Please Sign In

New To Sportsman Network?
  • GOT ONE!

    So, on the last day of turkey season, I finally get my first turkey!

    Been so close so many times. Shot at one who did a back flip and flew away over my head into the trees, should have taken a shot at two others on two different occasions, but didn't.

    Spent time in the wind and rain getting wet and cold, but never got it done.

    And during the times that my nephew would go with me - althought I am pretty sure it is just coincidence - we usually wouldn't even hear a turkey, much less see one.

    I have a theory about that too: He tromps too loudly or hardley picks his feet up when he walks. I wear full facemask, gloves and face paint, his hands are bare and his mesh face net is very thin. I put all my camo on before we walk away from the truck, he waits til we get seated to put on his mask. I turn my head very slowly and look out the corners of my eyes alot - he will turn his whole body around to look.

    Anyways, back to my kill.

    I had set up between two fields. They are about 50 yards apart , and seperated by moderatly dense woods with natural paths through them. One is planted with corn that is about 4 or 5 inches high, the other has about 3 foot high grass. Not planted grass, just your average wild, weedy stuff.

    I'm sitting and hear a gobble. I wait a bit and hear another gobble, so I shake my gobble call and the turkey responds immediatly. I play with my slate call a few times and get all kinds of responce from the turkey.

    After a while, I realize that he isn't coming any closer, so I get up and creep towards where he's calling from. I end up at the edge of the wild grass field and sit under a low hanging oak tree branch.
    I hear him every now and then, and hear another way off behind that field. After a while, I see a head stick up from the middle of the field. He's about 60 to 70 yards away. For the next 45 minutes, we go back and forth. He'd walk a little closer , fan out, make a gobble, then walk back the other way. He probably walked a 30' diameter circle, but that was as far as he was going.

    SO, I'm thinking: What the hell!It's the last day of the season, I haven't shot anything else so far...... I have nothing to loose.

    With that, I got down on my stomach and crawled about 40 yards through wet grass that was about 3 foot tall. Every now and then. I'd raise up a bit when I was behind a thick clump of grass and take a peek. Mr Turkey was still right in the same area.

    When I finally got within 15 to 20 yards of him, I pointed and shot. He fell over, kicked his legs once or twice - and that was it!

    Now, I am honestly thinking I enjoyed the stalking part better than bagging one. The fact that I had to crawl across a field in the grass on my stomach, and that I was able to sneak up that close to him without ever alerting or startling him is pretty damn awesome.

    I mean, yeah, shooting and bagging him was pretty great, but the stalking somehow makes it way better!

    So now I have a few questions:

    I saw him in the grass with what looked to be a 7 or 8 inch beard, yet, when I rolled him over, it was maybe 3' long. Looks like the ends were singed. Kinda balled up and a caramelish tan color on the ends. Kinda like when I singe the hairs on my arms when too close to a camp fire.

    So I guess it is possible a pellet of two somehow tore through his beard? Or was I just seeing what I wanted to see instead of what was really there?

    His head and neck were redder than a fire truck when I shot him, but now his neck is a pale blueish white. I guess the heart stops and so does the blood pumping in his body. I mean, I know fish will loose their color after a while and animal eyes will cloud over, but I though the neck would still be reder than it was.

    Now, this turkey weren't no huge record breaking tom by any means, but wasn't no runt either. Maybe a really big jake? I don't know, but he don't have any spurs at all!

    I even entertained the possibility that it was a bearded hen, but if so.....does a bearded hen strut, fan out and gobble?

    I enjoyed the season, learned more from being out there than anything I read or watched, and enjoyed being in nature even when I didn't get anything.

    Except that day in the cold windy rain. That day just sucked! Just sayin!

    So, looking forward to next year and plan on getting that huge one I have seen on many occasions. He has about a 11' or 12' that drags the ground when he walks, and when he is puffed up and strutting, it still looks about 9' long.

    Til next year my nemesis! :)
    aye man. you sure this aint a hen? looks alot like one to me. with the real light color feathers an that gray head. but who am i to think that? an since your bashin your nephew, whats the difference in him movin an you shakin your gobble shaker? if they are anything like those terrible duck calls that you shake, then you gotta give it a pretty good shakin.

    but anyways congrats on your successful stalk.
    Uh?? Yeah Boss....Think you shot the wrong Turkey!!!I even flipped, zoomed in and cropped it and No snood...No wattles...Tiny Hairy Head that is grayish in color minus the blood stains...Non-Full Fan....Got any Pictures of the beard? Bearded Hens are legal but I see a picture of a 8-lb Hen and not a Gobbler!!

    For what it's worth..Hens (Bearded or not) don't have Spurs.

    You shot a hen that was with a gobbler and that's why he was hung up and not coming to your calling attemps...People make mistakes but I would suggest you do alot more reading on Turkey hunting and show some patience and for Gods sake...BE CAREFUL!!!!!!!!!!
    Small snood
    I can see it even in your picture. The beard is about 3 ' long right now. Looked to be about 7' when I shot at it - but I will not deny that my eyes may have been excited and misjudged. The way the tall grass was, I might have even been looking at shadows within the grass.

    Like I said, I am considering the possibility that it is a bearded hen.

    But IT IS bearded.

    The head and neck was very much red when I shot it. I mean, the red is pretty much what I sighted in on and the turkey was fanned out when I shot it.
    Shaker call
    Well, the biggest difference would be that every time ( except that sucky cold, wet , rainy day) I use that shaker call, I have either had turkeys gobble back, or come out in my direction looking for that tom.

    Too many times, they would get hung up with hens that were out there too.

    But I never ran one off.

    Every time I have gone out by myself, I have seen turkeys, shot at a big tom, missed a shot at a huge tom, missed a shot at a very decent tom, didn't should when ( later) it was painfully obvious that I should have shot, or had toms just out of range in the middle of a field.

    Matter of fact, a week before youth season, I had to freeze up and wait out a big ole tom to go away because I called him directly straight to me by using that shaker call.

    Twice I have had hens walk up to within 5 feet of me and had a tom ( the week before youth season) walk within 10 foot of me.

    I'm am pretty sure that the shaker call is not an issue or causing any problems
    at all

    So, all I am saying is that for whatever reason, when my nephew is with me, we either don't see any turkeys, or we see them far off and can't get them anywhere near close to us.
    bearded hen
    that is a bearded hen no doubt. look how small the head is in comparison to your fingers. what did it weigh about 8 lbs? As GT said its legal for sure but you definitely just got lucky and shot the hen that was with the tom. and by luck I mean lucky she had a beard on her. another thing you can look at are the feet. I'm gonna guess all three toes are about the same size. hell cut her open wouldn't surprise me if you find an egg in her. Congrats on the legal kill and your first bird. But as it has already been stated either find someone who knows a little more about turkey hunting and let them show you the ropes or read up on it before next year.
    Not saying the head ain't small
    But I have to show you a pic of me holding a 20 oz drink bottle to give you a bit of reference to my hand size.......
    See it now
    I see the Beard now...Hate to see Hens that have nest get killed and it's not always by Hunters...I'm sure predators get some and Diane even seen 1 get hit by a car a few weeks ago...Anyway Congrats on your First...Surprised you didn't see or Hear the Gobbler you was after Run of Fly away unless your stalk wasn't as perfect as you thought but Have a good 1 and be safe!!

    BTW.. anytime I encounter a Turkey...The Head is the First thing I examine...I mean that is the target!!! Seen a bearded hen today with a 8 inch pencil Beard and I was somehow able to talk my Buddy out of Killing it along with a Jake also...They Legal, Just not my game!!
    post a pic of the feet
    if you still got the feel post them... that will prove its a hen or a tom.
    Big feet, no spurs
    But from what I have read, a jake might not also have spurs.

    But I want to point out again, I aimed at a red head and it was fanned out and strutting.

    Not saying it ain't a hen, just that it was strutting, it gobbled and it was the only turkey in the field as I could easily watch it walk along before I crawled to it.

    After i shot it, nothing else flew off or made any noise.

    That is why I asked in my original post about the possiblity of it being a bearded hen since it was strutting and fanned out.
    Scoutfish, I was just saying that you mentioned you was stalking a strutting Turkey with a red head...Let me share some info with ya...When a Gobbler Struts, He is trying to look as Big as he can to attract the Hens..He doesn't want to be over-looked...In today's language, I guess you could say that he is 'Jacked-up' on adrenaline!! Even his SNOOD will extend down the side of his head when he struts and then when he gets alarmed of comes out of Strut, The snood will retract back to the normal size...When a Gobbler is in FULL Strut..You will see more WHITE than any other color on it's will look like a big New shiny softball...During Full strut, RED will be the least Visible color on a gobblers head...It will be 95% WHITE and BLUE!! Again if your patent enough, You can watch a gobblers Head Change colors when he is truly is something to witness!!!! Hope this Helps on your next hunt.

    As far as HER Gobbling and Strutting...Damn Lesbian hen I guess...I dunno but I will say that on VERY VERY rare occassions, Hens have been reported as trying to Gobble and semi-Strut...Anyway....Nothing surprises me when it comes to Mother nature!!!!!! I do know that it's NOT a male Turkey such as a Jake!!!
    Seen both
    Watched a big one come across a field - but naturally he was at least 80 yards away) all puffed up and strutting. Head was so red, I thought he was going to explode.

    Seen some with predominantly paleish blue heads strutting around, but they were smaller than ole red head

    Ole red head is the one I called out the week before youth season started.

    He had the 11' or 12' beard that drug the ground while he walked.Saw him two other timesbut always across the field and alwayson the other side of the hens from the other toms.

    From what I can tell, there are 3 distinctly different roosting spots they use.

    There are ( as best as I can count)4 big toms, 7 jakes and around 13 hens. It looks like they are actually two different groups with Old red not actually belonging to either group.
    I wasn't gonna comment because I didn't want you to think I was bashing you on your first kill or that I don't think you are a nice guy.I'm sure others will think I'm being a know it all, But I have been thinking about it and this is only my opinion. First of all,this is just me,but when I kill a turkey I treat that bird like a true trophy,if I don't think its a bird worthy of shooting,I let it walk,why shoot just to tag out or just to be killing your first.I take a ton of photos,and now that I've learned how,I do the fan or cape mount,save the spurs,save feathers for my grandaughter to do crafts,etc. You are afterall taking a life.I try to respect that.
    Second of all,I know a bearded hen is legal,but seriously I only think they are because some people do shoot them by mistake,again,my opinion. But most people seem remorse about killing one,I know I would. You have to think,you aren't just killing one bird,you are killing that bird plus 10-12 little ones this year and that many more for what would have been the life of that bird.Not to mention,bearded hens occasionally hatch off a double beard and sometimes other bearded hens.Its in their genes.
    I congradulate you on your first kill,I hope you don't think I am being critical of your first,just remember,patience pays off.
    bearded hen
    congrats man... NOTHIN WRONG at all killin a bearded hen. i killed 1 this year on accident and felt bad at first.. but now realize that shes a trophy. cant to many peopke say theyve killed a bearded hen. so congrats on the bearded hen man. maybe she left u a couple gobblers with multiple beards around??? congrats.. allso on youtube theres a video of 1 struttin n gobblin.... so aint doubtin u there bud
    Congrats on harvesting your first bird there bud.
    First Turkey
    Nice bird buddy!