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Archive for May, 2020

Longbeard

I was looking into the stars when I decided to try shocking a gobbler. It worked! The time was five o’clock. The bird was about half-a-mile away and in the same area where he was roosted on the first day of the gobbler season. I quickly crossed the road and headed to a spring seep to try to get close. I clucked to hear the gobbler farther up the hollow of approximately 100-120 yards away. However, before I could make a move a hen started yelping and cutting directly above me. I was trying to decide on my next move when a loud thunderous gobble exploded near her. I couldn’t move now. I was in an area with a lot of hazel, but still open ranges of thirty-five yards or more, but bordering a rather open woodlands. trying to move there would risk being spotted. I set down to see what would happen.

The farther gobbler left the roost and began moving away. He quit calling when the closer gobbler along with others began moving. I soon called in a hen. the group worked along that open border eventually moving across the spring seep and going onto the other side. They were jakes, but that one bird sure sounds like a mature bird. Prior to seven A.M. I noticed the winds becoming agitated. This would make hearing and calling more difficult.

  I moved uphill to try to get the first gobbler to answer…no deal! I circled the hollow and had the jakes gobbling again until I tried to move to a better spot and was caught. I was heading back to the other side of the road when I heard a gobbler. he was on a gasoline. I tried to move on him, but by the time I reached the area he had, apparently, returned far enough away to not hear me. Also, the area he went into was heavily posted. This has happened other times to me. They walk the line and turn and walk the line back.

I crossed the road and began moving and listening. I heard a gobble. I realized where he was located and moved in close. Suddenly, I heard a loud noise as of metal slamming together and something like a car door. I had never called yet and the tom went quiet. What was going on? I soon went to see if another hunter had driven up a close gasoline road. Nobody was there, but I check some kind of metal door at the well and it had banged in the wind.

I searched an open area and saw a hen feeding. I began to make a circle in the area trying to stir up a gobbler.  I came upslope in an area with lots of

Spring Beauty

young maples and called. I moved higher and spotted three jakes feeding where a lot of low leafed-out plants were present. While standing I clucked loudly and called two in towards me. I am sure the third one was there, but I just didn’t see him. They eventually spotted something and stood and stared at me trying to figure out  I was. I walked towards the jeep  planning on quitting whenever I reached the vehicle.

While moving I would see two more turkeys. I got a photo of one longboard, shown above. One of the issues I have is sometimes wishing I had my camera in hand instead of the shotgun. Sometimes it is the opposite. That doesn’t matter to me at all. Either way the day is a success.

As Saturday, I heard a Barred Owl. I saw a number of deer, too.

 

 

 

 

Young ferns

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The first day of the 2020 Spring Gobbler Season was, indeed, an enjoyable morning afield. I hadn’t scouted at all the area I chose to hunt. I wasn’t sure of the amount of hunters I may encounter. Interestingly, I never heard  or saw a hunter and this was the first day.

The first gobble I heard occurred at 5:15 A.M. I know this for I struggled to view my watch in the darkness. I continued to go uphill and soon I was across a hollow from the gobbling bird. If this had not been the first day I would have moved closer to the bird, but I know sometimes another hunter who I have met on several times hunts the top of the hill.

After some time additional gobbling occurred near the first gobbler. I could hear other gobblers very far off in the distance.

Early sunshine and Spicebush density.

Eventually, I began moving towards the gobbler after he had left the roost. I moved cautiously knowing if I heard what might be a hunter’s calls, I would reverse the movement.  As I moved I quickly realized the gobbler was moving uphill towards the flat area. Much of this woodland area has Spicebush  growing  making for some dense cover, however, once one begins upslope the woods become much more open. I could see the rim of the flat and decided to call and see what the turkey would do next. Moving closer could end up with those unfortunate meetings. The tom loved my calling and was gobbling a lot. Suddenly, off to my left and hidden by the Spicebush density was explosive gobbling and close! Now I had a dilemma: where should I concentrate my viewing. I worked the eyes under the face mask.

The gobbling included young birds for sure, but one seemed very loud and deep. The bird above me was still gobbling well. In front of me and to my

Early Dogwood blossom

left I saw movements of turkeys. WOW, all five gobblers were Jakes or first year gobblers.  They worked uphill and, as soon as they, maneuvered up and over the hill’s top the other gobbler fell quiet. My theory is these five gobblers  may have been bossing the single two-year old bird around causing him to shrink away into the distant woods.

I worked to the top to try to stir up the single bird, but had the jakes gobbling again. Shortly, I could see the fan with the longer tail feathers.  I enjoyed the show, but  quit calling and they drifted out-of-site. I moved again and in time they five birds came in again. No adult birds! I decided to walk away and see if I could stir another bird at another area. I did find a few morels on the walk.

I carried some Ramp stalks and a few Virginia Bluebells with me and I planted these eat some varying lace hoping they survive, thrive and spread in future years.

Rabbit

Getting back to the hunt… I crossed the road and circled the hill not hearing any gobbling. Just before ten o’clock I called prior to entering a field. In seconds a hen appeared and took off on a run. I stepped ahead to see a nice longbearded gobbler. He had little concern for that blob at the field’s edge as he turned and followed the hen. As I was heading to go I saw two more jakes with a hen.

I called it a day for I needed to go to my mother’s and mow a steep a bank and trim.

I saw a total of nine deer, two squirrels, two rabbits and ten turkeys.

 

 

 

 

 

Morels

 

Virginia Bluebells

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