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  • Another Bertie County Bird

    I travel a lot for work and as luck would have it, most of my traveling comes during turkey season. I missed all of last season while working in Turkey(Middle East). The irony was heart breaking. This year, thanks to my brother and his new bride, I was able to return from Argentina for two weeks starting Easter weekend through this Monday when I head to Tanzania. I have been fortunate to have some awesome hunts with my little cousin who had a bird at 40 yards but was hindered by a pesky pine tree, and of course, my friend, Stack, who bagged a nice bird on Easter Monday.

    This morning, I was going to take my mother-in-law who wanted to see what all the rage was about with the sport we all love. Unfortunately, she wouldn't make it and I ventured out myself.

    Two sausage dogs and a Dr. Pepper led me to a field where I harvested a nice bird 2 years ago. The wind was high in the trees and making it a little difficult to hear. Nonetheless, when those Toms gobbled in my direction, I thought for sure they were a mile away. I walked to them 100 yards and stepped into the woods on a small ridge up against a swamp. When they gobbled again, I was in their backyard.

    Not more than 150 yards away, I set up two hen decoys and turned on the video camera attached to the barrel of my Beretta. They gobbled at everything but me. Soft yelps, some cutting a little later. Nothing. I heard a purr to my right and somehow a hen had snuck into my decoys. She was in a half strut walking circles around them, putting and purring as she carried on.

    She left the scene and the boys took her out on a date when they hit the ground 100 yards away. I let them do all the talking until they were on the move. While trying to hold the camera/gun steady, I let out a few yelps with a diaphragm and got their attention. Here we go. I first saw them at 70 yards on the edge of the swamp, one in full strut and the other closing the distance.

    At that point, I spit out my diaphragm into my face mask, hoping I wouldn't need it again. The lead Tom got to 35 yards, stopped and broke into a full strut. The back Tom moved up to 60 yards never coming out of his strut.

    I waited for about 5 minutes and got some footage hoping they would break for the decoys, but they seemed mighty content with that hen amongst them. Not knowing what the next 5 or 10 minutes might have in store, I fired as his head reached out to take a peek. It was all over. One bird flew away, the other lay in the winter leaves.

    It was an incredible hunt and hopefully the footage will turn out like I remember it.

    I have one more hunt before Africa. I am taking my Dad in the morning in hopes of bagging his first gobbler. Wish us luck!

    Raggs Rascoe
    Bertie County
    9 1/5' beard
    17 lbs
    7/8' spurs
    Nice hunt story and Tom. Thanks for sharing the story of the hunt and Thanks even more for your service!