2 year old Eastern Turkey

We were on the road at 5 a.m. headed to the turkey land. This morning we were going to be hunting from a blind and we would have to carry that blind in and set it up quickly and in stealth mode. We planned to be on the opposite end and opposite side of the field than we were last Saturday for two reasons: the tom came in that way and I also scouted him the next day on that end of the field and secondly, the sun was shining directly into the camera lens which attributed to the “Don’t Shoot” from the cameraman.

We walked quickly and quietly to the area we wanted to put the blind up. I started on the blind as Richard placed a hen decoy. We were in the blind and settled in about 10 minutes. The sky was just starting to get a little glow to it but yet it was still dark outside. When it got closer to fly-down time, Richard made a few tree yelps but nothing answered. Another 10 minutes had passed when we heard a gobble directly behind us and a good distance away–didn’t matter to me, the hair on the nap of my neck stood at end, a smile crept across my face and my heart rate quickened a little. Whew…what a sound!

As we sat there looking out across the greenfield, Richard made the comment that there was a heavy dew….PERFECT for turkey hunting. Turkeys favor fields on dew laden mornings because they pick the dew tipped grass consuming water, so not only would they come in and feed on the bugs and blooms on this field, they would spend some time drinking water from the grass blade tips.

Another gobble rang out and it sounded as if the tom was still in a tree. Richard turned the camera on and made a fly-down cackle. He yelped a little then went silent. About 5 or 6 minutes later we heard a gobble; this time from what sounded like the ground and not too far behind us. Richard yelped a little with no response. We sat there about 10 minutes before we heard another gobble and this time it was behind us and to the left.

It was quiet for about 25 minutes and I was just staring out the front of the blind and thinking about strategy for an afternoon hunt when I spotted a white speck that moved about 10 yards from the decoy on the other side of a thin thicket. There it was again. I reached over and touched Richard on the leg and said Bird! Bird! He didn’t see it for a second but the bird had not moved. Then it walked about 3 steps with his head bobbling and Richard picked him up. The camera came off stand-by and we were rolling footage.

The tom made two steps through the thicket and was on the field, but had not slowed up a bit walking. This tom was not the bird we heard behind us and it was evident when he was in full view that he was not the trophy bird we had footage of from the prior weekend. The tom stopped momentarily and looked at the hen decoy and commenced to walking. He never attempted to strut. This tom could not have been more uninterested in companionship. Richard whispered “Shoot him!”; which was the key word that he was camera ready for me to take a shot. I had slid off my stool and was on one knee holding my Mossberg 835 free-handed.

The tom had not slowed down or sped up…he looked like he was on a mission walking steadfast across the field at 30+ yards. I whispered to Richard, stop him…which meant making a turkey sound to get the bird to stop and raise his head. Richard let out a yelp and putt and the bird froze in his tracks raising his head. I had the bead of my Mossberg right on his ear.

Boom!! The bird jumped about 3 inches off the ground and started flopping. “Good Shot” was the next thing I heard coming from Richard. It all happened so fast I had to actually ask Richard if I had ejected the shell since I did not see it laying on the ground. I had finally found it between Richard’s boots.

We high fived and knuckle busted. We decided to wait just a few minutes before getting up just to make sure that the flopping didn’t draw in the trophy tom. We didn’t see or hear anything for about 25 minutes and I couldn’t stand it any longer–I had to go see that bird.

We were out of the blind and in the field in a split second. This bird was a 2 year old Eastern Turkey 19 pounds, 10 1/4\” beard and 1\” spurs harvested at 7:10 a.m. We took some pictures and decided to head to the house with plans to come back in the morning to see if the trophy tom will make a presence.

Today’s hunt was not an eventful hunt and it was only a few seconds from the time I spotted the white head in the thicket to the time I flipped the bird and he was doing the death flop–didn’t make for exciting footage but it was an exciting first step toward my 2010 Quest for a Grand Slam. We are headed out in the morning to the same spot so I hope I will have an exciting post tomorrow evening…if not, I know I am still guaranteed a wonderful time in the turkey woods.