Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘2013 Spring Gobbler Season’ Category

My step father, Bob and I waded across the thigh-high field to obtain a listening point. Bob had heard a gobbler near yesterday. At 5:30 A.M. I told Bob to wait while I continued towards the field’s edge to listen. The windy conditions made hearing difficult, but I heard a gobbler. His gobble was subtle, but I knew I heard one. Shortly, I heard it again and a direction was certain. I called Bob on his cell phone telling him to come down over and across towards me and the woods line.

Bob, after reaching me, heard the gobbler too, as we closed in the distance. I hesitated at the woodlands edge for I heard hen talk. Once I determined the hen talk was real, and not someone calling, I set Bob up and moved to try to scare them away. I wanted to move them away from the gobbler that appeared to be approximately 100-125 yards farther along this ridge.

I managed to get to 40 yards of the two hens. I watched one preening before I made a dash towards them. The two hens flew over the ridge’s edge and the gobbler went nuts for a minute. A second tom gobbled once alongside the more vocal turkey.

I returned to Bob and began calling. The woods erupted for a brief time. While setting there listening to the gobbles a deer walked through the field and a full-striped skunk walked within yards of me. The gobbler remained on the roost longer than I had hoped allowing much time for the hens to return and, at least, one did. The woods became quiet.

Later, I eased down over this ridge to a field. Here I saw a hen in the field. The big gobbler apparently went towards another field with his buddy and a hen (s). Bob was ready to head home and we arrived back to give my mother a rough time by 7:10. Bob said he may go back later today.

Later, I visited the Armstrong County Historical Society museum to meet with some youth from the Grace Brethren Church  of West Kittanning. The subject was French and Indian War through Revolutionary War military. the young-uns asked lots of questions and I enjoyed their company.

**************************************************************************************************

Last Tuesday I awoke and decided to go listen for turkey activity before gathering up some landscaping rocks and ferns. The morning was warm and humid as I listened to a gobbler gobble from across the hollow. I saw a woodcock and one deer.

A doe on my property. I chased her away from the road.

A doe on my property. I chased her away from the road.

Read Full Post »

DSC_0043   My step father, Bob and I circled around the field early so we could be in a better position if he sounded off this morning. The gobbler had been along this ridge twice. This fact gave us a good starting point to listen and, hopefully, allow for a quick and close-set up.

We stood along the field watching  two bats constantly flutter back and forth over our heads. Many warblers were singing, a woodcock was “sniping” as the sky appeared to be opening up from the cloudy conditions earlier.

The gobbler gobbled at our eye level, but clear across the big basin-like hollow. Bob didn’t really wish to go around as he listened for a closer gobbler. I didn’t push him, after all he is 78 years old. the gobbler sounded only a  few more times. We started around the ridge back to the area where the car was parked. here I told Bob to listen since we were now much nearer to where he was roosted. (While Bob listened I retreated for a nature call. Two turkeys exploded from a nearby tree.)

We proceeded along another field and moved higher in the field to listen. I heard him farther out the ridge. We made some moves trying to better locate the bird and get closer. the gobbles seemed to get softer. I estimated the gobbler to be in the woods at the field’s edge now. We gambled and traveled along the opposite edge of the fields allowing the terrain to aid us in our approach. The foliage would, also, help concealment.

We quietly crept into the woods. This woodlands is about 30 yards of level terrain before drastically sloping another fifty yards before leveling off again onto another field. I called once and moved inward and called again to hear a sharp response from a hen followed by a gobble. We were close!

All we could do was set up and hope I could anger the hen enough to come towards my calling bringing along the tom. She did the norm by taking the gobbler away from us.  Bob was ready to go home and harass mom and have breakfast. We quit at 7:45 A.M.                                                            DSC_0001

I saw a grouse, a deer and a family of five young woodcock. The mother did her hurt wing routine. I went towards the flushing point to see the young birds fly away. They were not all that little.

**************************************************************************************************

Yesterday, Laurie and I went to the Pittsburgh Zoo early. I enjoyed the wild turkeys walking outside of the zoo’s main entrance. I, also enjoy the aquarium building. I enjoyed the turkeys and chipmunks more than the more exotic species.  But, that’s me!

DSC_0016

Pittsburgh Zoo Aquarium area

Pittsburgh Zoo Aquarium area

Read Full Post »

Bob being Bob!

Bob being Bob!

Bob and I had a plan. He would walk a field to listen and I would circle another field to listen for gobbler music. The planned worked well. I heard my first gobbler far away followed by a second on the same hill as I, but down over quite a distance. I heard a third tom and this bird was closer. I called and he answered. I had his roosting site in my sights!

I called Bob and told him to meet me at the car. We hurried and set up at the best site we could find. Notice I said the best site we could find for the calling site was far from perfect, but it would have to do.

Dogwood Blossom

Dogwood Blossom

The bird seemed interested as I called some. The turkey was about 100 yards from us. I had taken a gobbler exactly at this area a few years ago so I wasn’t totally concerned yet. Suddenly all was silent. We waited awhile to see what the bird ‘s next step was in this game. the answer is …HE WON! Later disturbances in the field’s knee-high grasses told of birds exiting away from our calling. A hen, apparently, had taken the big boy from Bob and I. That’s turkey hunting!

We quit by 7:00 A.M. and headed home for bacon and eggs!

Read Full Post »

Virginia Bluebells...a native wildflower.

Virginia Bluebells…a native wildflower.

Bob, my step-father,  and I climbed the hill in the early minutes prior to dawn. The mile walk was a little tiring for him and we stopped periodically. Prior to reaching the planned goal I heard a distant gobble or two. We continued on the last 200 yards and realized a gobbler was greeting the dawn 100 yards or less over the hill’s edge. We set up.

Tent Caterpillars are already eating the new foliage.

Tent Caterpillars are already eating the new foliage.

I placed Bob with his right shoulder being concealed by a fallen pine top. This top still had needles and since he is right-handed getting to turn and take a shot would be extremely difficult. The woods we were in was predominately pines with a very open deciduous canopy over the edge. Between these two habitats is a grassy border. This is where I had called in the three young gobblers last Friday.

The gobbling intensified after my initial soft yelps and clucks. I quit calling  for the gobbler knew where we were. I coached Bob about trying to hold his shotgun towards the site where the gobbler may show.

The gobbler quit gobbling and, shortly, we, both, saw movement. This was the fanned tail of the gobbler. The terrain did not allow to see anything else. In a few minutes a loud and close gobble exploded to our right. I still expected him to follow the grassy area. I told Bob to concentrate to his right on the grassy area.

Four-leaf Clover-for luck!

Four-leaf Clover-for luck!

Suddenly, I could hear the soft rustling of a gobbler walking and CLOSE! I expected the big bird to come behind us now since a right-of-way was present there. I told Bob to be still.

A long bearded gobbler walked out from behind the pine top concealment directly in front of Bob. The distance was SEVEN STEPS! Bob’s shotgun was facing too far to the left and he didn’t have it anywhere near to where it needed to be to get a shot. I whispered, as the bird became nervous and walked towards the grassy area. I said when the head gets behind a tree aim the shotgun and shoot. Bob tried to pull up, but slowly, and the bird was flying for parts unknown.                                                                                            DSC_0066

A disappointed man was the result. We discussed the things he had done wrong. The events were a learning experience.

Later, farther down the ridge,  I received some gobble talk to my calling. The bird came to about seventy yards and shut up. I surmised a hen entered the scene. I felt confident for a while that Bob may have another chance.

We are going to try again later this week.

White Trilium

White Trilium

Read Full Post »

Yesterday afternoon, I was working on a stone trail project between allergy issues, and I noticed movement.  A skunk was walking behind me by the gazebo. I started for the house to get my camera before realizing this guy is moving rather quickly. The fat black and white kitty continued walking and eventually crossed the stream behind the house. Also, while working I heard the distinct calling of the Baltimore Oriole. This is such a beautiful bird!

************************************************************************************************************************************************

Early sun hitting the new leaves. Looks like fall!

Early sun hitting the new leaves. Looks like fall!

I had some projects and plans lined up for later today. I decided to hunt a local Pennsylvania Game Commission game lands because of the closeness to my home. I expected hunting pressure. I pulled into the parking area and was happy to see no other cars present and, shortly, I was traveling the dark morning watching the stars and listening to, at least, three woodcocks performing their mating rituals.

Stunning!

Stunning!

I stood forty minutes waiting for normal gobbling time. I heard one tom gobble farther up the ridge. Should I go to him? I imagined some other hunter would have parked beside me by this time. I heard another across a road. I circled the game commission food plots to check the parking area. I was alone!

I eased into the area I had heard the gobbling and called a few times to a now silent woodlands. I heard a few more distant gobbles across Glade Run, I believed. I decided to walk away and check out a high point for gobbling activity before returning to this calling site. Hearing nothing,  I circled around and eased into a narrow grassy strip and WOW… I COULD SEE A FANNED TAIL AND THE SNOW-BALL WHITE HEAD OF A GOBBLER . He was about fifty yards from where I had called from earlier.  I, soon, noticed two hens with him too.

DSC_0085   I realized I needed to take cover and I crawled into a slightly wooded area with lots of multiflora rose brambles. I clucked a few times and waited.

Through the brambles I noticed some movement and a hen was feeding along. She would be passing at about five yards from me. Amazingly, she continued moving along completely unaware of my presence. I could hear the strutting gobbler with his spitting  and drumming noises. He was close! I held the Remington 870 shotgun ready to fire!

Soon the white head was viewed, but no shot could be had. I waited. The big boy eventually walked into a more open area allowing the shot.  The gobbler was mine!

The shot was 18 yards. The gobbler weighed in slightly more than twenty pounds. He had two beards also. One beard was 9 3/4 inches and the second was 7 1/4 inches. Both spurs were one inch in length. This was the same gobbler I had photographed prior to the season. Interestingly enough the turkey was harvested about twenty yards from where I had shot him before with the camera!!!! (See March 31st entry.)

 

Notice the white stripes on the tail.

Notice the white stripes on the tail.

I exited the woods after offering reverence for the turkey and stopped at mom’s house. (Bob and my brother-in-law went to Ohio to a car swap.) After visiting briefly I supplied a feather to cousin Donnie’s windshield where I saw a hen by his truck .(I later learned he too had scored on a gobbler. I think the bird flew into his windshield.)

I saw two deer and a lot of squirrels today. I heard and saw some geese flying around.

Read Full Post »

DSC_0027  The trek took fifty minutes of continuous walking. I left the car at 4:30 A.M. to allow a set up behind the roosting site prior to gobbling time. This is the only option with certainty of not being viewed by wary eyes.         DSC_0030

At least three gobblers began their morning serenade as I adjusted my positioning to be above them. A few soft hen chirps and one was down from his roost and closer. Within minutes I witnessed the first gobbler…a jake! Two and three appeared and they were jakes too. The longest beard was about six inches in length. This gobbler was the only one to strut. They came about 15 to 18 yards or less of me. I elected not to shoot. That is  to not shoot the shotgun. However, I shot all three with the camera!

Photos are dark.

Photos are dark.

I allowed the birds to drift out of view. I laid the shotgun down and gathered up the camera prior to calling to them again. They responded and, shortly, the trio returned. I took over thirty photos in the very early dim light prior to sunrise. I had some issues of darkness, but the worse problem was keeping my viewfinder clear of steam. This show went on for about thirty minutes. Half of the photos were hazy.

DSC_0046

Eventually, I decided to head south along Cherry Run and try my luck. I saw a feeding hen while exiting this area. Upon reaching the southern goal, I headed up the long steep grade until I reached a field high point. There was no turkey music to be heard. Later I walked along a ridge before spotting a hunter set up tight against a tree. I turned and slowly exited and went up and over to the other side of the hill. Here I found two turkey blinds set up. I didn’t notice if anybody were in them, but I knew it was time to start towards the car.    DSC_0058

The winds had  been picking up and I decided to call the day over and go home and work on some projects.

Goose family

Goose family

I saw Canada geese with young goslings today. I saw some squirrels, a plover and a few deer including two with antler growth showing.  I saw my first sighting of a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird too.

 

What a view!

What a view!

Read Full Post »

 

Golden Morning Sun

Golden Morning Sun

I picked Bob up this morning. I had business at my mom’s home. We, both, decided we were only going to hunt to about 7:30 A.M. because we had things we needed to do. I had to get the mowing done. Also, I was asked to help judge an art show at the Grace Brethren Church in West Kittanning later today.

However, the morning had some excitement for me. I perched myself early and on top of a point to listen for gobblers. At 5:40 he gobbled clear across the hollow. I, immediately,  began the downhill trek in a diagonal line away from the tom.  After I crossed the creek I began to diagonally climb towards the gobbling bird in hopes of getting above his roosting site.

I was closing in for he was estimated at about 150 yards when I saw the first hen roosting in a tree. I stopped. Another hen was viewed. The question was should I continue moving knowing the birds may fly directly to the gobbler? I elected to sit and call. The hens flew after my first calls. They went downhill!  This was good, but I know from experience the hens may just land and begin working back to the gobbler. They did!

Fifteen minutes later I watched the gobbler fly down and become silent. I waited for some time to anticipate his next move. Would he come in?  NO!

Eventually, I realized  what had occurred and moved up hill. I. later, saw him and the hens along a mowed area. I circled and walked to about 60 yards of the birds. I called. The gobbler stopped looked back and continued! And that is turkey hunting!

Bob heard a gobbler off in the distance. I saw, at least, 9 different deer, but  I had more sightings of deer. I saw a Backburnian Warbler. This is always a special treat.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »