With Dan Jr. and Buddie Dave getting there permits both this 2nd from last week of the Wisc. season, I knew it would be tough to get them each a bird while filming. Then the weather man predicted rain all week and heavy winds for Thursday.
By the time Thursday evening arrived, I had to have a pep talk with Dave & Danny who were both down about the weather predictions and the lack of birds. I reminded them to keep a chin up, and be happy Cause the birds were also not responding to calls well, even if you could get them to hear calls through the pounding 40 MPH winds. Heck, I said, We might get to hunt all week if conditions stay like this Besides we are not seeing any other hunters.... So lets have some fun and chase some impossible to kill birds and charish the time afeild.
I could write tons of great moments in the swamp, but I will get to the meat of how it all turned out
Friday evening after dealing with a 30 minute stalk to position on a huge limping bird that ran 60mph the oppisite direction as soon as I striked a yelp We decided to check on a few of the other farms. We 1st viseted Daves farm that appeared to be turkeyless after glassing all the feilds. Then we went around the block to where we had been watching a nice bird with some hens hanging out. Sure enough, there he was.
He was in a cornfeild that had a sparse treeline coming to it dividing 2 hayfeilds. I drove around to Daves farm where we parked and walked across a feild to the treeline. We snuck up the treeline towards the birds crawling most of the 400 yards so we wouldn't be seen. We were able to get to the edge of the cornfeild 80 yards from the turkeys without getting detected.
I got Dave in position if they crossed the treeline to the north and Junior positioned for if they came straight in. Got the camera zoomed in on the bird and locked the tripod into position. Yelp, Yelp... No response at all. The big fat Tom just layed there. YELP, YELP!!! Still not much of a respose. I called hard and heavy after waiting a little bit just in case he couldn't hear me through the heavy rain. I got one gobble, and I didn't hear it, I saw it on the camera screen.
Soooo, by this time the camera is starting to short out from all the water running into it.
Generally this isn't a problem because of the mud that is wedged between all the openings keeping the water out. But this rain was so relentless it ate right through my protective mud barrier.
Sooo, being the Super Genius I am, I divised a plan. Dave would attempt to get farther down and between him and Dan Jr. cut off the big bird from entering the woods
I would sneak all the way back to the truck, switch cameras, and drive around in Daves truck to the cornfeild and park and get out with the camera in plain veiw. When the birds saw me, they would surely head for Dave or Jr.
Sure enough, the birds headed for Dave who had not gotten to where he needed to be due to lack of good cover. As the birds moved towards the woods the passed Dave at his Max range. Boom. The bird did not go down but acted hit. Boom. The bird got hit and jumped into the air. Then flew about 20 yards and ran for the north road. I jumped back into the truck and cut him off. As I hit the crossing he saw the truck and headed into a marsh with canarie grass. I could see him running ( Now West) away from the hunters. So I grabbed my small video camera and hauled my lard butt after him hoping to push him back towards the hunters. As I closed the distance to about 200 yards the Tom noticed me running at him and hid in the grass.
I got to a point where I knew he had to be within 40 yards of me and I yelled for the guys to get over by me. It took several loud screems before I could hear a faint response
A glance at my watch reveled we only had 15 minutes till 5:00 and the dreaded buzzer.
Finally the guys showed up and I shouted out some commands like a drill sargent to get in line and walk forward. I had the camera covering the area in front of the guys when right in the middle of the screen, up pop's the turkey running for the next county. Boom boom boobboom . Then Dan Jr finally takes off after Tommy on foot but the last shell Dave had in his posession blew the bird into a swamp river. The Tom went across the river and ran smack into a barb wire fence. Thats when the last shell in Jr's gun went off stopping the bird cold.
Jr was so excited he jumped right into the river and swam across for his bird. At 1st we wern't sure who should claim the bird with all the shots fired. But Dave was real good about giving it to Danny.
26 1/2 pounds
1 1/4 spurs
12 inch beard