Friday, April 03, 2009

A Tale of Two Turkeys

Last Saturday morning started very early, the alarm startled me out of my slumber at 5:30am. The reason for my unusual wake up time was that the turkey woods were calling my name, Osceola turkeys to be exact! I had an appointment with destiny and Steve Ard, a member of my church and a good friend. I was to meet him at 6:30 so I had to get going.

We started out hunting at one of my deacons houses, Eric Rendell. We hunting until about 10:15 with no luck at all. We didn't hear anything. We walked the property hunting hard, but the wind was making it very difficult. We thought we heard some turkeys, but maybe not. Who knows? We dropped by McDonald's for some grub, and then headed out to Steve's hunting club. We were met at the gate by another member of the club who gave us a heads up that he had just seen some turkeys, so we made a b-line in their direction. After about 30 minutes of being split up, I walked back out to where Steve was set up, the wind was blowing pretty steady. As I came out of the cut-through that I had been on I looked down the road. 450 yards away was a turkey. I dropped down into the ditch and got my binoculars out of my vest. When they came into focus I saw RED on the head, and knew it was game time. Steve came up to where I was and we made a very quick game plan. I hit my Lynch's Fool Proof box call a few times, trying to cut through the wind, and it worked. We hit the Pine trees and began to cut the distance down quickly, about 200 yards. What we didn't know was the turkey had hit the trees on the other side of the road and did the same thing. I poked my head out and didn't see anything, my senses were on high alert and I was looking hard. All of a sudden, Steve said "TURKEY!" I was really looking hard, but in the wrong the direction. I was looking down the road and the turkey was in the ditch about 15 yards away from me. He saw something he didn't like and ran off down the road and back into the woods.

I tried to hide myself as best I could in the ditch and started studying the tree line across the dirt road. All of a sudden I saw his red head about 100 yards down the road. He busted out of the trees and across the road. I hit my box call a few more times. Then he appeared, on my side of the road, in the same ditch I was sitting in, and he was coming my way. Steve was on my right shoulder, and we were both very excited. As the jake came closer, my emotions got the best of me. He kept coming closer and closer. I thought he was about 30 yards away and I sent an angry swarm of number 4's his direction and cut him a flip or two. He flopped around for a minute, but my first turkey was down.

Steve and I met again on Monday morning at 6:30am for what would be a short morning of hunting. We were through the gate of the club by 6:40 and set up before first light. As the glorious morning began to break, the gobblers began to do their thing. Can I just say, "there's nothing like a gobbler sounding off at first light!" It wasn't very long and we had 4 jakes coming to our spread of decoy's. They were coming from Steve's direction, he finally saw them and dropped on of them in his tracks. As we went out to retrieve Steve's jake, I looked down the road to the same spot as Saturday, and what do you think was at the other end but a turkey. It was too foggy to see clearly even with binoculars, so we ducked back in the woods and set up for round two of the morning. We hadn't had time to grab Steve's bird.

The hen came down the road in about 10 minutes time, but she wouldn't come past the dead bird laying in the road. As she walked away, I heard the distinct gobble of a mature "Tom." I whispered to Steve, "We've got to get that bird out of the road." And off he went. He got to the edge of the woods and did a very effective belly crawl to the middle of the road, grabbed the jake and slid back into the woods.

About five minutes after he got settled back in, I hit my slate call and the Tom sounded off again. He was CLOSER this time. I hot the slate for a few more yelps, and then caught movement out of my left eye. "Tom" turkey had locked on our decoys, went into a full strut, and came running. My gun was on the wrong side of the tree so I slowly moved it to the correct side, but he was moving to fast and I didn't get a shot on the left side, so now I had to move my gun back to the right side with eagle eye Tom within 25 yards and closing fast. I got it moved undetected, he kept coming. He passed the tree and was now in plane view, at a dead run in full strut. Let's just say he never knew what hit him! Those three inch magnum number 4's did their job, and in less than eight hours of combined hunting I had called in and killed my first two turkeys, and had called in another for my good friend.

The only problem is that you can only take two birds a year in Florida. But I can't wait until next year; I'm addicted.

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