Enjoying the show!

April 15, 2010

Faith Outdoors

IMG_7394My son, Andy, and I had a quick and awesome turkey hunt yesterday morning. We went to a property where I had seen four longbeards two years ago but couldn’t pull them in. I went back yesterday, figuring there might be gobblers in the area this time around, too. It’s a meadow that runs north/south and narrows at the end from about 100 yards wide to about 30 or 40. We were about three fourths of the way down, with a north-facing ridge at the end. I figured birds might roost on that ridge, especially with a south wind blowing that morning.

As it turned out, I was right. We got set up about 5:45 a.m., and within about 5-10 minutes, birds started gobbling. One was going crazy, and was joined by a couple more sounding off on the roost. I started with a soft tree yelp, which they heard and answered. About 10 minutes later, after lots of gobbling by the birds, I hit ’em with a flydown cackle and simulated wing flapping. They went nuts again.

They flew down in our direction and landed in the far end of the meadow, probably no more than 100-125 yards away. These birds just gobbled like crazy the whole way in. It’s the most gobbling of birds coming in that I have ever heard. Finally, after a few more hen calls, Andy saw a head pop up over the hill, then two more. Soon, more of the birds’ bodies came into view, then he saw one strut and gobble. It was very exciting. The birds slowly moved closer, and he took aim and fired as one came out of strut and ran his head up. It was a 45-yard shot and the bird dropped and rolled down the hill.

I did not see the birds because I sat in the woods behind Andy about 10 yards. I wanted to make sure the birds wouldn’t see me. Andy was thrilled with this bird. It weighed 20.2 pounds with a 9-inch beard and 3/4-inch spurs. But, frankly, it wasn’t these statistics that made the hunt so amazing. It was the show these three birds put on for us. It was such a thrill and will rank as one of our top hunts ever! Also there for the show was Andy’s friend and classmate, Jake Druffner, who started turkey hunting last year and is now hooked after watching Andy’s hunt.

My oldest son, Joe, meanwhile, was hunting another farm about 10 miles away. He heard a good amount of gobbling and ended up moving across a field to try and position himself to shoot a tom that was strutting for a couple of hens. He found a spot in the woods and waited for the tom to hit an open spot. He finally did, but the bird didn’t run his head up like Joe wanted him to. So, it wasn’t the greatest shot opportunity, but Joe decided to take it. Unfortunately, he missed and the bird flew off. That was the only chance he got. But, we’re going out on Saturday and I’m going to do the calling for him. Hopefully, we’ll get another shot at Mr. Tom.

About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

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