April 10, 2009 @ 11:30 a.m.: We headed out at 6:00 a.m. this morning since we only had to go 5 minutes up the road to where we were planning on hunting. We arrived, unloaded the buggy, loaded our gear and headed out to the fence line to set up on that trophy Tom. Our guide decided to split us up. He took Richard to where the Tom was roosting several weeks ago and where we heard him gobble yesterday. Billy and I set up just off the fence line and road where there was a strut zone from the numerous strut marks we have seen over several days.
Billy and I settled in at the base of the same tree and waited. He told me that either the bird had roosted where he put Richard or the Tom would be roosted right below me. About 20 minutes into our wait I noticed a section of skyline that had clouds floating through with the light from the horizon behind it. I started doing something I have had a knack for since I was very young; I was seeing shapes of everyday things, animals, vehicles and faces in the cloud formations. I even saw Mickey Mouse this morning. I almost had to chuckle to myself but refrained in efforts of staying in that stealth mode. It was probably a good 45 minutes before we heard a sound. We heard a gobble directly behind us not far from where we walked in. I set my shooting stick up and mounted my gun to my shoulder resting it on my shooting stick. A shooting stick makes those extended periods of time you keep that shotgun extended out in front of you less painful; I never go turkey hunting without one. We never heard the birds pitch down so they must have been roosting right on the edge of the field. Billy saw the hen on the ground over my left shoulder and behind me just out of my sight. I waited patiently with a good feeling of my shooting lanes. We waited…then waited some more; but no bird ever presented itself for a shot.
About 30 minutes after Billy seen the birds behind me, a Tom and a hen, we heard a gobble to the right of us down the two-rut road. How in the world those birds got around us without us hearing them walk through the thickly brushed woods?? OR DID THEY?? Could this be another Tom? Billy made a few purrs and yelps and we got nothing in return. About 45 minutes later we decided to get up and move. Billy crept out to the edge of the woods to look down the road to make sure the Tom was not still in the road. He was nowhere to be found. We walked over to the buggy and we decided to back out and go to the farthest end of the field to glass it for the Tom. Billy stopped the buggy behind a palm tree and stood up on the back of the buggy to be able to look over a terrace. The Tom was just beyond that terrace strutting. Billy took a back road to the area we just hunted but about 200 yards down toward the field. We crept a long way and got within 100 yards of the Tom and set up just outside of the fence line. Billy let out a few yelps and the Tom gobbled. I got my gun up into position again and waited. And waited—and yet, waited some more. Nothing! Billy crept out to glass the field to see if the Tom was out there. He was all the way in the far corner of the field. We backed out and were heading back to the buggy to see if we could get to the area the Tom was headed from slipping in the back way. We walked about 15 yards and Billy glassed the Tom one more time….lo and behold that Tom was in a full run headed for the tree line. The Tom was about 400 yards from us and Billy felt the Tom did not spook from us because of the thick cover… but what could it have been. This, we will never known.
We rode over to pick Richard up and drove the perimeter of the property to do some scouting. We noticed that the Tom and a couple of hens had come in over our tracks when we were scouting late yesterday afternoon. We decided that it might be a good idea for me to set up in a blind on that road and see if they came in this afternoon. This would give Billy and Richard an opportunity to hunt different property doubling our odds. Another good thing about this situation is that if they had to stalk, run and gun a Tom, they could without me dragging behind: I am just not physically fit for that type of hunting. I will be heading out to the blind around 1:00 p.m. and will sit until dark. I am hoping for the opportunity to get a shoot at a tom and if not, maybe I can get the opportunity to roost him. Maybe patience will pay off!!
10:20 p.m.: I headed back out to the blind we set up earlier today. It was still early, about 1:30 p.m. I planned to sit until dark so I was in for the long haul. I sat in the blind for about an hour and a half before I had to grab my Blackberry to check out the new posts on Talk Hunting (www.talkhuntin.com). I had to catch up with everyone, see how their hunts were coming along, see what was new, how many new folks signed up and to stop by and check out the turkey championship board to see if I was still holding my second place position; always the competitor J!! I checked my email, sent a few text messages and returned one call. The minute I hung up that call and was sliding my Blackberry in the sleeve I thought, “Man it would be neat if Richard called and told me he bagged his bird. I didn’t get the phone slid all the way in the sleeve when it went to vibrating. I quickly pulled it out and it was Richard. He said, “Bird down!!” Woo Hoo!! I posted his hunt in the next entry for you to read about it.
I sat there for about another 30 minutes and seen a hen out of the corner of my eye. I watched as she walked out to the decoy, scratching the ground the entire way. She circled the decoy and let out a couple purr sounds. She headed toward my blind, scratching and feeding. She went right past my blind and into a pasture to the left of me. I watched her out in the field and all of the sudden she shot her head up and looked at the fence line. I looked over at the fence line and a bloodhound and yellow lab was coming through the fence with 3 guys and a lady in tow. As soon as one of the guys saw the decoy he called both dogs and they noticed the blind and backed out. I figured my hunt was over so I called the guide and told him what had happened. He told me to go ahead and stay put because it would be after 6:00 p.m. when the Tom comes through. Lo and behold the hen came back out on the field before I even got off the phone with him. I sat until 6:20 p.m. before I seen anything except caterpillars and a pregnant fox squirrel who laid out across a tree limb for a 20 minute nap.
At 6:20 p.m. I heard something rustling in the woods on the other side of the fence. I looked up slowly and caught the red waddles of a Tom. At the exact minute that I laid eyes on him, he laid eyes on the decoy, let out a chirp sound and within 2 steps was turned around and out of sight. I never even saw his beard or got a good look at him. At 6:40 p.m., I heard a turkey fly up to roost and then again at 6:50 p.m. I heard two fly up simultaneously. I packed up my stuff, called Richard and told him I was headed in. Well, patience may not have paid off for me today, but there is always tomorrow.
© Nancy Jo Adams 2009