The thought of staying home this morning crossed my mind since I was no longer hunting. But I knew just the minute Billy and Richard drove off that I would be mad that I didn’t load up in the truck. So like an old trusty hunting dog I loaded up—laptop in tow. I thought I would stay in the truck and this would give me the perfect opportunity to catch up on some writing. This morning Billy and Richard were hunting the horse farm.
The morning was calm and slightly cooler than Friday morning was so I was comfortable in the truck. Just before daylight I get a text from Billy.
Billy: Gobblin 75 yards away
Nancy Jo: Awesome! I am straining to hear a shot.
I couldn’t stand it. I had to go sit on the tailgate where I could hear well. I heard the tom gobbling on the roost. He gobbled about 4-5 times while I sat there. There came a point where I didn’t hear him anymore and I assumed he was on the ground. I wished I was out there watching that tom working his way to the decoy. I was hoping to hear a shot just any second now. I knew that the more time that passed the more unlikely it was to hear one if Billy and Richard were able to get that close to the roost. The morning was still with the only movement coming from the nearby horses as they moved in a group around the lower end of the large paddock they were in.
About 30 minutes had passed without a shot and the mosquitoes were lining up their army to tote me off to their kingdom since I had made them angry for killing about 20 of their soldiers. I didn’t have a ThermoCell…it was in Richard’s turkey vest with him. I decided to get back into the truck where I wouldn’t have to fight the mosquitoes. I wasn’t in the truck but 10 minutes when a hen came by.
The sun was up and shining brightly and I was able to get about 45 minutes of typing done before my mind was screaming to step out of the truck. I got out and walked over to the paddock fence and watched as the horses frolicked in the paddock. A particular one was a real jester. He would go around picking at the other horses, walking along nipping at their hocks or necks until one of them struck back and then it would be a 2 or 3 minute exchange of rearing up, nipping, pawing…he couldn’t get enough. One young colt kept clear of him and it was evident that he stayed on the outside perimeter of the herd just to keep an eye on him. This jester got into one romp with another horse that looked pretty similar in size and color and he ended up laying out flat on the ground at one point, but only to pop right back up and take off running after the other gelding. These horses were comical and acted like a bunch of dogs playing in a yard. I definitely had entertainment.
As I sat watching the horses playing I caught movement from the left paddock where a single horse was and he was looking at the end of his paddock but I could not tell what it was until I seen Richard and Billy coming through the fence. I knew then that the tom must have followed a hen out of there and skirted them.
Richard told me that a hen came to the decoy but the tom never committed. Billy said that they were going to come back this afternoon and see if they could get him on his way back to the roost. It was 10:30 a.m. and we decided to go eat. Billy mentioned at the restaurant that we better eat well because we would have a long sit in the afternoon. He wanted to be back out there before 2 p.m. Billy got a text from Dave stating that Pat had harvested a jake! Awesome! That was the achievement of her second World Slam; two more birds to go for her third World Slam, an Osceola and a Rio.
Billy called Dave to see if they were hearing anything. They had seen a bearded hen but had not heard a single gobble. Billy suggested that Dave and Pat come to the horse farm and set up in the fence crossing to hunt this tom. They decided they would grab a bite to eat then head over to the horse farm.
Once we got back and Billy and Richard headed into the woods I got my laptop out and started typing until I heard Dave’s truck pull up. Dave got out and said that Billy had text him and said that the birds were already out in the field. Pat slid out of the truck and she looked pretty tired. I went over and told her that Billy mentioned that if the bird goes to roost in the same place she or Richard had a sure shot at him because he would use the route she would be sitting on to get there. I also told her that it was going to be a long sit. She laughed and said “what’s new?”
Shortly after they were out of sight I got a call from Richard. He asked me to bring some water to them and to bring my chair and stay there with them. This kind of confused me because normally an extra person in the field while turkey hunting greatly increases the chances of getting busted by the birds. But I wasn’t going to argue..I would much rather be in the woods. I put on my Mossy Oak Diffusion pullover, my face mask, gloves and grabbed my Cabela’s Gobbler Lounger.
When I got to their set up I could understand why being in the woods with them was not an issue. They were sitting in the brushy tree line along a fence and I would be concealed well.
They had not seen the birds in a while but had a good calling/answering exchange with the tom earlier. At some point the tom was going to have to come to roost; we just hoped it was in his usual place which was where we were sitting.
That never happened. A hen passed Pat and two Sandhill Cranes passed us but nothing remotely resembling a mature tom.
We called the hunt right before sunset. We had one more day to get Richard’s bird and Pat’s second Osceola.