The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Hunt

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 31, 2021, 12:26 AM   #1
bamaranger
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 7,450
AL gobbler season 2021

As has been my custom in recent years, I'll give a brief account of my spring turkey season for this year. Gobbling activity has been scarce, the weather hasn't helped. Nevertheless, I've heard maybe 10 different gobblers on or near property I can hunt, private or public land.

27March-Opening day, and I'm out onto public land near my home, hunting a large ROW. Up very early to get in and set up ahead of the rush. Dawn breaks grey and wet, it rained hard the night before. I've got a blind and 2 dekes set out. I see a guy set up about 1/4 mi to the N. of me on private land at dawn, and I see lights to the south before sun up. No gobbles at daybreak, and it rains intermittently all morning. About 9:30 I hear a couple of distant gobbles appx 1/4 mi l to the E. on private property. Over the span of 15 minutes, those gobbles draw closer,...that bird is heading my way on his own! With the bird about 200 yds out, I crank some loud yelps from the old slate. No answer, but the next gobble is at 100 yds or so, that bird is coming right to me! I yelp back, again, no immediate answer, but when he does sound off, he's just under the lip of the hill to my front, 75yds or so away. The ROW is recently mowed, he'll be in the wide open if he appears, and he does! A raucous gobble to the left and he parades into sight, full strut. I'm on him and ready, having picked a slight dip as "in range" , when he hits the dip, I'll shoot. He pulls out of strut and comes on, at at the dip, I let fly. The bird turns and runs off! I foolishly shoot again, mostly out of habit, but the tom is long gone, and clearly not hurt. What the heck happened? I pace the shot off.....a bit far..... 52-55 paces.
I did not intend to shoot that far, but the wide open space just fooled me, or the bird just slipped the pattern or I did not follow through , ....fact is, I blew it. It's along walk in the rain to the ATV, and a miserable ride home, and I'm disappointed to say the least.

28March-did not hunt, church and family

29March-off to a 25 acre piece of private land/ hayfield that butts against a huge piece of public land. I heard a vocal bird nearby the day before season opened. I stake out two dekes again and climb in the blind. Calling softly in the early morning light. About 7:00 AM I hear wings to my left, and see an airborne turkey flying right at the blind, but it's not coming in to land, it's headed out of here. Something must have spooked it? In the wet and twilight, I could not tell hen or gobbler, but it doesn't matter, it's gone. I get my little bino's out and study where it flushed from...there,.... what's that? Two raccoons! I stay in the blind 'till noon, return about 3:00 PM 'till dusk, for a total of 10 hrs, with no other action.

30March- Sick and tired of blinds, decoys and sitting for hours, I head to one of my leases into a spot I call "Big Hollow". In well before light, there's a full moon and I can walk the paths easily. I'm on a big point/ridge top, that falls away infront of me on two descending benches, to a creek bottom to the S. The Big Hollow is off to my E, and a smaller, rugged hollow off to the W. I've heard a lot of gobbles here, heard my first gobble for this season at this very spot, and this morning does not disappoint. Well before sun up, a tom begins to gobble in the moonlight, across the valley to the south, easily 3/4 mile or more away, on the other side of the creek and the county road. I continue to listen, hoping a tom will sound off on my side. As day breaks, the distant tom hushes, and a few minutes later, a muted gobble roles up from the creek bottom below me, perhaps 1/4 mi away. I pitch off the point, cross the first bench, drop off again onto the second bench and work out to within 50 yds or so of it's lip. I realize there's multiple gobblers there, and I'm well within calling distance, 100 yds or so, and there just under the lip of the flat to my front. Problem is, down low here, it's thicker and the timbers smaller. I have a heck of a time picking a set up tree. By the time I get planted, the birds gobble one last time and it sounds different, there're on the ground......and then they shut up. Finally settled, I cackle hard with the slate call,... nothing. I change strikers, yelp, change back and yelp again,... nothing. I figure they gotta be close and hope for a gobble to help place them, but all's silent. I stay put for about 30 minutes, calling softly on the slate with my favorite striker a wee bit. Then I hear it. The deep resonant thrum of a drumming gobbler. Off to my left, just under the hill, and I mount the gun and cover the spot and hold.......and hold., 'till I gotta adjust somehow. I roll my hips a bit to get my elbow more squarely on my knee......and catch a movement dead ahead.... a dang hen is looking right at me, 35 yds away. She's not sure what she saw, but she's not taking any chances, and veers off 90 degrees to my right, now moving rt. to left instead of coming straight on. She steps behind a big red oak and I punch the gun over to where she was, that gobbler should be close. Four or five more hens slip thru the small window where I saw her, all veering off, following her change of course. Then the tips of the gobbler fan appears, there he is, full strut, and steps into the lane and pauses. I trip the shot and he goes over hard backwards. I don't like to shoot them in strut, but things were happening fast, and he's down hard. It's 42-45 paces to the bird and he's a dandy! Two beards, one 3" and another 10". One spur is chipped off and a stub, the other is about 7/8" and a shark tooth. Back at the Bronco, Grandad's old spring scale puts the bird at 23lbs, which is my heaviest gobbler ever.
bamaranger is offline  
Old April 1, 2021, 10:56 PM   #2
Colorado Redneck
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 6, 2008
Location: Northeast Colorado
Posts: 1,899
Great! Hope this saga continues, it's good reading. Not a turkey hunter but your stories are lively and enjoyable.
Colorado Redneck is offline  
Old April 2, 2021, 02:05 PM   #3
bamaranger
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 7,450
2021 continues

Redneck: I've done these accounts the past few years, the search function should let you find and read them if you'd like. Some years are better than others.

31March-Rained out, went to town, ate lunch w/ good friends.

1April-Purposefully slept in, then made an "armed recon" on a section of public land about 9:00AM. I've heard several gobblers from afar here, but not sure where the boundary lines are, or how to get in there. I crash thru a 1/4 mi of cutover and come out in moderately open woods, and clamber up to the ridge top and walk right into some hens on the old roadway on top. Well....there's turkeys here, that's for sure. I sit for an hour, then move in their direction last seen, and call a bit, but no response. Worth a try anyhow. I start walking again, and promptly run into the state boundary. Pvt land beyond, and I do not have permission to hunt there. I work along the boundary as best I can, but it's clear the better timber and turkey woods are the pvt property beyond. I'll have to see about permission, I know a few families in the area, maybe something will click. Crash back to the Bronco, home about 3:00, tired and footsore. Highlight of the day, ...I found a shed antler, weathered, not spectacular, but any one happens to find are always special.

2April-Back into the Big Hollow area to try for those other toms that were there on the morning of my kill. It's darn cold, but at least the first two hours or so of daylight were still, then the wind came up. I didn't hear or see any turkeys, actually kind of surprised. A mangy coyote came ambling past as I eased out one ridge...he's probably looking for turkeys too! I suppose I could have shot him, but I'd rather kill a tom than a coyote, and held off for fear of spooking any birds in the area. On the way home, from my vehicle, I spot a flock of about 10 birds with multiple toms out in a pasture. I cannot hunt the pasture, but a lease I'm in is adjacent and holds possiblities.
I may hunt there tomorrow!
bamaranger is offline  
Old April 3, 2021, 03:59 PM   #4
ojibweindian
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 20, 2000
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
Posts: 1,191
Bama

Is the public land you're hunting Skyline?
ojibweindian is offline  
Old April 4, 2021, 12:09 AM   #5
bamaranger
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 7,450
2021 season continues

Ojibwe, I have never hunted Skyline. I'm reluctant to name my favorite area, (you know how secretive old turkey hjuters are ) but there are four really big tracts of public land within driving distance of my home, Bankhead , Freedom Hills, Lauderdale and Sam Murphy. I've hunted them all over the years.

3April-The day before I spotted some turkeys in a pasture near a hunt lease that I am in. It's a small lease, with few if any serious turkey hunters, as it's a weekend there will likely be a good bit of hunting pressure in other areas, so the "Little Lease" will do. Too, why leave turkeys to find turkeys? My logic is that perhaps some of those pasture birds will be on the Little Lease in the AM. I plan a decoy and blind hunt on a green patch on the pasture side of the lease.

As I'm staking out decoys and popping the blind the next morning in the twilight, turkeys begin to sound off over west near the pasture and in the steep wooded hollow that parallels it. There's at least 3 toms, and I recognize the deep gurgling gobble of the dominant bird closest the pasture a 1/4 mile or so away from scouting trips before season. Closer to me, two other birds are clearly on club land, perhaps 200-300 yds away, and gobbling freely. Once it's light enough that a hen could fly down, I cackle hard on the slate call, and the nearest bird responds instantly. Problem is, both of the nearer birds are on the opposite side of the steep hollow and there is a stream in the bottom to boot. The old adages about never calling turkeys downhill, across water, or up a steep hill run through my mind. But trying to maneuver into calling distance down my side, across the creek, and up the opposite side without getting picked off seems a low odds proposition. I'm going to stay put break all 3 no-no's, we'll see what happens.

The dominant bird gurgles his way off to the west and hushes, no doubt he's out in the pasture already, strutting. The two others drift west as well, and despite my calls to them, I never really get a solid answer, by 7:45, the second bird has hushed as well, I bet he's in the pasture too. But bird#3, continues to gobble occasionally from the creek bottom to the west. Shortly after 8:00, it's clear that bird #3 is drifting back my way, but he remains on the wrong side of the hollow. He arrives directly opposite me, very close to where he started the morning, 200 yds or more off. I have to convince him to come over. I start answering every other gobble, sometimes I wait and answer every 3rd gobble. Every time I do answer, I switch strikers, and use a different cadence for each one. The rosewood gets 3 yelps, the carbon 5. I'm trying to create two different personalities. This mind game goes on for about 45 minutes. He never really answers, but he remains "interested"?

Just before 9:00, the previously highly vocal bird goes silent, and no gobbles sound for 15-20 minutes. Something is happening. He's either gobbled up a real hen(s), got spooked by whatever, or he's coming. When he gobbles again, he's in the creek bottom, perhaps 100 yds off, slightly to my right. I answer with the rosewood striker and he gobbles back instantly. We're in business. I put the call down and get the gun up. I hear him drumming just before I see him 5 minutes later. He appears in the sage on the right of the field, about 50 yds away, full strut, periscoping his head above the grass, looking for those hens. He spots my decoys, a hen and a jake, and never comes out of strut, marching down the tractor path onto the field, making a hostile purring noise at the jake decoy. I don't want to shoot him in full strut or on the move. When he hits the edge of the field, he throws me a curve ball. Instead of coming straight onto to the dekes, he begins to loop off to the right, drawing closer and closer to my blind. He's still in full strut, and he's coming quickly. If he gets much closer, I will have no shot pattern to work with, and he may well spook at the blind. My half hearted voice putt has no effect, and he seems nearly on top of me, won't stop, still in strut. No choice, I try and line up his wattles, and shoot him on the move, in strut, head on. Self defense! Feathers fly everywhere and he's undoubtedly finished. The shot is 22 paces.

It's 9:15AM. I've dueled this bird for 3 hours. Broke all 3 of the old adages. He's a good bird too. If he's a "subordinate" gobbler, that boss in the pasture must be a real hoss. My bird goes 19lbs (once I shook all the shot out of him) has a 9-3/4" beard, and has good pointy spurs at 1-1/8" each and perfectly matched. I'm quite tickled with him,
bamaranger is offline  
Old April 5, 2021, 06:14 AM   #6
ojibweindian
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 20, 2000
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
Posts: 1,191
Bama

I've hunted Bankhead off and on for about 15 years. Hog and deer, never turkey. I don't hunt turkey, but should start. Your posts makes the proposition a good one
ojibweindian is offline  
Old April 9, 2021, 03:19 PM   #7
bamaranger
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 7,450
Alabama 2021 season continues

4April-Easter Sunday, church and family

5April-Having heard multiple birds on the Little Lease my last hunt, I'm back again this morning. As the birds seemed to be on the N. side of Lick Hollow (readers will recall I had to coax my gobbler down one side, across a creek, and up my side), this time I come in on from the N. side, and out another trail that also has a food plot on its terminus, call it the Red Field, ( the deer shoot house is red, go figure?) I hope to repeat Saturdays action, but am starting on the same side where I believe the birds will be. I set out decoys and the popup blind. At dawn I hear 3 different birds, but all to the N. and N.W., nothing near me, or anywhere close to where the birds were on Sat. I hold tight, staying with the dekes and blind, thinking there must be birds closer, but nothing shows. I stick it out 'till 11:00AM, calling sporadically with out results.

6April- Back on the Little Lease. Since the birds were to the W., N.W, yesterday, I elect to hunt farther in that direction, and stay afoot. I can only take so much blind/decoy hunting. At dawn, in classic turkey frustration style, birds are gobbling in the area where I was the day before! I backtrack, drop down thru a rocky ravine to arrive in Lick Hollow, but the birds are gone, off the lease and out into the pasture and private property. I set up in one of the wider, more open sections of the narrow hollow and call blindly 'till about 11:00, but no responses. As I'm leaving, I slip along the creek edge, half looking for gobbler tracks in the sand, and half looking for arrowheads. I don't go 30 ft and can see a distinct red triangle in about a foot of water, laying alone and easily seen from 6-7 feet away. I retrieve a very nice red point, about 1-1/2 inches on each side, perfectly triangular. The stem seems to be cracked off, but it is still a very nice piece and the days highlight! I will rename this hollow Arrowhead Hollow for my narratives!

7April- Tired of the Little Lease, I hunt the Big Lease instead, and at dawn I am on the ridge adjacent Big Hollow, the area where I took bird#1 for this year. I don't hear a stinking thing, even though I felt sure the morning of my kill here a week ago, there were 3 birds gobbling. I see no veh or footprints to indicate that it's been hunted since the weekend either, as a storm washed the area clean in the interim. I quit at 10:00AM and beat it home and to town to eat with the "Lunch Bunch" .

8April-It storms like crazy at dawn, and I sleep in and get some much needed rest. That afternoon I go out on the Little Lease and set up on the Red Field. Maybe the high wind will drive the birds into Arrowhead Hollow and I can coax one up onto this food plot before they roost. In a fit of nostalgia, I take my old Lynch Championship boxcall, and a Savage 16 ga doublebarrel made in 1949. The old double is not choked right for a turkey gun (IC/MOD) , but I've experimented with loads, and if I can get a gobbler to 30-35 yds, he will be in big trouble with the modified barrel. I set the dekes out at 20 paces and settle in, calling sporadically, but nothing shows. At dusk, I ease out to the hollow lip and owl call, and the second attempt yields a burbling gobble from the bottom of the hollow to the west. I recognize the throaty gobble as the dominant bird I've been keeping tabs on since before season, I've even seen him twice. Problem is, he's roosted on pvt property,and he will make a beeline tomorrow AM to the pasture, also out of bounds for me. I can only hope he continues to survive and I can catch him some morning without hens later in the season and call him up, or, there is a chance I can cut him off from his favored roost some evening, but it would be a tricky walk out in the dark, there's no easy way in or out of there. I suppose that'st why he's taken up residence!

9April-Wanting a change of scene, I head for "Irish Ridge" on the Big Lease. Very infrequently do I not hear turkeys on that ridge, and over the years have killed 6 or 7 there. I drag my heels a bit in the AM, and upon arrival, there sets another hunters truck. Well, I deserve it, in gobbler hunting, the early bird gets the worm, and I'm a tad late. I whip a U-turn, pound the old Bronco out across the club, and head out onto Big Hollow once again. And again, for the second AM here, nothing happens. I work the crow call occasionally for two hours, but no gobbles. I can hear a lot of real estate from this ridge too, some of it on the lease, alot of it in the distance, but I hear absolutely not one turkey peep. Ah well, you'll have years like this. I stay 'till 8:00, and following a hunch, drive out to Irish Ridge, and the guy's gone. Not wanting to trace his footsteps, I access the area from another angle, and sit quitely from a high point, resting and working the crow call a bit and....nothing. I leave at 12:00....it's one of those years it seems!
bamaranger is offline  
Old April 9, 2021, 05:32 PM   #8
eastbank
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 7, 2008
Location: pa.
Posts: 2,303
BAM, your posts have gotten my hot for the up comming spring turkey season. it starts on the first of may, we can only kill two bearded tom and i have a sweet area to hunt that has produced 13 nice birds over the last 8 years. i have started useing TSS #9 shot several years ago, but i still try to limite my shots to 40 yards or less.
eastbank is offline  
Old April 11, 2021, 01:44 AM   #9
bamaranger
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 7,450
AL gobbler season continues, bird #3!

e.bank, hope you have a good season and get to hunt all you want! TSS is the rage here also, as is a trend to smaller guns like 20ga w/ TSS. I still shoot 12 ga 3", #5 lead, Win XR, and it does the job as long as I don't do something stupid!

10April, Sat.- Storms roll through the area Fri. night and into Sat morning, when I stick my head outside before dawn, it's still misting heavily, , overcast, and the wind seems building. I go back to bed and sleep 'till 9:30, guess I needed it! By midafternoon, it's cleared, the sun's out, and though windy, it's not a bad afternoon. I decide to hunt Arrowhead hollow and try and intercept the birds leaving the private pasture and returning to roost in the creek bottom. Scouting and recent hunts have revealed a creek crossing with open, sandy banks, and turkey tracks coming and going. The plan is to ambush the bird at the creek crossing. There's no way to get there in the AM without possibly spooking birds on the roost. But arriving in the PM, I'm confident the birds will be out in the open above me, and I can set up safely. Near dusk, the birds drop down into the hollow to the crossing, enroute to roost on the other side of the hollow.

I see my first turkey, a hen, a little past 6:00PM. She's already on the opposite side of the creek. Hmm?? Crossed elsewhere I guess. If she's part of the harem being run by the boss gobbler here, my quarry, he may be across the creek as well. Nothing to do but wait and see. There were at least two different gobblers here Tues AM, and I saw more in the pasture weeks before season, maybe I will still see a gobbler. About thirty minutes later, I see a turkey moving steadily down the embankment to my front clearly headed to the sandy crossing. Gun up and on it way in advance, and I can see a beard swinging clearly. When it hits the hollow floor it pauses to surveil the open creek banks ahead. I'm setting a mere 23 paces away and it never stands a chance. The dense load of #5 from the XR shell tears through the wattles and it goes down with barely a flutter. Bird #3!

When I recover it, I'm a bit surprised, it's a jake! The beard is an ample 6-1/2" long, ....but the spurs are mere nubs, and later the old spring scale barely makes 13 pounds for the bird. No wonder the beard was so visible, every things all out of proportion. But I'm tickled with it none the less, not a classic call'em up hunt, but I consider myself a turkey hunter, not a turkey caller, and I've had way to many get away that I should have killed, to feel bad about bushwacking this one! I walk out very slowly and carefully in the growing darkness by headlamp, arriving at the Bronco about 8:00PM, sit down for supper about 9:00 after cutting up the bird, and wouldn't have it any different! Gosh I love it so!
bamaranger is offline  
Old April 11, 2021, 07:27 AM   #10
stagpanther
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 2, 2014
Posts: 8,469
Where I live the turkeys are just like the deer--they come out and taunt me while I target practice, often getting between my muzzle and the target. Once hunting season opens they are nowhere to be found when I go back with intent to settle the score. Love your stories Bama.
__________________
If you’re ever hiking in the woods and you get lost, just look up and find the brightest star in the sky and you’ll know which way space is.
I am NOT an expert--I do not have any formal experience or certification in firearms use or testing; use any information I post at your own risk!
stagpanther is offline  
Old April 13, 2021, 06:53 PM   #11
bamaranger
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 7,450
season continues, 11 -12 April

Stagpanther, I'll keep the stories coming. We're not quite halfway through the season, and I think the latter half will have more gobbling activity than the first.

11April-church, family

12April- At dawn I'm standing on the N. rim of Arrowhead Hollow again. Despite a full days rest yesterday, I had trouble getting up and was a bit lethargic in getting away. I'd planned a different hunt, but Arrowhead is close and I know there's birds here. I float a series of owl hoots down and a bird gobbles about a 1/4mi away, down on the hollow floor, and it sounds very close to where I killed the bird on Sat PM. There's just enough light that I can drop down into the hollow and move that direction, and I start that way, steadily but with some care. I cross the serpentine creek in the bottom and stop in a mild thicket on opposite the creek bank, having covered about 300 yds. I better slow way down, get masked and gloved, and possibly check this gobbler. With the leaves out, he may well be closer than I thought. As I pull my stuff on, the bird obliges by gobbling on his own and he is close, like under 100 yds close. I drop to my knees, and carefully worm to an open spot about 30 ft away, where I can have some lanes to shoot through and there is a cluster of fence post sized saplings that will have to do for a seat and cover. As I swing my legs around to sit, I pop in a mouth call. There is no way I'll be able to manage the slate with the bird this close. As I begin to scan the skyline against the growing morning light, another gobble rings out followed by some yelps, and I spot a turkey on the roost, ....I mean just right there at about 50 yds. It's way up in a big white oak. As I watch, there's a gobble again, and it's clear, whatever this bird is that I've got eyes on, it did not gobble, so there's at least two here. When the next gobble sounds, it sounds different, slightly to the right, up high, again, not the bird I'm watching, and I'm beginning to think there's two gobblers and I'm looking at a hen. I make a couple of very soft tree yelps on the mouth call, and the one of the unseen toms gobbles, the other seems to give some coarse gobbler yelps. A jake and a tom maybe?

To add more drama, I hear wings off to the left as a turkey comes off the roost and lands in the hollow bottom. The gobblers respond accordingly. I call again and all goes quiet. In a minute or two I spot a black shape easing my way along the base of the hollow to the left. Turkey, but geez is it little, so much so that at first I thought it was a crow, smallest hen I've ever seen in the spring. The wee hen comes on, right at me along the hollow base. It likely has heard my calls from ground level and is coming over to check the new girl out. At first I'm hopeful, if the gobblers see this hen on the ground, they may helicopter down right here, in range, and I'll get a shot. But it doesn't work out that way. The tiny hen keeps coming and at 20 ft or so, finally realizes that the brown and green glob at the base of those saplings is odd. She clucks once, the toms gobble, but then she pivots, begins putting, the alarm call, and scoots up the wall of the hollow, clearly alarmed. All goes quiet again. Not good. I risk some soft yelps to try and convince the toms that all is really OK, but things have changed. The most distant of the toms, the one I believe is the mature bird, eventually pitches from his roost, and I see him briefly as he sails down and away about 100 yds. The bird I'm watching and believe is a hen follows in just a minute or so, and when she goes, the second, yelping gobbler (jake?) follows her from his perch, he was just right there too, out of sight.

On the ground, 100 yds plus now, the gobbling resumes, and there clearly moving away. I pick up and follow, but they move on as well. By 7:00AM, there well down the hollow. I hear the last gobble at about 8:00AM, there up in the dang private pasture and I'm likely done here. I stay for an hour, calling lightly, hoping for action but nothing happens. I feel pretty beat, even though I should be rested. I decide to call it, but I'll prowl the creek bank as I go, maybe I can find another point. And I do, not as pretty as the one last week, but enough to leave satisfied.

Alls not over though.....I get about 3/4 of the way out and realize my camo jacket, which I'd stuffed in my vest as it warmed, has pulled out. I retrace my steps all the way back.......no jacket. I retrace back to the point I discovered it was missing......30 yds prior, it's laying alongside a big rock I'd sat on to rest. . The whole episode led to alot of walking and it's now hot. I make it back to the Bronco about 1:00PM totally squashed.
bamaranger is offline  
Old April 13, 2021, 07:26 PM   #12
Geezerbiker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 20, 2011
Location: Willamina, OR
Posts: 1,550
Have you ever read Mark Twain's Stalking the Deceitful Turkey? It's worth looking up...

Tony
Geezerbiker is offline  
Old April 13, 2021, 07:43 PM   #13
bamaranger
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 7,450
season continues, 11 -12 April

Stagpanther, I'll keep the stories coming. We're not quite halfway through the season, and I think the latter half will have more gobbling activity than the first.

11April-church, family

12April- At dawn I'm standing on the N. rim of Arrowhead Hollow again. Despite a full days rest yesterday, I had trouble getting up and was a bit lethargic in getting away. I'd planned a different hunt, but Arrowhead is close and I know there's birds here. I float a series of owl hoots down and a bird gobbles about a 1/4mi away, down on the hollow floor, and it sounds very close to where I killed the bird on Sat PM. There's just enough light that I can drop down into the hollow and move that direction, and I start that way, steadily but with some care. I cross the serpentine creek in the bottom and stop in a mild thicket on opposite the creek bank, having covered about 300 yds. I better slow way down, get masked and gloved, and possibly check this gobbler. With the leaves out, he may well be closer than I thought. As I pull my stuff on, the bird obliges by gobbling on his own and he is close, like under 100 yds close. I drop to my knees, and carefully worm to an open spot about 30 ft away, where I can have some lanes to shoot through and there is a cluster of fence post sized saplings that will have to do for a seat and cover. As I swing my legs around to sit, I pop in a mouth call. There is no way I'll be able to manage the slate with the bird this close. As I begin to scan the skyline against the growing morning light, another gobble rings out followed by some yelps, and I spot a turkey on the roost, ....I mean just right there at about 50 yds. It's way up in a big white oak. As I watch, there's a gobble again, and it's clear, whatever this bird is that I've got eyes on, it did not gobble, so there's at least two here. When the next gobble sounds, it sounds different, slightly to the right, up high, again, not the bird I'm watching, and I'm beginning to think there's two gobblers and I'm looking at a hen. I make a couple of very soft tree yelps on the mouth call, and the one of the unseen toms gobbles, the other seems to give some coarse gobbler yelps. A jake and a tom maybe?

To add more drama, I hear wings off to the left as a turkey comes off the roost and lands in the hollow bottom. The gobblers respond accordingly. I call again and all goes quiet. In a minute or two I spot a black shape easing my way along the base of the hollow to the left. Turkey, but geez is it little, so much so that at first I thought it was a crow, smallest hen I've ever seen in the spring. The wee hen comes on, right at me along the hollow base. It likely has heard my calls from ground level and is coming over to check the new girl out. At first I'm hopeful, if the gobblers see this hen on the ground, they may helicopter down right here, in range, and I'll get a shot. But it doesn't work out that way. The tiny hen keeps coming and at 20 ft or so, finally realizes that the brown and green glob at the base of those saplings is odd. She clucks once, the toms gobble, but then she pivots, begins putting, the alarm call, and scoots up the wall of the hollow, clearly alarmed. All goes quiet again. Not good. I risk some soft yelps to try and convince the toms that all is really OK, but things have changed. The most distant of the toms, the one I believe is the mature bird, eventually pitches from his roost, and I see him briefly as he sails down and away about 100 yds. The bird I'm watching and believe is a hen follows in just a minute or so, and when she goes, the second, yelping gobbler (jake?) follows her from his perch, he was just right there too, out of sight.

On the ground, 100 yds plus now, the gobbling resumes, and there clearly moving away. I pick up and follow, but they move on as well. By 7:00AM, there well down the hollow. I hear the last gobble at about 8:00AM, there up in the dang private pasture and I'm likely done here. I stay for an hour, calling lightly, hoping for action but nothing happens. I feel pretty beat, even though I should be rested. I decide to call it, but I'll prowl the creek bank as I go, maybe I can find another point. And I do, not as pretty as the one last week, but enough to leave satisfied.

Alls not over though.....I get about 3/4 of the way out and realize my camo jacket, which I'd stuffed in my vest as it warmed, has pulled out. I retrace my steps all the way back.......no jacket. I retrace back to the point I discovered it was missing......30 yds prior, it's laying alongside a big rock I'd sat on to rest. . The whole episode led to alot of walking and it's now hot. I make it back to the Bronco about 1:00PM totally squashed.
bamaranger is offline  
Old April 14, 2021, 03:28 PM   #14
bamaranger
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 7,450
AL gobbler season, 13, 14April....bird#4!!!!!

13April-I decide to hunt on the Big Lease, Irish Ridge. I almost always hear turkeys there, and despite the fact that Arrowhead Hollow has birds as well, I've not had a decent hunt on Irish Ridge this season. Last week, when I got there, there was a truck parked and somebody in ahead of me. I leave 15 minutes earlier this morning.....and when I arrive, there sets the same dang truck. Geez, this guy must sleep here! But, I have a plan!

Irish Ridge has of course, a corresponding Irish Hollow, and it's a big one. Last week, I reacquainted myself with the "back door" to the hollow, the far west end. I'd marked a trail down that way last season, 2020, and walked it again midday last week. Now, with this guy on the east end, I'll drive on 3/4 mile or so and enter on the opposite end on my "secret" trail. It's still dark, I hit the woods and my mini light picks up the reflective tacks I've set thru the pines to the hardwood hollow below. As I reach the hardwoods, there's enough twilight now to see a bit, and I hear a hunter owl call up on the east end, likely my "camper". Immediately, multiple toms sound off out in front of me, perhaps a quarter mile away, and with their fanfare, other birds gobble up where the owl call originated as well. Once again Irish Hollow is full of gobblers, there must be 5-6 or more in here!

I work out into the timber, closing the distance, the closest birds gobbling steadily, sounds like there's at least 2, maybe more. I select a big red oak and sit, run off a series of yelps on my slate. No definitive response, though the birds continue to gobble. Sounds now like their on the ground and moving straight away, likely towards old pastures to the N., where I do not have permission to hunt. I've spent many a morning trying to coax toms out of those old clearings without success and this morning is no different. Those toms are likely with hens. They gobble incessantly for about an hour, then drift off out of hearing. I hear no other shots or calling, I dunno what the guy to the east ended up doing. I climb back up to the edge of the timber where I can hear well, and listen for about 2 hours, working the crow call, but no other action happens. Back to the Bronco, and I'm home by 11:00.

14April-Headed back to Arrowhead Hollow again, and will approach from the south along a boundary line with private property. The adjacent landowner is a bit of a kook, he doesn't allow hunting, and resents anybody hunting "near" his place as well, some of our guys have had confrontations with him out along the county road. I leave the house extra early in our old 4dr Toyota sedan, (who hunts from a car?), U-turn and park short, and walk up the county road to the trail that drops into the hollow. It's considerably easier way to access the place, but I've avoided using it so as to maintain the peace. This morning a bit of subterfuge with the non descript vehicle, and some easy walking along the paved road, and I'm in without a hassle. I tiptoe into the hollow floor, and at dawn am seated near the creek crossing I'd described in earlier posts. I sit for an hour, roughly 6:30AM , but the only gobbles I hear are way to the west, possibly off the lease, 3/4 of a mile or so off. That seems the only game in town, so I pick up and head that way, by the time I get closer, maybe they will have moved in my direction on their own.

I've only covered about 75 yds when a gobble breaks out off to my right, inside 100 yds away. Immediately, on the opposite side of the hollow, a hen begins to sound off incessantly. Loud, raucous yelps in lengthy strings, so much so that it doesn't seem natural. At first I suspected another hunter with a mouth call, but then I hear wings as the mouthy hen flies down and heads towards the hollow floor. Back where the gobble came from, a second tom cuts loose, and a third tom joins with raspy yelps. There's three toms here, inside 100 yds, and I'm between them and their hens. I figure I'll kill one, be back home and meet the "Lunch Bunch" uptown at 11:30 with a story and time to spare!

It doesn't work out that way. The toms stay on the roost, gobbling sporadically, never really answering me, clearly locked in on the noisy hen and however many girlfriends are with her. At about 7:45, I see two dark shapes sail off from the right towards the last area I heard the hens, further west 200-300 yds. The toms just left the roost, and coarse yelps drifting the same direction indicate that #3 is headed that way on foot too. The party just relocated. I pick up and move that direction 100 yds or so. There's enough gobbling up ahead that I can place the flock easily, and I set up about 150 yds off amongst a cluster of mature white oaks with a nice open area to my front. This is a good set up, if I can just get one of those gobblers to leave the party! I answer the random gobbles every other time, swapping strikers. In one instance, holding silent for 15 minutes or more. Nothing seems to change. There's still sporadic gobbling, and nothing seems closer, I begin to get a bit weary and fight the nods, but then things go my way.....quickly!!!!!

I see it way out, an airborne turkey, flying right at me, way up above the trees. It's initially maybe 200 yds, but it closes the distance in the blink of an eye. I think it will fly by, but it sets its wings, side slips, and drops down hard to my left, with a beating of wings to alight about 15 ft up on a limb, in easy range. I got the gun up, but I'm not on it, and I'm not sure if hen or tom? That question is answered when it gobbles

I'd been raised it's unethical to shoot a gobbler from the roost, and in some states it's illegal. But this bird has come to call and for whatever reason chose to land on that limb. I see that as different than roost shooting, and ease the gun the final few inches onto it's wattles. At the shot it drops like a feed sack in a cascade of feathers. I hustle over, .....it's another jake.
But again, not your average jake. It's has a full fan, not the adolescent shouldered fan, and 3 beards. It goes 13-1/2 lbs on pap's spring scale, and the spurs are typical jake nubs. I'm not disappointed in him and it was a tremendous hunt.
bamaranger is offline  
Old April 14, 2021, 04:39 PM   #15
eastbank
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 7, 2008
Location: pa.
Posts: 2,303
one of my turkey hunting buddy,s and i shot our shotguns in this morning, he shot his 20 ga 3" with #6 winchester longbird,s and i shot my pump 12ga 3" remington turkey special with tss #9,s and my pump remington 20 ga 3" with tss # 9,s at 40 yards. my friend,s 20 ga was getting lean at 40 yards, but if he,s on one he will kill it. both my shotgun,s with tss # 9,s will kill them dead if i,m on them at 40 yards, i prefer 35 yards or closer. i fired several winchester super X 12 ga 3" 1-7/8 oz # 5,s out of my rem turkey special at 40 yards and they were a BIG disapointment, you may kill a turkey if you get a golden BB in the right place, but i wouldn,t bet on it. i spent the rest of the day spraying my camo,s with tick spray. BAM,s post gave me the itch bad.

Last edited by eastbank; April 14, 2021 at 04:48 PM.
eastbank is offline  
Old April 14, 2021, 05:06 PM   #16
Scorch
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2006
Location: Washington state
Posts: 14,583
Hey, Bama! Thanks for sharing, it's good reading! Congratulations on your birds!
__________________
Never try to educate someone who resists knowledge at all costs.
But what do I know?
Summit Arms Services
Scorch is offline  
Old April 15, 2021, 03:08 PM   #17
bamaranger
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 7,450
AL gobbler season 2021-comments

Somehow I managed to post the same stories twice, the accounts of 11-12April, sorry 'bout that.

Geezer, I will check on Twain's "Deceitful Turkey" and advise. I can't recall reading it, but somehow it seems familiar. Short story?

e.bank, Hope you and your pal get to hunt a lot and hear lots of gobbles. I would agree that a 20 ga. with #6 lead is a 40 yd gun at best and closer much better. I stopped shooting #6 lead some time ago when my supply of 12 ga Activ shot shells (remember them?) ran out. Activ had a 2-1/4 oz lead #6 load in the 3" shell which shot quite well in my gun, as did their 2-1/4 oz load of #5. Those 2-1/4 oz loads were probably slow from my 21" barrel, but the patterns were good. I even have a partial box of Federal 3"-2 oz loads of #7-1/2 (which is a virtual cloud of shot!) with which I have killed a few gobblers over decoys, but I think far to small for use as a GP turkey. These days my go to GP turkey load is the Win XR Longbeard 12ga, 3" , 1-3/4 oz of #5 lead. It shoots almost too tight from my guns. I have a small supply of the Win XX 1-3/4, #5 high speed load as well, and will load it late in the season when the leaves come out full, or in controlled setups over decoys. Seems 10 yrs or so ago, the NRA American Hunter, or possibly the Rifleman magazine ran a very good article on lead turkey loads, that corresponded with the release of the Win XX loads, and I became a fan of the XX and later, the even better XR at that time. Seems they shot gel and some type of bone or simulated bone, and determined some numbers for how far certain shot sizes would do well. Lead #6 did not look too good in their tests.

Okay, so I took today off, slept in, mowed the lawn and performed several other tasks that have been put off for turkey hunting. Alabama has a 5 bird limit, so if I'm fortunate enough to shoot another one, I'm done. I need to be selective too, I don't really want to shoot another jake. I also need to lean on bamaboy to hunt with his Dad! I've got a friend who wants to tag along one morning too. Doc appts tomorrow, so I likely won't hunt then either. Today is quite pretty, I may slip off and listen for roosting turkeys on the WMA this evening, it's just too nice out.
bamaranger is offline  
Old April 15, 2021, 03:40 PM   #18
sako2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 12, 2009
Posts: 506
Bama great stories. I remember the Activ shells. Worked really well for me to. Wish they were still available.
sako2 is offline  
Old April 19, 2021, 11:26 AM   #19
ghbucky
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 12, 2020
Posts: 768
Geezerbiker:

Thanks for the tip on the Twain story. I had never heard of it. Quite funny. If someone would like to read it, it is very short:

https://americanliterature.com/autho...ceitful-turkey
ghbucky is offline  
Old April 19, 2021, 05:38 PM   #20
Geezerbiker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 20, 2011
Location: Willamina, OR
Posts: 1,550
I read it many years ago in college and I thought that it was very interesting to see how hunting and hunters were not that different 100 & some odd years ago...

Tony
Geezerbiker is offline  
Old April 20, 2021, 09:59 AM   #21
The Happy kaboomer
Member
 
Join Date: October 14, 2009
Posts: 59
The GOOD Activ shells were purchased by Kent shotshell company and promply shut down.
The Happy kaboomer is offline  
Old April 20, 2021, 01:33 PM   #22
bamaranger
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 7,450
AL gobbler season 2021- the "Joker"

I throttle my season back a bit, I've been wide open since before the opener, scouting birds, then hitting it hard once the season began. With one bird left I don't want to finish too early and not be able to hunt. I'm feeling like I'm pretty hot stuff. Fourteen hunts (13 AM, 1 PM) and I've killed 4 gobblers. Yeah, I'm really something............ Ya ever notice that life (or gobbler hunting) will set you back a step or two when you get to feelin' that way?

16April-no hunt, COVID shot #2 in the afternoon. Feel OK. I slip off onto the WMA to roost in the PM, but did not hear anything.

17April-Woke up at dawn sore all over. Every old surgery, injury and some new aches and pains for good measure. Go back to sleep and sleep 'till 3:00PM and feel OK. Had to be the injection.

18April-no hunt, church, family

19April- I decide to hunt public land on what I call the Highway Ridge. Season before last, and this year too, I've heard multiple birds out there, but never got back to hunt it. This spring I figured a way in, using the ATV as far as possible. But I oversleep and never arrive 'till 8:00AM. I stay 'till 1:00PM, the end of legal shooting hours (on the WMA) but never hear a peep. Sure was a pretty day and there's a gorgeous hardwood bench on the side of the ridge that just screams turkey roost.

20April-I'm headed back to the Highway Ridge. I unload the ATV from the trailer and decide I better take a peek at the gas level. Surprise, surprise, ...I'm basically out of gas....poor preparation. I can either hoof it, or go for gas and start late....again. I decide to go for gas, by the time I'd walk over there, it'd be about the same amount of time. I arrive on the crest of the ridge about 6:30AM, and decide not to drop out onto the bench. I'll listen from up top, and maneuver for a calling spot if I hear one. Staying up high lets me hear back over where I parked , and a couple of small hollows in between, as well. I stay planted 'till 8:30AM, working the crow call just a bit, but no response. I'm going elsewhere.

I return to the ATV and beat it out to Slim Ridge. Aptly named, Slim runs E. to W. and is just wide enough on top for a state maintained gravel road. Dropping off on either side are two vast hollows, and the road itself is flanked by steep rocky buttresses that are tricky to negotiate if descending into either hollow. I stay up top again, sitting on a big log, listening off either side. Occasionally gobblers will come up here and strut if hunting pressure is not to high and vehicle traffic is light. I'll work the crow call a bit too. I heard 2 birds here before season, and despite indications of significant hunting pressure, maybe one has survived.

I settle down on a big log about 9:00. When I hear crows in the distance, I get my old wooden Olt out and respond,and typically they'll answer back. I get 4-5 episodes in over the course of an hour, and a little past 10:00, some start again. I clatter back, and on my second run, a gobble breaks out on the hollow floor to the N., just not that far away, I think maybe 150 yds. In business, I don mask and gloves, and start down an old logging path that allows access to the hollow floor. I haven't gone 30 yds, when the tom gobbles again, likely at my footsteps, geez,.........he's gotten closer. I figure I'd rather not try and call him up the steep path, and hope to make the hollow floor and set up. There's no cover on this path anyhow. I don't make it much farther, 10-15 yds, and I see him, ....and he sees me, about 60 yds out.

He doesn't spook hard and flush, just wheels and saunters off, putting as he goes. Nuts. I overran him. Contributing factors:. 1) I misjudged the sound with the leaves out, he was closer than I thought. 2) He was likely moving in my direction to begin with, probably headed to the very path I was using to descend. 3)s My footsteps contributed to it, my easing gait sounded like a hen and he was on his way!

He sure had me fooled, and for that he gets the name "Joker", and I'll be back!
bamaranger is offline  
Old April 24, 2021, 01:04 PM   #23
bamaranger
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 7,450
AL 2021, hunting "Joker'

21April- I wake up motivated to hunt the gobbler I named Joker. Any gobbler that whups me, gets a name and put on my "most wanted" list. When I step outside I'm surprised. It rained, it's cold, and I missed it on the weather report. But I wanna hunt, and so off to Slim Ridge I go. It's a miserable morning, compounded by the fact that I did not dress warmly enough, simply grabbed my hot weather stuff and headed out. I can't sit more than 15 minutes before I begin to shiver, it drizzles briefly twice, the wind comes up, and I'm plain miserable. By 9:00AM I've had it, and head home.

22April- Determined not to have a repeat of yesterday, I dress in fleece this morning and head back to Slim Ridge. It's cold, but bright and sunny, and little wind. I sit up on the gravel road for about an hour at dawn, no telling which side the old bird could have roosted. Hearing nothing, I decide to drop off to the N., as I've heard him on that side twice previously. The easiest way down is the logging road he busted me on Tuesday. I figure I'll throw the old boy a curve ball. He's probably heard lots of calling from that spot, and I certainly spooked him there just two days ago. I walk back E. about 1/4 mile, and ever so carefully pick my way down off the bluff through the rocks, to arrive further over on the hollow floor. There I fashion a simple hide with a few saplings I clip, thrusting them vertically in the ground at my feet. It's 8:00AM. A relatively open white oak flat is ahead of me and I like my set up. I begin calling lightly, every 15-20 minutes, not to loud, not too much. So I think anyhow, but I hear not a peep from a turkey! I stay 'till 10:30, completely comfortable in
my layer of fleece, it's a pretty morning. Highlight of the day happens about 9:00AM. Three deer pick their way along the flat, and as they close, it's clear all are bucks, displaying the first of their summer antler growth at the swelled pedicles where the antlers begin. One is clearly much larger than the other two, and they all continue to close, the lead two passing by a just 4-5 yds. The trailing larger deer veers off slightly and comes right at me, stops at my feet, and stretches out to take a bite of the leaves on my improvised blind. At the absolute last moment, he realizes somethings not right, and bounces backward about 10 ft or so. I likely could have bonked him on the nose with my shotgun barrel My camo set up is working pretty good! With a wave of my hand, I run them all off. I see three other deer that morning as well. It'd be hard to get a deer out of here, but I need to remember this little white oak flat next deer season.

23April- A long time friend calls the evening before, he needs a ride to the doc's office this morning, and we spend the day together, do lunch, and swap stories.

24April-It rans overnight and into the morning, and I sleep in 'till 10:00AM
bamaranger is offline  
Old April 24, 2021, 09:01 PM   #24
Geezerbiker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 20, 2011
Location: Willamina, OR
Posts: 1,550
Do you have to hunt them with shotguns only like we do here or can you use rifles? I used to talk to a fellow in Virginia that hunted turkeys with a .22 rim-fire magnum.

Tony
Geezerbiker is offline  
Old April 25, 2021, 11:41 AM   #25
eastbank
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 7, 2008
Location: pa.
Posts: 2,303
i,m ready for sat. the first day here, cloths tick sprayed, shotgun patterened(scoped 2.5x leupold) 320 #9 tss in a 10" circle at 40 yards. just about all the shot on the 18" target at 40 yards. i,ll go in at 5:00am and settle in .
eastbank is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:55 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2020 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Page generated in 0.13206 seconds with 10 queries