Friday, June 2, 2017

Success is only a Shot Away

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The next day was another beautiful and sunny mid western day with not a cloud in the sky.  Most of my friends that hunt turkeys are up before dawn cracks and are on site at first light to nail a big bird as they come off the roost.  I have done that before, but an old turkey hunter recently passed told me most of the big birds are harvested between 8 and 11 AM.  

That works well for me as I pack the truck in the evening and after breakfast and five gallons of coffee, I head up to where I am going to hunt.  On that day. I would hunt on the opposite hill of the big valley where mister big shot came out of the woods.  The general spot was well remembered, and my goal was to nail that big sucker when he stepped into the open to scratch and peck.  

Hiding places were not good as the bank rose sharply into the timber and there was not a lot of cover.  I should have brought my tent blind along but it is just one more thing to have to carry or unload at the hunting location.  Plus, I sometimes wonder if a bird does not finish because that tent is sticking up at a location where there was nothing before.  I would hope readers would drop me a line and tell me their experiences.  

Close to the bottom of the hill there was a pile of timber that had fallen and was dead as a door nail.  I could push myself up against the fallen timber, but I would be open in the front again.  I have done that before with success, but also with failure.  Checking everything out, getting behind the fallen timber was not a good idea due to all the branches and the steep rise in the terrain. 

I was all set up by 8 AM and waiting for my guest to appear.  With the gun across my legs, the call in my hand, and the camera at my side, I was hoping for success on all fronts.

It did not take long.  Mr big shot stepped out of the timber. with the jake.  He was off to my right about 35 yards and he was very positioned for a shot.  The jake then stepped out of the woods and was right directly between me and the big tom.  I should have shot the jake just for spoiling my shot at the big tom, but I didn't.  The two of them walked straight away from where they popped out of the woods.  

I gave a couple of clucks and he answered, but did not move off his line of walking away.  Pretty soon, he was out of range and then he turned and was straight away from me.  The jake just kept on walking away, and I said to myself, "I will get you next year."

I had the funky chicken decoy right in front of me about ten yards out.  He then puffed up and started for the decoy.  I slowly laid the call down and ever so slowly pulled my legs up.  Then again, I very slowly moved the gun up and laid it across my knees with the butt of the gun in my shoulder.  This was perfect and I said to myself, "just keep coming toward me because I have a nice surprise for you."

flextone Funky Chicken Turkey Decoy

flextone Funky Chicken Turkey Decoy
Click on the decoy or the link above and buy from Bass Pro.  This is the decoy to have that sucks those big toms in and makes them really mad.  They just want to kick sand in his face.

Slowly he turned to his right and slowly walked away.  I had a shot, that I did not take.  It was a little long, but I am shooting #5 shot with 3.5 inch shells and a full choke.  I have done this before, and it is because I wanted him closer and it appeared that was what was happening.  My readers, write to me and tell me your experience.  

There is Mr. Big Shot out of gun range, but still showing off.  

Quickly he was gone and strolling away at about a 30 degree angle.  What was interesting was the jake did not join him, but kept walking away.  I am going to get that sucker come fall or next spring.  He has spoiled two shots for me and he deserves to be in the oven.  When I cook him, I will have friends over and we will toast his demise with some fine champagne.

Anyway, now I am sitting with nothing in site except the squirrels in the trees behind me and facing the sun.  It was getting warm, but patience is a virtue and this time I had some for a change.

Off to my left came four birds doing their thing of scratching and pecking at the ground.  As they came closer it was three jakes and a descent size tom.  Ok, he is not the biggest boy in the woods, but meat is meat.  I gave some clucks and the tom stuck out his neck and gave a good gobble.  Not bad we will take him if he comes closer.

I wanted pictures of the group, but again there was to be NO movement.  My bottom was getting a little sore and my back ached, but I still did not move.  No pain, no gain was the saying of the day right now.  A couple of clucks and they adjusted their line of travel straight toward the funky chicken.

The boy would spread his fan and start to strut, but then would fold it up and continue his advance.  He definetely had the funky chicken in his line of sight.  He would spread the fan take a few steps, let it fold back up and repeat the process.  Off to my left was a tree about 5 feet away.

The boy pulled to the front of the pack with the three jakes lagging behind.  I pulled the gun into my shoulder and waited till the tree was between me and the bird.  At that point, I adjusted the gun and my legs for him to step into my line of sight and the gun's barrel.  When he stepped into my line of sight, kaboom.  He folded up like a sack of potatoes.  We will have potatoes with him when he is cooked.
Nice young tom and he will make a couple of great meals with friends.  He was really big in the breast. 

He was flopping around like I have seen them do so many times and with a 22 cal. Ruger I gave him the finishing touch in the head to let him bleed out.  The reason for this is to avoid having blood run down my back as I picked him up by the legs and thrown him over my shoulder.

What was really interesting was the fact that when I came out of the hiding place the jakes did not take off.  They seemed really confused and did not flee until I gave him the final plunk in the head to bleed him out.  I have seen jakes hang around before one time, and this is really unusual.

Picking him up, he was really heavy and I had judged the size by the smaller fan he displayed.  When I got him home he yielded two nice slabs of breast meat that headed to the freezer.  The thighs and legs I give to a friend that I hunt with.  He is from the mountains of West Virginia,  and has an appetite for all kinds of game and parts.

This was a great hunt. 

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck,  Hank

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