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Archive for the ‘2012 Spring Gobbler Season’ Category

For a Mother’s day and a Father’s day surprise, Laurie and I bought tickets to see a trio of country musicians and singers known as “Branson On The Road”. Mom and Bob watch them faithfully on the television. Boy, were we happy we did. They couldn’t have enjoyed a concert anymore!

To make this event happen, I hunted close home at a local state game lands.

 

View from game lands

I walked along a ridge to listen and heard one gobbler far off and across the road. A second gobbler announced his presence exactly where I had figured he might be. I closed in and set up along a game land trail. I couldn’t risk getting into the woods where I would like to be. Multiflora rose and being highlighted against a lightening sky could spell failure causing the gobbler to see me.

I heard a soft cluck and turned to chase a hen away. She came to my calling and I actually needed to throw a stick to make her leave. She would come back again to check me out.

The gobbler left the roost and became silent. I wondered if the hen went to him. I circled and entered the woods where he had been roosted and changed calls and was immediately answered. I crept cautiously and called and  the gobbling began in earnest. He was becoming hot!                   

At, no more than fifty yards, I hoped he might eventually walk through the lower canopy back to me. He refused! Two things occurred that lessened his gobbling dramatically.  Another hunter could be heard coming towards us. I know he could hear us both, but he kept sneaking along. This concerned me from a safety aspect too. The second thing that may have helped the gobbler to lose his enthusim was a hen walked in behind me and then flew to him. The gobbling ceased, but after 15 minutes, I called and he, once again, gobbled back.

I circled again and returned towards him and the bird gobbled. My time was becoming short. Suddenly, as the gobbler, was about 150 yards from me, my cell phone went off. I quickly answered and whispered. My cousin, Donnie Smail, thought I had called. We quickly hung up.

Silence was the rule and was getting concerned, but when I called again the bird was now only about 50 yards from me. I strained to see movement, but couldn’t see well because of the lower canopy again.

That would be the last gobble I heard from him and after a wait,I had to leave.

I had seen about 6 squirrels this morning, a deer, first catbirds of the season and a mallard throughout the morning.

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The skies were illuminated often and the rumbles of thunder were prevalent as I trekked up the slope to where I hoped to hear a gobbler. This was May 3. The lessening rains began to become stronger and I wondered how nuts one needs to be to be stumbling around in such conditions. My woodcock friend from an earlier morning didn’t seem to care about the weather. Shortly, the warblers and cardinals too would be singing.

I reached the road and the rains lessened again. Back up the hill once again for me. I reached the top ans settled on a stump when I heard two gobbles across the big hollow..across the road .. and high on that hill. Off I go!

Of course, once I reached the area I believed the gobblers were all I heard was silence. I approached a field and waited. Here I saw two deer and watched a hen turkey feed for over an hour. I was blessed to watch a brown thrasher and towhees in and around the vegetation.

I made a circle, all the while  calling  and failed to stir up any gobblers. Where were they? I was walking about near to where the field is when a flock of crows angered by a hawk forced a gobbler to respond. I moved in and later received a gobble to my calling. The time was after 10:00!

I heard the next gobble way down the hill near to the road and all was silent. later, I walked towards my vehicle and could hear people talking. This may be the reason why the bird became so quiet. I left the camera in the car due to threats of rain and I missed some great bird photos!

I stopped at my old homestead to visit. Bob had said earlier I wouldn’t be hunting today. Mom corrected Bob for she knew how her son thinks when spring gobbler hunting is on his mind.

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The gobblers began to shout in an enclosed non-huntable area. A third gobblers sounded off one time and I began heading downslope when a fourth tom began about 100 yards from me along a round top. I quickly circled around and set up above him. he left his roost and gobbled occasionally. AT one point, he was only about 40-50 yards from me, but the multiflora rose patches always keep the bird from coming to my calling.  This particular area has had similar scenarios in the past with gobblers within range, but with my inability to see them. The birds eventually tire and exit the round top.

Multiflora rose…ouch!

 

I started to circle him as the bird crossed a hollow and went up and over the next ridge. BAM!!! Turkey hunters always hate to hear shots that are not their own!

I started the return trip and could see a gobbler and hen way across a hollow in a field. This is another difficult place to hunt them. I elected to go back to the areas I had been hunting. I saw a buck and three other deer, some squirrels , grouse and rose-breasted grosbeaks.

I exited the car and immediately heard a gobble way across the hollow. I took off! I cautiously approached the area where the gobbling was and failed to hear anymore. I called and nothing! I slowly walked along the ridge calling and found very fresh bear sign. I wonder if the bear scared the gobbler???? I saw a jake walk across a field later on before quitting for the morning.

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I was setting along a tree by 5:20 A.M. My plan was to be situated near to where the gobblers were roosted yesterday. The open woods and skylighted eastern sky make getting to them next to impossible with the trees having little foliage yet.

My approach was flawless and practically silent. I chose a tree to wait and then the rains and breezy conditions happened. I would soon be rather wet! To make matters worse those pesky gobblers were not there this morning. I waited to 6:20 or so before exiting in hopes of locating another turkey before they became silent.

I walked back towards the road and realized Bob wasn’t out this morning. Suddenly, I heard it!  A distant gobbler. I heard two more gobblers across the road and at the top of the next hill. Off I went!~

Box Turtle

Of course, by the time I reached the hilltop the gobbler was long silent. I greeted the day with a box turtle. I don’t consider the spring gobbler season unless I see a box turtle. He posed quite nicely for a couple of photos.

I circled back across the road to check a field and located the landowner’s son. He told me he had seen a gobbler exit the woodlands. He called and was greeted by a gobble and then the bird went back into the woods. TURKEYS!!!

Fire Pink

I circled again calling and listening and eventually returned to the hilltop where I had heard the gobbler earlier.I fell asleep. My June allergies are early this spring and one condition is fatigue. At around 10:35 I heard a shot that seemed to be at the field I mentioned earlier.

I exited the woods around 11:30, finally dry and very warm! I saw over eight squirrels, one hen turkey and two deer today. A highlight for me was the sighting of the Black & White Warbler. This little bird receives its name because it is actually stripped in black and white markings. It is quite an attractive little fellow.

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April 28th, 2012 was the first day of the spring gobbler season. Bob, my step father and I drove separately to meet up later. I walked out a ridge to listen.

  The pre-dawn time is a special time of anticipation for the turkey hunter. I heard leaves rustling. I was concerned another hunter may be approaching, but my turn erupted with a loud snort. The deer didn’t like my presence. I would see deer, off and on, throughout the morning. (The red-orange fur color of summer could be viewed on a couple of the deer.)

I could hear two barred owls calling, but they failed to force a gobbler to sound off. The two hunters, using owl calls couldn’t get the tom to announce his presence. But, he began to gobble on his own without the owl calls. I expected the hunters to head towards the gobbling. Another gobbler announced his presence below me and across a hollow. He and I talked occasionally until 7:30. I didn’t go after him for I could hear another hunter using a crow call and I elected to lay low until later.

Wormy Chestnut call by Lonnie Sneed w/cover.

I did see a hen, but I never saw or heard a gobbler after 7:30. Bob and I walked around calling some later on, but, we failed to shock a gobbler into gobbling, too.  

Today, the 30th, found me walking half a mile into the woods. I sat until 6:10 A.M. I heard my first gobble around 6:15 or so. I moved about fifty yards and set up, but the site was less than perfect. I didn’t have any options by this time, but to try to work the turkey. Soon, two gobblers  were calling and working the ridge towards Bob. I walked away from the gobblers only to have one begin gobbling closer to me. I set up again and the gobbler was closing in fast. I began calling and the lustful gobbling was only about fifty yards from  me. he was on an old logging road and the contour of the terrain kept a visual of him impossible.

Bob: FOR SALE!!

The bird went silent and I clucked and immediately answered. I could see a gobbler, then two then four coming to me. They were all jakes. ( Less than one year old gobblers.)  Two came within twenty yards of me and , at one point of time, I could have actually taken three birds with one shot! I decided to wait since the season is young. Later, Bob and I came back to try to stir them up. (I still don’t know if there were any longbeards with these young uns. The throaty gobbling sure sounded like a mature bird!)

Home-made Call strikers!

Bob went home and I circled around. I began cutting and was answered by a hen. (Cutting calls are sharp calls often heard by an agitated or excited turkey.) I managed some decent photos of her.

Hen

I walked an edge of a field with the thought of entering a pine tree area from a different angle. I peered over a rise in the field and saw a gobbler at about 70 yards. We eye-balled each other for a minute before the big bird went into the pines. He could only see the top of my head.

The morning was rapidly coming towards the noon quitting time. At 11:30, I was heading out only to see two longbeards and a hen. These birds were at the field’s edge too.  I called and was answered. I eased back and waited but the hen left the field followed by her boyfriends.

False Hellebro

I will try again tomorrow. My friends Frankie Maus and Randy Tost, both took gobblers. Congrats guys!  Let’s eat!

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