Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spring Turkey season through 5/19/12

Spring Turkey season has been something that I did in the past just to get back out in the woods. I'd hunted turkeys on and off over the years, mostly with limited success getting on birds and trying to call them in. A few times I had some close encounters with birds working, gobbling their heads off, and closing the distance to my calls only to have something go wrong in the end. Whether it be from a fox charging across the ridge top toward the gobbler sounding off, of from other hunters on public land trying to creep in on the bird I was working, something always goofed up the good chances I was about to have. Oh well, that's hunting right?

Well, after taking a lengthy break from chasing spring birds, I'd had enough and was really wanting to get back after it this year. The last hunt I was on 5 years ago, was just 2 days prior to the day my wife gave birth to our daughter. That wouldn't have been a big deal if I was close to home and had cell service, but that wasn't the case, and for some reason my wife saw issue with that. So, I decided to take a rest from the birds for a bit since spring time is always hectic around the house, and I'd rather spend my days in the autumn woods anyway.

First Hunt of Spring Season 2012:

Having trail camera pictures of turkeys, and seeing them in the fields during my spring time scouting ventures, I was fairly sure I'd be able to at least get out, and be close to the right spot. Whether it would be the right time was still undecided, but you can't kill 'em if you don't hunt 'em, so let's go...

As I was setting up my jake & hen decoys a gobbler sounded off from the roost in the still dark morning light. A smile came to my face since I was setting up close. He was fired up too, sounding off more and more as the sun started to light up the sky that morning. I called sparingly since most of the advice I've gotten from more experienced turkey hunters is that the #1 mistake people make is calling too much. It's hard to stop making those turkey noises though when a gobbler fires back at you every time you scratch out a call.

The Gobbler was sounding off looking directly beyond the decoys here.
After flying down, the birds hammered out a few more gobbles and I responded with some turkey talk back at him. Apparently either I didn't sound enticing enough to him, or he had some other hens within sight that took him away from me because the next series of gobbles were further away, then again further away, until finally I was hearing him across the property line and still moving away from my set up. I waited it out without hearing another sound before pulling up the stakes and heading off to my "to do" list for the day later that morning.

Second Hunt of Spring Season 2012:

Back at the same property, only this time setting up on the north end, and above the area where the birds had been roosted. I felt confident walking in that morning that I would hear birds again, and as I was starting to get set up, the first one sounded off. I stood still, listening, when the second bird joined in, clearly coming from the same direction, only located a few hundred yards to the north of the first bird. The only problem here was that they were across the road and on a neighboring property that I don't yet have permission for.

Time to move. I packed up and snuck southward through the woods along the creek bank. The birds are both still hammering away as the sun is gaining height. I got the decoys ready, crawled out into the open field, and stuck them in the ground about 15 yards out from the giant tree that would be my back rest for the morning. My only chance was to hope the birds saw my decoys, heard my calls, and didn't have any hens with them keeping company.

This time about I tried calling a bit more since there was a field, a road, and another field between my set up and where the birds were roosted. Probably a distance of 200 yards all together. The Toms were all responsive each time I laid into the box call. On one hand my fingers were crossed that something would happen, but understood the chances were slim on my other hand.

The opposite tree line in the back ground was where the Toms sounded off from this morning.
After flying down the birds gobbled a few times here, but as the sun warmed up the ground around me, the birds cooled off and grew quiet. A few random gobbles could be heard occasionally throughout the morning but they were so far off you would question yourself if that was a gobble at all. After waiting it out a few hours it was time to pick up and get back home for my son's soccer game. Apparently the other two hunters that slipped into the same woods I was set up in thought the same thing as I noticed them trying to discretely slip off of the property on the very far north end. I'll have to ask the land owner if he had granted anybody else permission. Something tells me that wasn't the case though....

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