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Archive for the ‘2012 Spring Gobbler Season’ Category

The fog was thick all morning. I was soaked from the mid-thigh down from walking through tall dew-laden grasses. I was feeling confident as I stood on the highest round top waiting for a gobble somewhere around me.

Time continued on until I heard a gobbler somewhere out along the ridge. the sound was not very loud. This, however, could be due to the fog and foliage muffling the gobble. I did some calling , but never heard another gobble.

I walked along a fencerow near the round top field. the fog made seeing any distance difficult. Suddenly, there he was a gobbler only about 50-60 yards from me exiting the woods.  I lowered myself and erected an artificial fanned gobbler tail. this was to try to lure him closer and to conceal me more. remember I am along a fencerow.

After awhile I eased the tail up peering under it through dense fog. The gobbler was higher on the hill now and began to strut upon seeing the tail. I did some calling. Still no gobble!

An hour elapsed and I have yet to hear another gobbler. I peaked again and no turkey could be seen. I became braver and scanned the field I could see. He was gone.

I crept over to the other side of the round top and called.  I slowly walked along when there it was… the top of the fanned tail.  This hill has many contour deviations in terrain so this fact allowed me to move farther aalong into a better position.   I clucked and still nothing to indicate any interest at all.  I decided to slowly ease up to look for that tail’s top again. The head popped up and the bird was down!

Dew-soaked gobbler

I ran to collect the gobbler and saw another bird flying away. What just happened here? The gobbler I shot was a jake with a 6-inch beard. I never saw any other turkeys all morning while watching the gobbler. I was slightly disappointed, but still relieved the shot was true and humane. The young bird will nourish our bodies.

I had seen some baby ground hogs with their parent. I had heard many species of warbler music, yet the big birds were not vocal at all. The fog was lessening as I drove home.

As a note: I saw my first firefly this morning.

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Foggy morning

I was high on the hill at 5:10 A.M. waiting to see what the new dawning would bring. I heard a “Swoooosh” directly behind me and immediately turned to see a whip-or-will passing within feet of my head! I could hear another on off in the distance doing its familiar call.

I went farther south into the Cherry Run watershed this morning. The hills become dramatically steeper and higher  a short distance from where I had been hunting. I find these abrupt variances amazing!

Cherry Run Watershed

I heard a subtle gobble and then another. I turned to try to focus in to the direction of the source. Gil-obble-obble!  Aha!  The bird seems to be far across the big watershed valley across the road and across Cherry Run.  Off I go!

As I reached the top of the adjacent hill all was quiet in turkeydom. I began a sneak and call and soon received an answer…a gobble! The bird was  along a hilly field above where he was earlier roosting. I was soaked, by now, from running across high grasses (reclaimed strip job) and the exertion. I eventually walked to about a hundred yards from him. He soon went silent again.

Gobbler fans!

I eased among multiflora rose brambles to peek into the field  I saw a hen and shortly spotted three full-fanned tails of adult gobblers. The shape of the terrain allowed to only see the upper third of the turkeys. I watched them stay within a 20-30 feet area strutting about. The birds went over the grade and I called again and one gobbler came back over and strutted to about 50 yards from my position. The field is on a round top of the hill with plenty of contours and irregular hollows, etc.

The field..the gobblers were along the edge.

The birds went out of site and I decided to work around the round top and position myself in the direction they were leaning to.  After some time I could see a hen, but no gobblers. OH NO! I retraced my path and peeked over a crest in the field and the turkeys were strutting within 20 feet where I had been calling from!They had left the hen!  This seldom happens!

White Clintonia Lily

I went down slope and worked around and peered out through the foliage again and I could see strutting gobblers about 100 yards from me. I did some soft calling. No gobbles!  I eased out a little later and one gobbler was about fifty yards. away. I thought this could work!

I heard a hen way down slope and after a spell I heard her clucking near the field’s edge. Not again!  My final peek and all birds were gone. I started a slow and deliberate sneak and heard a gobble. I crept into the woods and the bird(s) were about 150 yards away. I began calling and was answered!  The hen began cutting and cackling and I gave her angry calls in return. She came in to within 20 feet of me. the gobblers were moving too.

Suddenly, the gobbles came from within range. I steadied the shotgun and I couldn’t see them through the multiflora roses. Come on show yourselves!

The hen for whatever reason decided to take flight and she veered over the gobblers back in the direction they had all come from. The woods went silent. I heard one more gobble back away from me and silence!

I saw opossum; groundhog babies; squirrels, deer, including a couple of bucks and at least, seven different turkeys in all. This is why it is called hunting and not getting. I was so close at different times all morning.

 

 

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Red-spotted Newt-land stage.

Prior to leaving for the woods, I placed eye drops in both eyes and used a nasal spray in hopes of warding off much allergy problems. I was almost to where I wished to wait in the woods and at 5:10 a tickle in my throat couldn’t be suppressed. I coughed several times into my sleeve. Fifteen minutes later, I once again coughed once. Could these spells thwarted any gobbling?  Well Duh!   

Unkown beetle-note caddis fly attached.

If the bird was there he didn’t gobble at all. In fact this would be the first time out where a gobble wasn’t heard! I met up with , my step-father, Bob around 7:30. he went to help my brother-in-law and I drove about a mile and walked up over the hill. Bad move! The allergies were scratching my eyes and red splotches formed over my arms and  the misery was taking over my desire to try for turkeys. I was heading home by 9:45 A.M.

However, I did see several deer including two different bucks. Squirrels were about. I was descending a hill and discovered a wood turtle. I picked up the fellow and carried him to the bottom to the creek. He seemed to enjoy the water.

Weather pending, i am attempting to try this all again. I will be carrying my eye drops; nasal spray; pills and rubbing alcohol. Wish ne luck!

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     Sometimes I must be squirrely! I didn’t get to bed until 11:30 P.M. ,yet, I woke up at 3:45 A.M. to try to go turkey hunting! I crept into a position and fought sleep while in the woods. I would go into a slight stupor state, yet aware of te sounds around me. I heard one gobble, but I wasn’t sure if the bird was on my side or across the road. I moved 100 yards farther along the ridge and set and waited for a second gobble in order to locate him. That second response never happened. I heard another bird farther down the hollow. He, too only gobbled once. I think they communicate a battle plan against me at times!

Box turtle

I became chilled and started to walk in the direction of the second gobble and about 9:00 I walked into a bird. Of course, the turkey saw me at the same time. I decided to try another area.

Teasing me!

Now,  the heat was starting to be felt and, to make the morning worse, the allergies were acting up. Now, I am very tired, warming fast and itchy eyes; sneezes and a few welts on my face.  By 11:00 in the morning the venture was lost for me. I decided to abort the mission. While leaving I saw two longbearded birds and two hens. They were all in private property and I didn’t try to call to them. These birds were not gobbling and one was strutting.

I went home and I changed clothes and slept until 5:00!!!

I did see some deer and squirrels. I watched a pileated woodpecker fly within twenty feet of me. that is rare to see these birds up close. I walked onto abox turtle. This makes four of these turtles this spring.

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This was the best morning all season in regards to the weather…high pressure system; cool and no wind. I had stealthily maneuvered myself 130 yards  within the site where the big gobbler usually roosts. I was about 100 yards below the crest of the hill. A Lenni-Lenape warrior would have been proud!

Shortly after 5:00 A.M. the gobbler from way off in the posted area sounded off. I mentally spoke to myself refusing to fall for that temptation.  I could hear another gobbler  later.  I elected to sneak back out to the gas line even after telling myself the manuever I had just completed was the best thing to do.

As I rounded the point of the hill I heard a gobbler much closer and he was across a shallow gully in an open woods. I raced up hill and quartered around to plan my attack. Gil-Obble-Obble-Obble directly behind me was loud and clear. My earlier plan was right on. He was about 120 yards from me. The other bird was about 200 yards from me. I decided to try from this tree.

The big bird apparently henned up for after about 8 gobbles he was quiet. Now,I focused on the other bird who was down from his roost and walking uphill away from me. I bee-lined at an angle and soon realized this gobbler had made his position on the top of the hill. I set up and called and was immediately answered back. In moments the big bird was strutting and gobbling about 120 yards from me at the crest of the hill. He began to walk downhill as I kept the Remington 12 gauge focused on his vital area.

    The bird was coming at such an angle that I needed to adjust my head and eyes. Bad move! The glasses began to fog up and I purposely forced my breath (I brushed this morning!) from the side. I moved my trigger finger slowly and attempted to clear my right eye area. I could see the turkey, but he was clear. The site, however, was on and the shot taken.

The gobbler was just shy of twenty pounds. He sported a one inch spur and an 11/16 inch spur. The beard was 9 3/4 inches long and rather thin.

I saw three hens and 6 deer while driving home. I located my cousin, Donnie Smail’s truck and followed our usual custom by placing a feather on his windshield.

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The temperatures were in the upper thirties as I walked  in the pre-dawn lights. A steady breeze was felt throughout the day too. A woodcock doing its mating ritual air dance descended and when the Timberdoodle was only about ten feet from my head spotted me and diverted to land behind me. I would hear several while walking  and later I would see one fly from the ground. (I looked for eggs, but didn’t find any.)

Steep enough for ya?

I heard the gobbler from the last several mornings and I told myself I would NOT be falling for that game this day.  I walked up and over trying to hear a gobbler over the distant road noise which was exceptionally loud this  morning.  I circled back around and I heard a gobbler across the hollow and road. I detoured at an angle hoping to locate and move in prior to his flying from the roost. I failed. I heard a few gobbles while he was on the ground. Soon, I set up and he was silent. I wondered if the turkey could have spotted me in the open woods. Gil-obble-obble! I made one call after hearing him and he was silent . I waited an hour before taking a walk and call tour.

At 9:30 I was heading towards the steep hill country to try to stir-up the gobbler I messed up on yesterday. Cherry Run, although still swift and high was now managable to cross with the aid of a limb working as a third leg. The water was within an inch of going over my high boots. I hurriedly began the climb. I was within twenty yards of reaching a high point when I heard voices to my right.                                                                                                                                                                                   

Reluctantly, I began to climb down the steep hill. I, once again, crossed the waters and looked up a recent right-of-way and could see about 6 workers doing erosion control work. I went back to the original hill to see if the gobbler would answer my calls. he wouldn’t and didn’t and before 11:00 I bumped into him and a hen near a field’s edge.

I saw lots of deer this morning. I  saw warblers and squirrels as usual too.  I know I am getting tired. these aging bones and muscles are crying out for me to either bag a bird or lay down for a day!!!

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Male Scarlet Tanager

My strategy was simple. I would sneak in well into the dark hours and try to get on the back side of this gobbler. he seems to head low and/ go across a road into posted land. I hoped to be between his roosting site and this area. It didn’t work. He was across a road in posted land. Later I would see him walk up the hill in a cow pasture. He is a big bird.  I circled was around the hill and hoped he would enter into the woods. He didn’t and he saw me from the field’s top. I did see a hen too feeding on a gas line.

Calm frog!

I drove south again and tried to cross Cherry Run, but the waters were still way too high and swift. the tree I knew of was washed away. I drove farther down the road and walked up and over the steep hills again. I walked far to an area I wished to go. I approached the flat area of the hill and called . Gil-obble-obble!  I walked up slope farther and he again answered my call. He was close. TOO CLOSE! He came in fast and spotted me before I was set up. I messed up!!!!

Super Redwing!

Later, I saw a gobbler on a right-of-way belly tight on the ground while he preened himself. I believe this was the same gobbler for he showed no interest in my calling now.

I saw a number of deer. I actually spotted one laying down. I could see the reddening deer hair through the green foliage. I saw a woodcock; a grouse and lots of squirrels today too!  There are plenty of warblers darting about from limb to limb. they are difficult taking photos of.

Native Sweet William

The weatherman said that we were to have sun.  We did, but after the daily hunting season was over AND the weatherman said we were to have a very slight chance of a shower. The number was 15%. Well, I can honestly say I found showers at 100% twice. Both times the rains were hard enough and long enough to cause me to get wet!

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