commitments, and this bird sounds off only once and is no further than 75 yards away, I know I got em now. Wife and I watch as he flies down (70 yards away) then a hen then another hen. He struts around, chases the hens and getts no closer than 59 yards (range finder helps). I tried every trick in the book, tried calling at hens, tried gobbling at him, nothing worked. Hens lead him off once again. We get another bird answering and coming to us and guess what, a hen comes out just a clucking as loud as I have ever heard and heads straight to him, he is gone. Will try him later in season when hens leave him alone
    I know your pain. I have not had much success in closing the deal this year. A buddy had some deer come in between him and four toms on Saturday. Getting a turkey means everything works out right!
    My Story
    Jeff, been the story for the past two years. Last year the wife and I hunted hard all season, with one miss leading up to the last two days. We both took off tthe Friday before the close and squeezed out a double both days to tag out for the season, the photo of the last bird was time stamped 7:14pm on the last afternoon. Last years stats-Friday Me: Double beard 11 1/2' and 8' Her: 9' Saturday Her: 11 1/2' (1st solo bird) Me: 11'. We have done it in short notice before but I don't like making a habit of it. Luckly she got one on opening day to take some of the pressure off. We have had birds in our sights everyday we have hunted (thanks to some great land) but hens have gotten us every time except once-opening day. Could have taken several jakes but have let them slide for a while. We will get em sooner or later, just hope for the sooner
    Still Happening
    fnf....Alot of people think that with all the green-up thats it's about over but nothing is further from the truth...Yeah Some hens are nesting BUT some are still being breed each day and what you and myself are dealing with with these hens is typical early season Gobbler Hunting. I have also had several incounters with Jakes sneaking in hoping to steal 1 away from the Boss but as we know...This years Jakes are next years Longbeards and thats what trips my trigger is a Loud Mouth 2 year old or better yet 3 or 4 year old LOL. I told myself that i'm going to start facing the other way each time i call because like you...The last several incounters i have had the Gobblers came in BEHIND me lol. Stick with it....I know i'll see your guys success posted as you will mine (I Hope). With a 9 year old Daughter and a park close by, its hard to get out there as much as i would like and i'm not gonna make her go sit in the 80 degree woods with me but I'm hitting them hard again the rest of the season each chance i get....Wish i had land like you guys have to hunt...I'm hunting public land where less is more when it comes to calling but past success tells me to stick with it....I know the Gobblers are there, Just gotta wait till they wanna play....Turkey Hunting is 10% Know-how and 90% luck sometimes................Limp-Feathers
    Thanks For Sharing (Great Story)
    Thanks for sharing the experience. I love seeing photos and hearing stories of a successful hunt, but stories about the ones that got away are just as good. At least you have a good idea of where to go next, and hopefully the next story will be about that strutting Tom going home with you. Seasonís not over yet, and good luck.