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Old March 29, 2020, 04:38 PM   #1
bamaranger
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AL gobbler season 2020

As has been my custom in past years, I will run a brief account of my 2020 gobbler season. The season in my section of the state opened 28March. Further south, it opened 15March. In some years past, I hunted that early season a bit, and killed a few birds, but having to get up a 2:30-3:00 AM and drive over an hour and hope to get in on some public land before the crowd, got old after a while. I've found that time better spent scouting close to home.

Things got interesting this season even before our opener, as a tornado swept across our county and neighboring Tishomingo MS as well. Lots of damage, no loss of life and only a few injuries, thank heaven. The twister also played hob with the main road on my favorite hunting lease. A day with a chainsaw and a young helper let me cut a path to get the ATV through. The overseer has since hired a frontend loader, but my afternoons work allowed me to get where I wanted to be on the first AM.

Day1- Up super early, down the ATV path, and off on foot to get through a pine plantation to the hardwoods on the other side. Got off my subtle path in the dark and in a hurry, thrashed around for a good 15-20 minutes till I got straightened out. Lots of time though, and I got to the open woods, cooled down, and was all set at first light. I did not call, and heard no gobbles, but at 7:10, a mere 30 minutes or so after daylight I heard a rustling noise behind and off my right shoulder....thought it was a squirrel.
Glancing, there stood an enormous gobbler not more than 10 yds away. He ducked behind a big white oak, and I got the gun up and leaned way out on one knee to see if I could catch him in his "walk away behind the tree trick" and it worked. Out popped his head about 30 yds away, I lined up to shoot........and a second head popped into the scope (this is the second season I've scoped a turkey shotgun) For a moment, my dark side said "kill'em both" but better judgement prevailed and I held off. But anxiety was building, and when they separated, I rushed the shot on the bird I could see. I knew I wasn't on him when the gun went off. He rolled, flushed and flew off to land in a tree about 150 yds off, so did his partner. After about 5 minutes, the bird I shot at flew off strongly from his treetop, as did his pal a short while later. I was crushed, but the only consolation is that all I did was educate them...I feel pretty certain the winged bird was not hurt badly. At 30 yds, I'm working with a pattern about basketball size, and I just did not have him centered. A lot of hard work and woodsmanship down the drain.

About an hour later, a gobble from the opposite ridge drew me across the hollow, to work that bird for a bit over an hour. He answered 3-4 times, but never closed, and then shut up, likely with hens. The temperature soared, it must have been in the mid 80's when I got back to the Bronco, and I was done for. I double check the zero on the gun back at the house, it's good. Nothing to blame but myself.

Day2- A predawn storm convinced me to field hunt on pvt land near home rather than back into the big hollow. Turkeys seem to like open areas after wet weather. Almost to the location, there are red lights, vests, people about, a tree down across the county road. I U-turn and drive like a mad man to loop around on another road net, but it costs me 15-20 critical minutes. I storm across the field, stick the dekes in the ground, and hop in the pop-up blind. Almost immediately, no more than 100 yds away on public land adjacent, a guy does a terrible owl imitation on a hooter. Sounds like a Lionel train!!!! Then an equally worse gobble on a box call. Over the course of the next hour, the guy calls terribly with a mouth call, and then a final blast with a crow call, then silence. Eventually I hear a truck crank up over near the public land gate. I give it 45 minutes and call sparingly and repeat the process 3 times of the next hour.....nothing. I sit tight and ponder and maybe even snooze a git for the next hour. At 10:00 AM I repeat my light calling....nothing. Looks like a bust.

At 10:45 I am surprised to see a big gobbler on the field edge, 100 yds away, eyeballing my decoys. He doesn't seem really interested, so I call, softly now mind you. He whirls, stands tall, and stalks off into the brush.....and takes a second gobbler with him I did not see. NUTS. Crushed , looks like its gonna be one of THOSE years. I sit there, disappointed (again) and decide that the birds must be call shy from dudes fooling with them before season, there is no reason that bird should have been that spooky. My calling was not THAT bad! I decide I'll stay a wee bit longer......maybe there are some jakes about.

I was flabbergasted 20 minutes later to see what almost had to be the same pair of big gobblers slipping toward my decoys (2 hens) from the same direction. Very wary, but slowly one eases into range. I am very careful in quartering his wattles with the crosshairs, and then press the trigger like I was shooting a match rifle. He goes down in a tangle. When I hustle over to him I an surprised how far it is, so much so that I will not repeat it in print, but it was farther than I've ever killed one.....open fields make it tricky to judge distance. Later, the tape and scales show 17 lbs, a 10-1/2" beard, and 1-1/16" spurs.
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Old March 30, 2020, 04:36 PM   #2
jmr40
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The season opened here March 21. There is a good WMA close by. I can be on it in 15-30 minutes depending on where I park. I normally stay away opening day, but went last Saturday. I only saw 2 other trucks and none anywhere near where I hunted. I also got into the woods 3 other days during the week with no other hunters. I did see one guy that I happened to know Sunday.

On 2 of the 5 days I was able to hear what was probably the same bird gobble multiple times, but could never get him close enough to actually see. This is a wooded, mountainous area. We had a long conversation both days.

On one other day I spotted a coyote. I had basically stopped hunting and was walking back to the truck. He never saw me, I stopped to get my headnet back on and started calling hoping he'd come to the call.

He was walking on top of a ridge and I was just below. I'm thinking he dropped off the other side before I could get set back up and probably never heard the calls.

I'm sort of a restless person who doesn't sit still well. Being able to get out of the house and hunt with this virus has been keeping me sane. In fact Sunday I forgot my calls and didn't realize it until I got out of the truck. Rather than going home I just went for a 5 mile hike in the woods. That was fine with me.
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Old March 31, 2020, 09:55 AM   #3
Jim Watson
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When I hustle over to him I an surprised how far it is, so much so that I will not repeat it in print, but it was farther than I've ever killed one.....open fields make it tricky to judge distance.
A friend known to you is curious as to what range is unprintable. Text me and I will pass it on to her.
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Old March 31, 2020, 12:41 PM   #4
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Partial lockdown here in Maryland...But a DNR officer just told me that I'm "good to go turkey hunting (once the season opens) in Maryland, as long as I observe the strict 6' distance between persons rule." Though I heard that the reservoirs surrounding Baltimore City, Maryland are temporarily closed to the public.
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Old March 31, 2020, 01:36 PM   #5
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We still have a few more weeks to go before season here in KY.
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Old April 3, 2020, 08:27 PM   #6
bamaranger
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Days 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Day 3-cold and overcast, I hunt "the Mud Club". I hear no gobblers, but do walk up on a hen, and found one set of fresh gobbler tracks. Picked a dandy spot for a deer stand.

# 4-rain, sleep in, run what errands COVID will allow.

#5-a real treat, get to hunt with bamaboy!!!!! He stays over the night before,and we get in the "big hollow" plenty early. Right on time, right where I thought he would be, a gobbler sounds off at dawn. We close down as near as I dare, set up, and work him. He comes off the roost and covers maybe 100 yds, and appears about 75 yds away just below us.....and stalls. For an hour and an half, he covers no more than 10 yds, and we are unable to move or blink. Of course I have a mouth call in, (no way to risk a slate) and can try and entice him more, but he's already suspicious that he cannot see a hen. On the rare occasion that he slips out of sight, I bump him with the mouth call. Finally, with the morning mist burning off, and sunlight landing right on the two of us, Mr. Tom decides that that big lump at the bottom of the red oak where those hen noises are coming from, is not a hen and not natural, and he putts softly and slinks off. We got whupped!!

Bamaboy and I cross the hollow to the next ridge, eat a breakfast snack, and listen a bit, at 9:30 we set up in a saddle on that ridge, and I call, and get an answer back down in the hollow we crossed. We drop back in, set up at about 150 yds, and call. Over an hour, the bird gobbles about 15 times, but never moves, ....I think it was the same darn turkey. Later, walking out, we get yelped at by what may have been a jake. We drop on the spot, and I call back, but nothing shows. Not a bad morning, but no feathers.

#6-I promised my best pal (disabled due to injury) that I would take his grandson turkey hunting, ( and this is the morning I did. Jacob and I hunted as hard as I know how, for 4+ hrs, no gobbles and very little sign. Nice young man though, and satisfying to know that there are young people out there still having good manners and interested in outdoor stuff. The young fella soaked up every word I spoke ....probably too many.

That afternoon, scouting, I hear some birds go up on property near home. Pre season, I have seen two gobblers on this point. I will hunt there in the AM.

#7In place well before dawn, I have a decoy out and am tucked comfortably into a blind. A ROW stretches away in either direction, and the birds are in hollow in front of me. I hear the birds come off the roost, but they do not appear in my set up. I stay 6 hours, see one hen in the distance, hear two gobblers on pvt. property in the distance I cannot hunt. I leave my set up in the woods and will hunt here again in the AM.
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Old April 6, 2020, 03:08 PM   #7
bamaranger
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Days 7, 8, 9... and the early bird gets the....gobbler

DAY #7-4April, Up extra early and off to the spot described in previous post, the ROW. It's on public land, no tellin' how many fellows will be hunting on a Sat AM. My stuff's all where I left it, and I pop the blind, stake out a single hen deke and settle in. As dawn breaks, I hear one gobble, way off to the east, and 2-3 different guys working owl calls in the distance to the south on the main access road. It's terrible....have they never heard a real owl??...toot, tooty, tooooot!!!! I swear, it sounds like model trains. Nothing gobbles and I'm not surprised.

About 6:45 I hear a turkey come off the roost in the hollow in front of me. I call lightly, get the gun in my hands, that sounded close. As I peer out the blind window, I see a dude appear on a knoll about a 1/4mi away, headed my way, and another fellow following. I stick my hat out the blind window and wave madly. They stop, conference, and step out of sight. A moment later, a blast on a crow call. They are trying to strike a turkey, then cut me off from it in the hollow. Bad manners, no sportsmanship nor respect for the other guy. It's pretty much the norm on public land. But nothing gobbles, and I do not see them again. Two years ago, I hunted this same knoll, and guy showed up late, ran a hen off that time too. I'll bet it's the same guy(s). At least they didn't walk through my set up.

After a bit, I call lightly again, but relax and settle in for a wait. At 7:30, I catch a flash of black to the right in a depression, about 100 yds away. The 'binos reveal it's a turkey's back, and in a moment I discern there are two of them, quartering steadily away. I snatch up the slate call and float a string of yelps. The closest one rockets its head up and stares. I study hard through the glasses, that's a young gobbler. He yelps once, pivots, and ever so slowly starts easing my way. The second bird appears in trail, another jake. They are very cautious, clearly aware of their juvenile status and that there are/were dominant birds in the area. But the hen decoy is impossible for them to resist, and the leader closes, slowly but steadily.

I decide I'll take a jake...it's public land, there's more than one, I've worked hard to find these birds, get here first and here's an opportunity. I mark a puddle on the ROW, when he reaches that, I'll shoot. It takes several minutes, but eventually the leader reaches my mark and I line him up and shoot. He goes down flopping, and his pal runs over and stares. When the down bird stills, the other walks off a short distance and looks about for 4-5 minutes, then........I'd never believe it......fans and gobbles. He repeats this 2-3 times.......must not have really liked that other bird!!!! After the show, I come out of the blind and pace off the shot. Again, farther than I thought, 50 paces over, 46 back (I'd loosened up a bit) likely 45 yds or so. That Winchester 12 ga, XR load, 3" with 1-3/4oz of shot (I use #5) is a real performer in my gun.

DAY-8 Off into one of my hunt clubs in the big hollow. Gorgeous morning, I'm in place well before dawn, right where I want to be and .....nothing. No gobbles, no birds fly down within hearing, notta. After an hour and a half, I cross the hollow to the next ridge over, moving slowly and cautiously, pausing often. I settle into a small saddle there, and almost immediate a turkey clucks nearby, and begins to close. It's a hen, undoubtedly reacting to my foot steps and thinking I'm another turkey. She closes to 15 yds, cutts and cackles, clearly annoyed. I keep hoping that a gobbler will show, or sound off, but nothing else happens. The hen stalks off, and I sit for another hour, eat my snack, then ease back to the ATV. It got hot quickly after 9:00 AM. That evening I make a truck run onto public near home, but do not hear any turkey noise.

DAY9- Field hunted near home on pvt. land where I took my first bird this season. There were two together that time, and I'm hoping the other gobbler is still in the area. I'm in good time again, and stake the decoys out (two hens) in the field as the moon sets in the west. As I walk back to my blind, a turkey flushes (in the dark) from the tree above me. Jeez, I walked up in the dark, and set my stuff down right under it!!! Hen or gobbler, who knows? It didn't sound very big, but roosting alone, where it can watch the field makes me think I may have just run off my quarry. But I settle in, watch the dekes and call a bit for for 5 hrs, 'till the blind is so hot I can stand no more. No gobbles anywhere within hearing....again.
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Old April 6, 2020, 03:49 PM   #8
Jim Watson
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As I walk back to my blind, a turkey flushes (in the dark) from the tree above me. Jeez, I walked up in the dark, and set my stuff down right under it!!!
Same deal, my Uncle was not an avid turkey hunter but a friend took him along and positioned him under a tree with a good field of fire. Sun came up, the turkey blasted off from the tree right over his head.
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Old April 7, 2020, 06:07 PM   #9
stinkeypete
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Turkey hunting is one of the most frustrating an$ rewarding types of hunting I have ever done.

I’ve done scouting for months, done everything right, and been skunked.
I’ve done everything wrong, sat under a tree in jeans an$ a camo jacket and have em walk up and dare me to shoot them.

No doubt, skill comes in to play, but so does plain ol luck.

Hats off to you!
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Old April 12, 2020, 12:18 AM   #10
bamaranger
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Day 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Fatigue has set, and in and I realize I have my dates and numbers mixed up. (I counted Day 7, twice). I'll begin this portion correctly.....I think

Day 11 (Tues, 7April)- Back onto public land and the big ROW near home. I'm set up in good time, in a pop-up blind with a hen decoy out. At dawn a bird gobbles 150 yds away, on the hillside opposite me. I let him gobble on his own a few times , then tree call back, and he answers solidly. He knows I'm here, and I hold off calling again 'till I'm certain he's on the ground. I cackle and he double gobbles....oh boy, here we go. I shut up and wait, and he sets up a strut pattern a 100 yds long or so, gobbling on one end, then a few minutes later, again on the opposite end. There must be a flat or bench on that hillside, but I've not been over there in years. I've seen birds strutting here on the knoll I'm on, I feel certain he'll come my way. But it doesn't happen. The bird continues to gobble, but drifts off to the left and onto a slice of pvt land I cannot hunt. I try everything I know...the silent treatment for an hour, calling hard and cutting, then changing up and answering every 3rd gobble or so, changing strikers on my old slate, changing to mouth calls, challenging him with a gobble call. I get answers, sometimes he seems closer, but he never appears. At 3:00PM (not a typo) he gobbles for the last time. I stay in the blind, at 4:00PM a bird appears on the ROW on the pvt slice, 400 yds plus away. I cannot say for certain hen or gobbler, but it acts like a gobbler, is dark and full size, does not linger to feed but hits the ROW and heads south. I stay another hour till 5:00 pm and can stand no more. Eleven hours in a blind on a folding chair. So darn stiff it takes me 100 yds to loosen up and hit any kind decent gait on the walk out. Right at the end, a big red-tail hawk slices in and clobbers one of my hen decoys! That's the second time I've had that happen since decoys became legal in AL about a decade ago.

Day 12, 8April- A rainy, misty morning,and like it or not, a good day to field and blind hunt. I head to the 25 acre farm where I killed my first bird this year (and the bird flushed from the tree on another hunt) and set up in the exact same spot. I'm early, it's foggy, and I work hard at being super quiet.
When it's light enough that a turkey could be on the ground, I tree call. 50 yds away, a turkey launches from a tree and I hear it sail down and land near by to my right. In a moment a dark shape appears, in range and....its a darn hen. She parades out into the field and regards my decoys and clucks once. A few minutes later, I hear turkey noise and two more hens appear on my left. The threesome get together around my dekes, then drift off to feed in the field, marking a 100 yd oval of sorts. The pair split off and hit the wood line where they entered. A crow calls, and a gobble blasts out
behind me, close, but in the woods to my rear. I call, hear drumming, the bird is close, but under the lip of the hill, and those two hens are in there with him! I never do see him. The original hen stays in the field, a fourth
hen appear from the opposite side of the tract, those two get together, and slip off into the woods as well. I hear turkeys calling or flapping about for the next 2 hours but do not see a feather.

Day13, 9April, Thurs,- it rains over night, but will clear in the AM, another field/blind day, and I saw so many birds on the 25 acre tract I head back there.....and do not see or hear a thing!

Day14, 10April, Fri, - Sick of blinds and sitting on my butt, I head to my big club and into the big hollow and adjoining ridges. Windy, but clear and warm. Hunt as hard as I know how, listening, waliking and calling in set ups in the hollows out of the wind........nothing. It takes an hour of steady walking to get back out, good execise, but that's all.

Day14, 11April, Sat- I figure guys will be everywhere, and pvt land is my best bet to avoid the crowd. The 25 acre tract beckons and I set the blind and dekes up there ....again. At 8:00 AM there's a shot over on the public land adjacent, about a half mile away. I know they killed a bird, as I can hear the congratulations about an hour later when the guys get back to their vehicles over at the gate about a 1/4 mile off. I figure that's the end of the bird I heard Weds. HIghlight of the day, on the drive over, in the dark there's a paint horse coming down the county road. It runs up into a guys yard, on my way home, it's tied to a tree at the same place.

That evening I field hunt the Mud Club, there's hen sign on the bottom field and some prospect there. Tomorrow Easter Sunday and bad weather predicted as well. I'll stay home, sleep in, mark the holiday.
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Old April 19, 2020, 06:43 PM   #11
bamaranger
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Still can't count

Heard some more gobbles this week on the days the weather was fair, but no feathers on the ground. I realize I still can't count, I counted Day #14 twice on my last post, I will try again to get this straight. Did not hunt Easter Sunday nor the day following, bad weather.

Day 16, Tues, 14April- Back out on the ROW on public land near home. It's cold and windy, but clear and bright. At 7:30AM a gobble rings out to the south, on a sliver of private land a 1/4 mile away that crosses the ROW where I cannot legally hunt. A gobbler parades out into the open, and for the next 3-1/2 hours gobbles up a storm, but does not move more than 75 yds. He'll ease up to the ravine that separates us, gobble and eyeball my decoys, but come no further. At 11:00AM his gobbles fade, and I believe he's drifted off into the pines, I step out to call it a morning and collect my dekes.......he's drifted off about 600 yds, but is still out in the open, and sees me easily, and stalks off into the pines. Educated another one.

Day17, Weds-I'm back after that same bird, but come in from the south, where the bird from the day before appeared. I'm still on public land, but much closer to where that gobbler stalled the day before and no ravine between us this time! It's cold, there's some frost, but clear and still....I'm wearing my wool deer hunting camo! No gobbles, no turkey, but I do see another hunter on the pvt property.

Day18, Thurs-Once again sick of blinds and decoys and sitting in one spot for many hours, , I head to my big club to hunt a spot I call the pasture ridge to try and strike some fresh birds. At dawn, multiple gobblers begin sounding off down in the bottom near the pasture. To get off the ridge and across the creek takes some time, and the birds get on the ground and moving before I can close down. They hoof it across the pasture, and around the point of the opposite ridge, gobbling steadily, but nearly out of hearing. I keep after them, but as they ascend the ridge and turn the corner, it's clear I will not keep up chasing them in trail. I head straight up,if I can top out and come down on the opposite side, I might get close enough to call. That's about how it worked out, I crested the ridge to hear turkeys nearby, climbing up the opposite side towards me. I set up and call, get answers, but the birds cross the ridge top out of sight, and drop down onto the side I just climbed. There's at least two mature gobblers, and I heard some jakes as well at dawn, no telling how many hens. Over the next 2 hours, I get some answers, and at times it seems they draw closer, but they stay on the side hill and do not come back up on top with me. Eventually, they have gobbled enough that somebody starts calling to them from a half-mile away, over on public land. The guy strings 20-30 yelps together at a time, and the birds reply.....twice. After that, they grow suspicious of the barrage of yelps thrown at them from such a distance, and shut up. The Long Range Caller persists, eventually sounding maybe 300+ yelps, no lie. This guy has been to too many calling contests!! I do not hear the gobblers again. I stay for another hour after the contest caller quits, and then a long walk back to the Bronco. The new hip got a real work out today.

Day 19, Fri- I keep my promise to my disabled pal, and take his grandson, a seemingly fine young man, onto the Big Club to a spot I call Dad's Ridge. There was a gobbler here before season, and it's traditionally been a good spot. We hear or see nothing. I talk alot, again, but the young fella soaks it up like a sponge, lots of questions too. We get totally deflated when we find a gobbler carcass when walking out. What got him, dunno? But here's one we won't hear again.

Day20, Sat-It's cold and windy again, and very overcast. I push myself to hunt the Mud Club, and set up a decoy on a food plot to watch and call a bit. There is hen sign here, and gobbler tracks the first week, but I hear and see nothing. I do pick another dandy deer hunting spot though!
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Old April 22, 2020, 08:03 PM   #12
bamaranger
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Days 21-22-23, here a gobble, there a gobble, everywhere a ...

Bamaboy came over Sat night, and due to COVID no church meetings, we planned a hunt Sun AM......and got rained out big time! Monday morning when I woke at 4:00AM, it was still raining hard, but by 7:00AM it cleared and I headed to the ROW on public land near home as it's close.

Day 21, Mon, 20April- On the ROW with dekes and a blind, saw a hen walking in, a good sign I thought, but no gobbles and no other birds sighted.

Day 22, -Up and away early, headed for the Big Club and the Pasture Ridge. I'm in the woods in good time, and roll the dice and drop off the east side of the ridge, as that's where the birds were roosted last time I was here 'bout a week ago. Wrong. At daylight, the birds start gobbling over on the west. Till I get over there, they've hit the ground and make it out into the pasture, where they really begin to tear it up. There's several gobblers out there, and I get lots of answers, but as I cannot legally hunt the pasture, I have to try and call them off it. Other birds on satellite ridges begin to gobble as well, it's a fantastic morning. Half mile or so to the west, a bird gobbles from the roost a bunch, then hits the ground and seems to move towards the pasture The next time he gobbles, he's at 100 yds or so behind me. I spin around on the tree and watch his direction, he gobbles again, very close, but I never see him. Back out in the pasture, those birds seem to draw closer, gobbling madly in reaction to this westerner, so I face back that way. But the pasture birds seem to drift back out to the middle again.

Back behind me, there's more gobbling likely the bird from the west. It's up on a bench above us, and the pasture birds react with even more gobbling. I elect to move and try and call the westerner. I leave the pasture birds and climb back up the ridge, trying to get on the same level with the westerner before I try him. Close enough, I float some yelps, and he answers, about 150 yds away. The pasture birds hear it too, and they gobble as well. In a bit, the westerner gobbles again, closer. When the pasture birds respond, their closer too! They've left the pasture and are up on the hillside with us!

I shut up, everybody knows I'm here, time to see what happens. In 10 minutes or so, a gobbler drifts into view, on my level, about 100 yds out. He gobbles and moves steadily my direction. I think it's one of the pasture birds. I get the gun up and cover him, I'm tucked in and ready. Suddenly, about half way between us, 60 yds or so, an alien head pops into view, another gobbler, certainly one of the pasture birds. I risk some soft clucks with a mouth call, and the close bird veers my way and comes on in. Looks to be about 40 yds now, lose enough. I'm very steady,and squeeze off the shot. He goes down hard, flopping, madly. I'm sure of him, no way he's not done. I clamber to my feet, and still in full camo, begin to walk casually over. What happens next will be a lifetime memory.

Charging in from 100 yds out comes the other gobbler, oblivious to me. He races in and begins to flog the flopper, gobbling and purring loudly. From up the hill, what has to be the westerner comes racing in, and begins to follow suit. And then a THIRD gobbler shows up from below, another pasture bird likely, and all three flail on the flopping turkey, as well as getting a few licks in on each other!! There's feather flying everywhere, gobbling and fighting purrs , and flapping wings from all four rock the woods! All of it a mere 25 yds distant as I stand there and watch. Eventually, one spots me and they disperse.

Later the bird weights 18-1/2 lbs, 10-3/8" beard and has spurs at 3/4".
The shot was 42 paces. In addition to the 3 that put on the display, I hear more birds as I walk out with my prize......I'll be back.
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Old April 23, 2020, 12:02 AM   #13
Scorch
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Good story! Here in WA we are on lockdown, no hunting or fishing in WA state until further notice.
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Old April 23, 2020, 08:53 AM   #14
stagpanther
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Not a day goes by in the past week when I'm out target shooting--with whatever firearm--when turkeys don't come out to watch me shoot, often clustering between me and the target. One week from now when our turkey season opens and I have my shotgun with me--they won't be seen anywhere, guaranteed.
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Old April 23, 2020, 07:59 PM   #15
sako2
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Stag just go target shooting and take the shotgun along.LOL
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Old April 24, 2020, 02:30 AM   #16
stagpanther
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Stag just go target shooting and take the shotgun along.LOL
makes sense. My guess is that they are roosting/nesting nearby and are checking out what the noise is all about. Deer come out to watch me too, unfortunately they are are banned from hunting--the local government prefers they are reserved for people to hit with vehicles.
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Old April 24, 2020, 03:46 PM   #17
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no hunting yet, but last year i hunted a nice tom that came out on the edge of a field four times, but my set never seemed to be in the right place for a shot. several days later i hunted a place close to that field i call the rock pile and have taken a few nice toms there, no luck and left as i came out i saw the first tom out with a hen. it took a long around walk to get above them and as i came down towards them i saw the hen and dropped behind a large tree and let out a soft purr, she came charging towards me and i froze with my shotgun up ready as she looked for the other hen the tom came up pretty fast and i took him at about 30 yards with a federal TSS 12 ga 3" mag 1-3/4 oz # 9 shell in my rem 870. the first turkey i shot with TSS, he didn,t even quiver.
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Old April 25, 2020, 04:07 PM   #18
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I'm back.....no feathers

Day 22, Weds, 23 April- I hit the Pasture Ridge again, there's so many gobblers in there, seems foolish to leave turkeys to find turkeys. Running just a bit late, I'm still up top when the birds begin to gobble down below on the east side. I drop straight off on the same side and head right at them, but they get out in the pasture before I can set up and call. I stop on the legal boundary and call, and get answers, but immediately realize that there are hens still on the roost between me and them. There are multiple gobblers in the pasture again, answering, but they do not budge. I hear the hens come off the roost, and the gobblers go silent. At 7:15AM, the gobbling is done. In the process, I heard what I believe to have been the "Westerner" gobbling again from his roost close to where he was the day previous, well off on a point to the west. I drift over there, spend the morning calling sporadically, ending up with a lone hen close near noon, but no gobbles.

24April-rained out

Day 24, 25April-overslept, and ended up with an afternoon hunt, hoping to cut the pasture birds off from their roost in the hardwoods. See or hear nothing.

26April-rained out
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Old May 1, 2020, 12:03 AM   #19
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Last Call

Day 25, 27April, Monday- I'm enroute to the Big Club when I get a text message from my pal's grandson. He's already on the property and is hunting with his little brother, and their headed to where I was going! Jeez, they must have slept there overnight! Anyhow, I change plans and end up on Pasture Ridge again, just another segment of the Big Club.

At dawn, a lone gobble drifts down from the north, way off, almost out of hearing. Too far to even attempt to close with. I get into the area where I've heard birds, sit quiet for an hour, than call blind for another....nothing. I drift to the west, repeat the process. It's now after 10:00 AM, clear and cold, little wind, I should hear some, but don't. I burn out and decide to call it a day. Back up the ridge, nearly to the top, a cow cuts loose with a loud bawl down in the pasture, and a turkey gobbles down where I was! A low flying military jet passes over, and that bird gobbles several more times. Back down hill, across the creek, covering about 1/2 mile, I close to within 150 yds, he gobbles again and I call......silence. Thirty minutes later, I call again....silence. An hour from when I first tried him, he gobbles again, straight up on the opposite ridge, above me, drifting east. I skirt the bottom of the ridge, turn up hill, and clamber up to the bench I believe he's on. When my heart quits pounding, I call......silence. Thirty minutes later, repeat....silence. I quit, it's 3 o'clock, I forgot my water, and my breakfast bar faded a long time ago. It's an hour walk back to the ATV, across the valley and up Pasture Ridge. I'm just topping out, 4 o'clock, and the bugger gobbles again back over on the opposite ridge. I've had it, shake my fist at him, and fire up the ATV.

Day 26, 28April, Tues-Sick and tired of Pasture Ridge, I return to the Big Club and into the Big Hollow area, where I missed a bird opening AM and bamaboy and I called one up the first week. There were multiple birds here opening week, but 3-4 hunts later, I have not heard a peep. I'm hopeful that the late season surge I'm seeing elsewhere will effect Big Hollow as well.
Half way there on the ATV, in the portion of the club hit by the tornado, the roads blocked. More trees have fallen, I can't get past and it's a long way to walk yet. I reroute, come in from another direction, weave thru the pines, and emerge exactly where I sat opening AM. I hear nothing...it rains on me 3 times, then the wind picks up. The highlight was I saw an enormous bodied deer returning to the pines.....almost had to be a buck. I will put that on my list for this fall.

29April-rained, then blown out

Day 27, 30 April, Thurs, last day- Bamaboy comes in the night before and we plan a hunt together as a season closer. It will be Pasture Ridge, as I am consistently hearing gobbles there. We arrive in good time,and reach the bottom before dawn. In the twilight, two gobblers sound off, one well west, the Westerner again, and another more central at the base of the opposite ridge. I'd bet the one from the long day earlier. We close down on the center bird. As before, he gets down, gets out in the pasture we cannot hunt and begins to gobble steadily.

Bamaboy and I set up near the boundary fence, we can see into a grown up section of field, there is a creek with wooded banks, and the bird is on the opposite side of that. Not the best arrangement, but it's all we have due to property lines. The gobbler answers readily, but will not leave his side of the creek. After 45 minutes, time for something different. I pull the gobble tube out and the next time he cuts loose, I gobble back. He responds, clearly agitated. When he gobbles again, he's closer, I'd bet standing on his creek bank, but when he sounds off again, he's no closer. I give him about 15-20 minutes of silence and he drifts away slightly. We need another trick.

I tell bamaboy to sit tight, and I fall back about 50 yds. When the tom sounds off, I gobble, then hen call......and he double gobbles. I fall back again, gobble, then yelp, and the tom gets really vocal. He drifts right, skirting the edge of our weed field, he's coming. Bamaboy picks up on it, I see him swivel around his tree and the shotgun goes up and points right, things look good. The next gobble sounds like it's right on top of him....but no shot. There's along period of silence, and the next gobble is to the right and between us and just out of sight, a slight fold in the land hides the tom as he draws closer. More silence and then a rocking gobble in front of me. I risk a choked half gobble on the tube followed by mouth call clucks. I hear drumming....he's close. There he is, 50 yds out, slipping along his little fold. He's huge. When he goes behind a big red oak, I cover the opposite side,he should be just in range when he emerges. Except he doesn't.

Twenty minutes later, he gobbles again, 1/4 mile away. Bamaboy and I pick up, circle above him, hoping to hear him again, but we don't. We do hear the Westerner and elect to leave this rascal that gave us the slip, and try this new bird. We close down, covering about a half mile, to find that the Westerner is on a steep hillside above us, with no good way to get in a suitable calling set up. We end up under him, and he never really responds, gobbling on his own about 10 times total. When the farmer that owns the pasture rolls in on his property with a truck, feeds cows, then cranks up a chain saw, it's all over.

The 2020 season is behind me. I cannot say I'm glad it's over, I love it too much, but I could not give it much more. My count could be wrong, but I hunted at least 27 days in a 34 day season. That's a lot of predawn mornings. I took Easter off to mark that special day. On all the other mornings I did not hunt, less Easter, there was bad weather, we had a wet and cold spring. It was not a really good gobbling spring, and the season was better in the later stages than it was earlier. I had two great hunts with bamaboy, got around in the woods great with my new hip, picked some great deer spots, and managed to kill some birds myself.
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Old May 1, 2020, 08:28 PM   #20
bamaranger
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It's NOT over!

Jeez, just found out that the season, for the first time ever (?) runs 'till May 3, that's Sunday! I slept in today, put my stuff up.......I coulda' been huntin', it was a pretty morning too!.

Can I squeak a hunt in tomorrow AM, before a critical event at 3:00 PM? Since there's no church, I can hunt Sunday as well.

Maybe that fat lady ain't done singin' yet!!!!!
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Old May 2, 2020, 01:16 AM   #21
Scorch
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Good luck on your extended season!
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Old May 2, 2020, 05:41 AM   #22
stagpanther
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May the force be with you bama! I'm not generally a turkey hunter, but nonetheless my 870 is coming with me starting today for my target sessions in case they decide to blockade my view.
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Old May 3, 2020, 10:07 PM   #23
bamaranger
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Out w/ a bang....flop,flop, flop!!!!!!!!!!!

Anxious to capitalize on our extended season, and missing one day of it due to ignorance, I was cranked to hunt, so much so that I didn't sleep well Fri night and overslept Sat AM. Further compounding things is that I absolutely HAVE to be back home in good time for a certain party's wedding. No way I can risk getting stuck, ATV trouble, etc.

Day 28, 2May, Sat- very late, w/ time constraints and serious obligation that afternoon, I've got to pick a hunt based on convenience. I head to the Mud Club, it's close, and I can park and walk in w/o fooling with ATV, 4WD, etc. I'm so juiced up I've got to turn around and come back to the house, I forgot my vest! I'd put EVERYTHING up, thought I was done, had to pull it back out Fri night. Even parked the ATV in the shed and hooked up my fishing boat to the Bronco. I take our Toyota sedan hunting!!! I finally get in the woods at about 8:00AM.

I ease into a spot we'll call Beech Hollow. A narrow steep sided hollow with a creek, it often holds turkeys late in the season...'cause it's cooler in the warmer late season I think. A hardwood bench half way up on the south slope is a frequent spot for strutters and I've killed a few here before. I also had the same 3 get away from me on two separate mornings last year. I'm back to settle a score! At 8:45AM a pair of hens begin to cut and purr down on the hollow floor. They make quite a racket, but nothing gobbles. At 9:30, about 100 yds out, I see a black spot on the hollow rim on my side that was not there before. I scope it, and it's a turkey, but I cannot make out hen or gobbler. I cut and cluck at it lightly w/ a slate and it hotfoots it my way, about 40 yds, then stalls next to a big poplar. The turkey eyeballs the bench steadily, looking for the source of the calls. I keep thinking I see a beard, but the rest of the turkey does not look right. When it steps into the clear and I get a clear view at 5X, I can tell it's a bearded hen. She sticks around about 10 minutes, then retreats the way she came. I leave at 10:30 and make it home and to my appointment later, easily.

Day 29, 3May, Sun-With no church services, I can hunt w/ nearly a clear conscience. I elect to go back to Mud Club and Beech Hollow. There were a lot of hens there, maybe there's a gobbler, and honestly, it's easier terrain than anything on the Big Club, Pasture Ridge, and so on. I'm about turkey hunted out. In early, I owl twice w/o any responses, then slip onto the bench in the twilight. I lop some saplings and fashion a simple hide, and settle in. Very soon, I hear hens tree calling in the bottom. I respond and they answer, but no gobbles. I stay silent the rest of the morning, late in the season, gobblers have likely heard a bunch of calling, I don't want to push them.

At 8:45AM, a flight of geese launch of a farm pond in the distance, and a turkey gobbles in the hollow, about 300 yds out. I ponder whether to drop down to the hollow floor and call him up the bottom, or stay up on the bench. The pattern is the toms usually come up to the bench to strut. I'm in, comfortable, and I've got my simple hide, I'll stay put. I push a string of yelps out into the mild breeze....no answer, but about 15-20 minutes later, the tom gobbles at a crow, and he's closer, though still on the bottom. Again I respond, ....no answer, but as before, 15-20 minutes later, he gobbles at a loud truck out on the county road and he's a bit closer again. This time, when I call, he answers........OK, game on.

I call very sparingly to him with my old slate, he knows I'm here, and there seems to be a tendency for toms to ease up up to the bench anyhow, I'm not going to push him. For the next hour plus, he snaps out regular gobbles from beneath me on the hollow floor, as he strides back and forth 50-100 yds away. I cannot see him, the bank is too steep, but he cannot see up the sides or to the bench either. I answer every 5th or 6th gobble, maybe once every 15 minutes, and very softly. Finally, at about 10:30 or so, he double gobbles and goes silent.

He's either landed a real hen, or he's moving. I hold fast, scanning the lip of the bench immediately to my front where I heard him last. A gobble blasts out close by, hard off my left shoulder, he's up here with me! The rascal sliced across the face of the ridge and has surfaced on the bench, but I'm pointing downhill, not out the length of the flat. I rock my eyes left till my head throbs, not daring to move my head, but I don't see him. Ever so carefully, I mean forever so slow, I ease my head left, looking for that devil. He gobbles again and it's deafening, he's right here...somewhere. I'm lucky, my little makeshift blind has concealed my movement let me roll my head far enough left that I pick up movement, it's his tail, lowering down from full strut,and the rest of his head and body is obscured by a big red oak. He's just 25 yds away, but the big tree lets me swing the gun left and cover him. He steps forward and his head appears, and I center his wattles and shoot. Head and neck catch the whole dense pattern, and he goes down hard.

He's huge.....THREE beards, a full 10" main, a 6-1/2" thread , and a 4-1/8" thread. Later, on my old spring scale, he'll weigh 20-1/2 lbs, that's very heavy at the end of the season, and the spurs are thick and chunk like at 1".
My phone is dead, no pics on the spot, but bamawife takes some pics at home, perhaps I can post them using her device.

NOW the season is over, what a finish.
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Old May 3, 2020, 10:33 PM   #24
Jim Watson
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Got wedding pictures and report?
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Old May 4, 2020, 09:07 AM   #25
stagpanther
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What a way to finish! Congrats!
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