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Archive for the ‘Fall Turkey Hunting’ Category

  My step father, Bob and I met at the predetermined place. Bob came to the window and said he wasn’t dressed well enough to hunt this morning and was going to bow out. The temperature was in the thirty degree area and the winds were howling. I told him I was going to check around here and see what may happen.

Another hunter had parked nearby and was already in the pre-dawn woods. I didn’t want to interfere with him so I went in another direction. I walked a gas line and notice far off across a big-basin hollow a flashlight moving down the slope in the woods. I returned to the jeep debating to drive to another place.

I decided to walk back a ridge and listen and call. The woods stayed gloomy as 7:30 appeared on my watch. Ten minutes later I gave out some yelping calls and was immediately answered by a turkey not fifty yards away. I moved to set up better. The turkey talk continued off and on between the two of us.

Just prior to eight o’clock I saw several birds fly down and begin moving about. The 870 Remington was up prepared to shoot. In minutes one bird was close. Brush and dead limbs made finding an opening tough. Finally, the moment came and the eighteen yard shot was complete. At the shot a number of birds took to the air.

Later I saw some bedded deer and managed a few photos.

Notice the second deer.

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dsc_0009 This fall turkey season has been interrupted by a number of issues here at home. These issues had caused  dsc_0003me to miss time afield. The first day of the turkey season, October 29, found me waiting at the house for my car mechanic to stop in to look at my lawn tractor. He arrived around noon and I left for a few hours of hunting close to two in the afternoon. The weather was warm and I found out later that evening the highs reached to the mid-seventies! No wonder I was sweating so much.

dsc_0001

 

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

The following Monday, my step father and I hunted all morning. Around ten in the morning I walked   dsc_0016around a bend and saw turkey heads out front. I moved as quickly as I could and the turkeys busted into a fan shaped escape. Bob and I sat for two hours and never saw a bird return. We did hear one way over the hill. I would later walk through the area trying to find the birds. No luck!

Tuesday, November 1, My cousin, Donnie, Bob and I searched for a few hours at another area. We failed to hear any birds on the roost and, also, failed to see any while walking. Actually the morning proved to be a “pick on Bob’ day. I had to be home early this day for a lawn mower specialist was to come and look the mower over. (Unfortunately, a pump in the transmission was ruled to be the culprit. I am taking donations for a new one.)                                                     dsc_0014

This morning, November 2 found me at a listening point. I heard a little turkey talk down over. I moved toward the area of the light yelps. In a short time, I located the sound. I was about fifty yards from the turkey, however, I began wondering about this hunt. Could those sounds have been from a hunter? I only heard one turkey. Usually, the birds of the flock all sounding off while on the roost. I decided to take some caution just in case.

dsc_0010  I set up and called a little. I heard one bird fly down. I waited and never saw or heard any turkeys. I wondered if the bird may have seen my movements while setting up. Remember, the turkey was rather close.                                          dsc_0015

Eventually, I began to formulate a plan. I eased up over the hill and worked around behind where I had heard the bird. I was trying to see a flock of birds if that was an option. I made a big circle around the area only to have a bird answer my call about three hundred yards from where the turkey was initially. I set up to call.

A few minutes had elapsed when I saw the turkey coming in the distance.  The shot was twenty-nine yards. The shot became reality at 8:40!

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DSC_0002  Today was a bittersweet day. My cousin Lois passed away at her home and was discovered on Thursday. Funeral begins on Sunday, November 1. I silently debated on going hunting or not. Her dad, like my dad, were hunters, and I realized she would expect me to hunt today.

My step-father, Bob, and I walked through the pre-dawn forest to listen for roosting turkeys. We failed to hear any from the trees so the walk, call, and listen approach was to be the type of hunting for us.                             DSC_0018

We met up around 10:00 to compare notes. neither of us had seen, or heard any turkeys. We walked within site to check a ridge. Nothing to show for our efforts.

We planned another strategy. He was to walk an old logging road while I paralleled him through the side of the hill where numerous briars, and vines were located. However, within minutes this plan would become altered. I started down a slope, and immediately backed away. TURKEYS!

 

A small spike buck.

A small spike buck.

I whistled to Bob, and motioned him to come to me. I told him what I had just viewed, and devised a plan. I was to circle and try for a breakup of the turkeys. I feared attempting to go down over on a run with the knee surgery. Bob was to set up slightly on the ridge and wait the results.

Barberry

Barberry

I eased below where I had seen the birds before noticing them going diagonally up, and over where I had just came from. I did the same hoping to go, up and over, right into them, and bust them up!

Box Turtle shell

Box Turtle shell

I reached the area and no birds. I quickly climbed higher, and as I began coming over this ridge top I could see the turkeys in my shotgun range.  I ran, and yelled with turkeys flying in a hundred and eighty degree arc. I moved to my right , and picked up Bob telling him what had happened.  They went past his position, probably, within 60 yards.

Free to a good home!

Free to a good home!

We set up about ten yards apart. I started to call after about twenty minutes since seeing the turkeys. I could hear turkeys downslope in short order. Two birds came up, and over, but worked along the ridge away from us. Soon more birds were talking loudly behind me. Bob messed up by moving on birds that were almost on his position.

Minutes later another turkey was loudly “chirping”. This bird walked within ten yards of Bob, but behind him, and he sat tight. I could see he wasn’t going to be able to get a shot. The turkey went behind a tree allowing me to move. The bird kept coming along the slope. I leveled the Remington 870. The turkey reappeared from behind another tree and BOOM! I had a gobbler.                 DSC_0016

I told Bob to set still, and I sat down beside him. In a few minutes we were hearing more turkeys, and seeing four more. These birds remained out of range as they got together with their mother. Eventually, I tried to relocate them, but missed them along the way. Bob was ready to call it a day.

We saw a number of deer, and squirrels.

My cousin’s funeral is Monday. Bob, and I, will try again  next week.

 

 

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DSC_0011   Thanksgiving evening as we set around holding our bellies, my step father, Bob and I anxiously watched the weather. We were planning to hunt turkeys the following morning so we hoped for a good coating of snow.

Small buck

Small buck

The forecast was the snow was to be flurries only. I was hopeful tomorrow we would find tracks and the birds easily. There was an hour and a half of evening time when the snow was sparse. I was grateful we had that time frame for turkeys to move around prior to going to the roost. They can make a lot of tracks within that time.

Deer bed

Deer bed

The plan was to start a diagonal cut across the woodlands with me maneuvering with zigzags to cover a lot of territory and find those tracks. However, the plans were to be changed for the expected flurries overnight had become enough to cancel out any evening tracks. the plan, now, was to do the same, but my zigs were going to need to cover much more land than my zags.                                                                                                             DSC_0015

Everywhere I walked deer were present. Bob saw some too. I kept him on the flatter ground as much as possible as I watched for birds or tracks. We met up occasionally to alter plans as needed. He was to stay high and return towards a certain area as I walked around over the sides.

DSC_0004  I turned to make a change in direction and there were turkeys and close. I hollered and moved as fast as I dared. Some turkeys flew and others ran. I knew I had not the best of breaks, but I located Bob, and the eighty year old, had to, quickly, walk down over the hill’s side now.        DSC_0013

We set up and after a bit of time elapsed I began calling. We, later, heard the yelps to our left. The bird answered a couple of times. we waited. I had great concerns of the contrast of Bob and I against the white snow. I had  white camo, but Bob didn’t so we sat up among some fallen tree tops. The hen came in and began to sharply putt… her alarm call! We sat for over an hour and I failed to have anymore turkeys respond. Maybe if we could have waited longer??? We froze out and started the trek up and over and to the vehicle.

We had been in the woods for almost four hours. I saw a flock of turkeys; lots of deer and a great-horned owl. It was a good morning! (more…)

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DSC_0005The second week of Pennsylvania’s fall turkey season has concluded. My step-father, Bob and I managed to get out a few hours on a couple of occasions. Unfortunately, we failed to locate the meandering flocks.

Bob

Bob

Notice the rear quarters raise as the deer froze in position.

Notice the rear quarters raise as the deer froze in position.

We separated to try to hear birds on the roost. When that strategy failed I began a walk of the area with hopes of walking into a flock of birds or to receive an answer. All my walking failed as well. However, I did see a number of deer including some bucks.

Bear claw marks.

Bear claw marks.

We decided to try at an area near my homestead for an hour or so prior to going to the house for some grub. At this site I saw only deer.    Our second time out during this last week was a mid morning gathering. We entered and area where Bob harvested a young gobbler a few years ago. Turkey sign was sparse everywhere I ventured on these hills. Again, I saw a lot of deer including a couple of bucks. The first buck I saw was discovered as I eased over a ridgeline seeking turkeys. I immediately spotted this buck. he raised his rear legs up in the early stage of bolting. However, the deer stopped this motion when he discovered I was gazing into his eyes. his first reaction was to freeze.                                                                DSC_0010 DSC_0009   Later into the hunt I spotted another buck with a wide spread in antler width. the seven-point allowed a few photos, but brush and movement didn’t permit the best shots.                                                               DSC_0017 Some interesting sites of these two days were: Watched a squirrel gathering leaves for a nest; bear claw marks on beech trees; great-horned owl and a beech tree with a carving of JESUS SAVES. This was in a hollow I had not been in a quite a few years, at least that far. DSC_0001  My next hunting ventures will be sneaking around looking for a bear.

Wild grapes

Wild grapes

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Wednesday morning found Bob and I going separate ways again with hopes of hearing turkeys on the roost. We both failed! I began a call and walk approach to try to locate birds. The winds were not as bad, but enough of noise was present to make hearing far away birds impossible.

Notice the strong white bars on the tail feathers.

Notice the strong white bars on the tail feathers.

I slowly approached a crest on a hill to observe the back side and was disappointed to not see any turkeys. I then walked downslope  and walked below the hill’s rim and, later, as I came back up over I quickly noticed a turkey’s head drop and I immediately began to charge towards it. Five turkeys were in a mad dash up the slope as I hollered. I managed to get a slight break. Three birds went to my right and two went straight ahead. I couldn’t be positive of their gender, but, at least several appeared to be big birds.                        DSC_0032

I walked around looking for a good spot to set and call from. Tree tops littered the forest floor. No matter where I set I would only be able to see  in a few directions. I waited and later began calling loudly to overshadow the noise the best I could.

Forty-five minutes later I heard the loud “woody-like” putt of a gobbler. The turkey, you guessed it, came in  directly behind one of those tree tops. He was only about 15 yards from me and I just couldn’t get a shot. I decided to raised up and try to connect. The gobbler wouldn’t have anything of that blob against the tree (ME!) and soared off down the hill.

I remained another forty minutes or so calling. I began to get chilled from inactivity and the wind. Also, I wondered about Bob and decided to hit the brush and find him and, also, get warmed up.

I stood up and when I walked behind  to go over a slight rise in the terrain….you guessed it!  A second long beard took off. Neither bird uttered any sounds as is typical of older birds. They sneak in and watch. This bird was around 35 to 40 yards at most from where I had been calling from!!!!!!

I located Bob and we decided to go to another place for a short time before going home for leaf mulching. We saw another turkey fly across the trail. I saw deer and squirrels.

This morning I elected to hunt close to my homestead. I intended to make our family tradition of having breakfast with my mother, step father, Bob and my sister Ruthie. I hunted to after 8:00 while being blasted with rain. I saw a number of deer and squirrels and an owl, but I didn’t hear or see any turkeys.

After breakfast and my clothes in the dryer, I just couldn’t stand setting and off I went again to see if I could locate a nice bird. I returned to where I had hunted the day earlier and began a walk and call strategy.

DSC_0034 About an hour into the hunt I came upon some fresh turkey scratchings. I walked some more and peered into a field and saw ten deer feeding.  A short distance further I saw turkey heads moving out in an area with pines and multiflora rose. I started into this mess to break them up and had to stop. I noticed several birds within range beginning to run and I had my 2014 fall gobbler. The tom was a gobbler of the year with a short beard.

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DSC_0008    Saturday, November 1, was the first day of Pennsylvania’s fall turkey season and I quit around noon! Memories of last year’s leg issue plagued me so I opted to not push too hard until I realized if any concerns might be present. (I spoke of the issues last year in various entries.)

Those beautiful beech in autumn glory!

Those beautiful beech in autumn glory!

My step father, Bob ad I failed to locate any turkeys on the roost. We, also, failed to find any throughout the morning’s walks. However, I did see plenty of deer, including several bucks. The rut is definitely on as they chased their girlfriends around! Monday, the second day started off very different. I told Bob to walk a gradual ascending gas well road and watch the tree-line for roosted turkeys. This would be easier for him since he is eighty years old!  I went elsewhere to do the same.

DSC_0017    Time hadn’t moved along much when Bob contacted me of 5-6 turkeys flying from the trees across the road and hollow. I hurried over and saw two birds fly off. I suspected two of the original birds landed again.

DSC_0016 We set up and tried calling. I wasn’t feeling very confident since the birds all flew in the same direction. One needs a good break of the flock to call them back. We did hear some yelps across the road. I would later chase the bird from the tree. We eventually gave up and began hunting around searching for these birds or others. I saw plenty of deer again with some bucks as well. I, also, saw a grouse and porcupine. DSC_0011

Shortly before noon, I approached a crest on the hollow and spotted a turkey . Surprisingly, the bird, at about fifty yards, didn’t see me. The sun was directly behind me and in it’s eyes. I eased to behind a tree. I removed my orange vest and hat and placed orange behind me a few feet back. As I peered through the V of the tree trunks, I noticed about four birds preening. The hazel made seeing them difficult.

I tried a few very soft calls, but they were busy settling their feathers. I continued watching when the turkeys started feeding. Other birds became visible. I called again and clucks and yelps resulted. I could, now, see ten to twelve turkeys feeding and occasionally moving towards me. I debated to charge and break them up, but thoughts of falling on the decline entered my mind. I waited.

DSC_0001 DSC_0026  Birds were at my range of about 38 to 40 yards at various times, but vegetation removed any chances. I felt my shot would come! Suddenly, mom moved straight up the hill and birds followed. Her head came up and that dreaded sound of an alarm putt was heard. She began moving away. I could not shoot at anytime because I would have taken multiple turkeys! She had seen the orange for 95% of me was behind the tree and I was motionless! I tried to break them up and most flew away together. However, once Bob reached me a lone hen came past us, but his shotgun wasn’t in position and mine was on the ground since I was trying to get him a shot. We saw another turkey fly out of a tree.

Later, I spotted a buck bedded down. I tried to get into a position for a great camera shot, but he wouldn’t have it. I did get a pic once he was up. We quit around two o’clock.

Tuesday, November 4th, found me , once again, trying to spot roosted birds along the eastern horizon. the winds and noise made hearing any roosted birds nearly impossible unless one was close. I hiked all around, but never saw a turkey. Where did they go? I spotted a buck standing and after a time, he bedded down, I back-stepped to avoid scaring him. I saw other deer as well. I went south and parked to hunt another area.

I walked and called along  the way. The wind made hearing almost impossible. I walked around an edge and spotted a mature gobbler about sixty yards away. We stared each other down when he and four other long bearded birds began to walk away. I instinctively moved a s quick as I dare and attempt breaking them up. They went over the side and when I came over I was only about 35 yards from them. they flew across the hollow together. I failed another breakup.                 DSC_0007 DSC_0025

The temps were up and I was tired and hot so I quit about 2:50.

Beautiful Pennsylvania!

Beautiful Pennsylvania!

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