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Archive for the ‘2016 Spring Gobbler Season’ Category

DSC_0004  The fog had me out searching for a certain view I was seeking. The photo may become a cover insert for a CD I am making for someone. Prior to the early fog I awoke with my eyes semi-glued shut. I decided to forfeit a gobbler. I needed to have a morning breakfast with my family, too.

I pulled alongside a township road to get that previously described photo. I saw a hen turkey, then another as I exited the jeep.  Just out in front of them were more hens; several Jakes. I could see movement behind some vegetation and I was blessed to see two longbeard gobblers. ALL WITHIN SHOTGUN RANGE! I grabbed the camera. My shotgun was on the seat, but I don’t hunt that way!

I took a number of quick pics as the birds ambled off.

Fire Pink

Fire Pink

After 9:00 A.M. I changed into my camies, and everyone knew what I was planning.  Yes, I was going to hunt gobblers. Quitting time is noon, so I didn’t have a lot of time. (I didn’t hunt where I had seen the turkeys earlier.)

DSC_0023   I arrived  and began to walk slowly up a grade listening for any turkey activity. I spotted a hen in a field. Later, as I moved about I gobbled only to be surprised with a gobble in return.  I sat for a time listening for another, but failed to hear. I  needed to hurriedly move to another of the time.

I called and heard afar-off gobble clear across a big hollow. Off I go! I called as I approached the site where I suspected the gobbler to be. Nothing! You have, probably, guessed what happened next! I eased over the hill only to see two longbeards, and the hen moving along. they had suspected something. If they would have gobbled in response I could have tried something. I left the hill at 11:20.                      DSC_0002

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Yes, I am slowly building up my energy levels. This was a rough bout with a stomach virus. Whatever, I had knocked me out! Laurie, is still struggling with improvements.

DSC_0001 Tuesday, May 10, found me slowly working up a hill… and I mean slowly!  I heard a gobbler along the hill’s side so I moved in, and set up at a reasonably good-looking site. A second tom exploded! Both birds were close, maybe too close.

Catbird

Catbird

They liked the soft hen talk I was giving them when I heard the real hen working upslope towards them. Silence! Later, I heard gobbling far down slope. I believe that gobbler to be a third bird. A real hen was heard, and he went quiet, too. That’s the way hunting gobbler often works.

That was alright for I was shivering a little by this time, and elected to quit by 8:00 A.M. Some light rain had dampened my clothes. I headed off to visit my mother. We had to cancel out Mother’s Day event due to our illnesses. Our cookout was postponed. We, including Bob, were happy to see each other.

Today, May 11, found me encouraged as I moved up, and over the top. And, wouldn’t you know it. The two turkeys from yesterday, were very low. I ended up learning they were actually across a township road, and low on that side.  I learned that fact after moving down slope. I watched a hen fly off a tree. She flew right over the roosting birds. I heard a second bird fly down.

I realized it would be impossible for me to angle away, and fast enough to get above the turkeys. They left the roost. However, I would get a response far off occasionally. I worked towards the birds. I actually watched the one gobbler in the field for a time. The vegetation was much too dense to call a strutting gobbler through, but I hoped the old boy might work the field’s edge. Last year I called one in this way, but I didn’t shoot it.

Wild Geraniums

Wild Geraniums

Things became quiet, and I worked across the field only to hear the gobbler on the field’s back side. (I glassed the field first!) The terrain allowed me to get across undetected. Once across I worked towards the bird again, and he seemed to become excited. He was double-gobbling! Suddenly, he went quiet. Real hen? He was close to a home. Maybe, the homeowner emerged and ruined the big bird’s mood.

I worked around,  and realized another spring issue of mine was coming to become an issue….ALLERGIES! I began sneezing; itching eyes, running nose… I quit, and went home to take pills.

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Wednesday night it hit me with vengeance!   My last official bout with throwing up occurred Thursday afternoon. As I type this entry I have eaten very little as an experiment. So far all seems well! Needless to say I did not get out to chase turkeys this day. However, Wednesday’s hunt was enjoyable for me.

Fox Squirrel

Fox Squirrel

I heard his first gobble at 5:45 A.M. I quickly moved in towards the bird’s roosting site. A second gobbler greeted the morning. I was setup about a hundred to a hundred twenty yard. All seemed fairly good.  I wished I could have made my positioning on their side of this hollow, but with the woods being opened from lack of leaf cover I elected to try my luck from this setup. I feared the turkeys would spot me if I moved again.

DSC_0002 A hen entered the picture after fly down. I angled away, crossed the hollow before angling back. Whenever I would call the gobbler would answer me once. I would move. Finally he answered, and I knew moving any farther would be extremely dangerous.

The hen was moving in although I never was able to see her. I was caught among multiflora rose, and I was not able to see through the tangles. If only she, and the tom would drift downslope a little. The woods was open there. She led him away.

I went back to the orginal listening post to draw some pictures, and wait. A gobbler opened up clear across the big hollow. Off I went.                      DSC_0006

He answered a call, and I moved in. Finally, I called again and he exploded off to my left. Again, multiflora rose prevented any visual. Another hen began chirping heading towards us. She led him away. He answered my call once around 10:30. I had planned to get this turkey the next morning, but as you read I became very sick!

 

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DSC_0004  I stood in the gray of the pre-dawn hour. I was enjoying listening to some DSC_0025creatures getting ready for a nap, while others slowly began to wake up. A Whip-or-will sang non stop until dawn. A Great-horned Owl hooted a few times. The warblers began to chirp as a cardinal sang from high in a tree.

A vehicle drove slow past where my jeep was parked. He stopped, and executed a loud crow call, and shocked a gobbler into responding. This was the same person as yesterday repeating the same procedure.  I began touring the area, and listening, but failed to hear any other gobblers.

DSC_0017   I met up with my step-father, Bob about 7:15. He said he was going to work a ridge to try to stir something up.

I was, almost, to the road when a gobble rang out. I stopped, and heard another. I know where you are now! I crossed the road, and slowly circled around where the, now, silent gobbler may have gobbled from. I worked up a slope, and called. Immediately, I heard a loud response. I set up, and I felt the setup was not too bad. The contest began.

An open gulley was between the turkeys, and myself. I thought about crossing it, but the birds were close enough that I feared meeting them. The two longbeard birds emerged, and at forty yards, I believed the hunt was about over. I like to shoot at distances under 35 yards, and I believed a few more steps would seal the deal.                         DSC_0018

Suddenly, the two birds reacted, and began moving away. I believe they may have seen my glasses shining, for I was perfectly still.

I went to another place and began a tour of calling, and listening. At about 10: 50, I heard a hen, and gobbler. I moved in. There were, now, two gobblers! I continued moving because the season is over at noon, and time was not on my side.

Another gobbler to my left…and another!  They loved my calling. In moments, the two gobblers below me met up with the other two toms. A loud fight broke out. These birds were just out of my sight due to terrain.

DSC_0021 As the fight stopped, I began calling again, and immediately heard responses. They were coming in! The three gobblers to arrive looked beautiful as the sun caused their colors to shine. I wished I had the camera in hand.

I allowed the three turkeys to walk past me, and out of site. The shotgun went down, and the camera was prepared for action. I called them back in to enjoy quite a show. They were still gobbling as I turned away, and left.

I found one morel. The Scarlet Tanagers are back, too. I saw a lot of squirrels, and deer, too.

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Dogwood

Dogwood

I was surprised when the first morning of the 2016 spring gobbler season  DSC_0018began, and I failed to hear any gobbling from roosting turkeys. This proved to be, especially, accurate when I thought back over the last two weeks. I had heard birds every morning I scouted. I went out in the mid-morning on hikes and hear gobbling! Oh well…that is why this interest is called hunting!                                                 DSC_0014

I crossed from one hill to another early hoping to hear turkeys on the back side of the ridge. I called, and I heard a very distant gobbling. I thought could that bird have heard my calling? The rule is ..Go after the gobbling bird!  I took a few stesp and heard a shot. Was the shot where the bird was gobbling from?                                                                 DSC_0014

The second morning  was met with thunder, and lightning. I monitored the radar closely before deciding to the rain should be close to completion by starting time. Off I went!

I was walking up slope when I heard a vehicle moving slow on the road where I was

Ovenbird

Ovenbird

parked. A hunter emerged blowing a crow call hoping to stir up a gobbler. I continued moving up the hill.DSC_0003

DSC_0019  I heard a gobbler far off, and immediately moved towards the bird. I eased into the woods where he had gobbled. I called and was met with a thunderous gobble. I set up before calling again. Gil-obble-obble-obble. I was about a hundred yards from the bird. All was silent, and I heard the wings flying down. I waited. More silence.

The setup was textbook… close; open woods; a grassy old logging road to strut on, but the turkey failed to show. I, eventually, circled around to hear a hen.

I began a tour of the area. The vehicle hunter had left, but another hunter had three   DSC_0017decoys set up in a field. I returned to the site where I had heard the gobbler to search for morels, field sketch, and take photos.

DSC_0002 After some time I circled low along the side of the hill before angling towards the ridge. I was, now, farther down the same ridge where the gobbler may had went. I eased up slowly calling periodically. There it was… a gobble.

I moved and called again, and the big boy answered. He began gobbling occasionally on his own as I set up. All seemed to be going well, but he moved along another ridge in pastureland and away from me. This land was posted.

Maybe tomorrow morning???

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