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Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Joined: 10/26/2006
Posts: 357
Successful Turkey Hunt

Hey guys, just thought I'd post a couple pics of this nice gobbler I took at 7:40am Friday morning (14th) over here in Southwest PA. He came in with another gobbler about the same size. They were gobbling at everything I threw at them and it was a good challenging hunt just getting in position! I still got my second special tag so I'll be going for number two!

ecubackpacker's picture
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Location: NC
Joined: 09/11/2009
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Re: Successful Turkey Hunt

Congrats on your 1st bird of the season and good luck on your second. When does the season open in Pa, is it open around Mother's Day? How far are you from Donora, Pa?

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Joined: 10/26/2006
Posts: 357
Re: Successful Turkey Hunt

Thank you, the season started May 1st and goes till May 31st. I believe Donora is only 45 mins from me.

ecubackpacker's picture
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Re: Successful Turkey Hunt

How about public land to hunt in the area?

ADKBEAR's picture
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Location: Central NY
Joined: 09/16/2003
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Re: Successful Turkey Hunt

Nice bird congrats. How were the bug's? Took a meat jake on May first (opening day of NY spring season) and done nothing but give blood ever since!

Joined: 05/20/2010
Posts: 6
Re: Successful Turkey Hunt

Now that's a nice looking turkey. Congrats.

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Location: El Paso, Texas
Joined: 02/22/2009
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Re: Successful Turkey Hunt

nice birds!!!

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A great turkey year for me.

Thumbs up I took my first big gobbler this spring and a hen this fall.  I am pretty darned happy with this year's turkey hunting!

2010 – Spring Turkey: My first gobbler

 

Rob and I have been chasing turkeys.  Gene successfully called in a tom during the youth weekend and Rob took a shot but the heavy 12 gauge and nerves didn’t deliver.  We learned the lesson of following up on turkey fast with a second shot or a foot on them when Rob’s bird got up and vacated the area.

 

For the next two weekends Rob and I got up between 3 and 4 AM and drove the 45 minutes to the farm to attempt to call turkeys in.  One weekend we were busted by a hen at about 20 yards who warned the gobblers off.  Another weekend another hunter walked through and sent the toms we were calling in another direction.  This past Saturday Rob had a birthday party to go to in the afternoon, so he opted to sleep in since getting up at 4 really wipes us out for the afternoon hours.  So – seeing as we had been having no luck getting the toms to come to us, I opted to change strategy.

Saturday I would leave decoys and blinds behind and instead of trying to call the birds to me.  I would go to them.

 

I arrived at the farm at 5 AM, just as Ed was rounding up the cows to go in for morning milking.  After a brief talk with him I headed across the fog shrouded pasture in the light of the rising sun.  The long grass was wet with morning dew and it promised to be a hot one later in the day.  I loaded the shotgun as I crossed the first pasture of rolling ground.   When I reached the far end I of the pasture I took out my slate call and gave a few clucks, hoping to hear a gobble to help me decide which way to go.  There were fields in both directions and we had seen turkeys in both over the past few weeks.  No gobblers sounded off so I cautiously edged up to the next field and scanned it for turkeys.  The ground was hilly with pastures bordered by woods where the ground is steepest.  The rough ground gave the opportunity to creep up unseen, but it also hid any birds that might be just out of sight in any direction.

 

As I eased over the rise and scanned the field of uncut hay steaming in the morning fog - Good Heavens!  There was a turkey.  There might have been two but I couldn’t be sure because as soon as I saw a bird I ducked behind a bush so that they didn’t see me.  Peaking between the branches I could clearly see a hen turkey 300 yards away at the far end of the field.  She was only about 50 yards from the woods and headed toward it.  I called again and she stopped to listen but showed no inclination to come my way.  In fact, she started edging toward the woods. 

 

Hens are not legal game in the spring turkey season, but she might be with other birds and I reasoned that even if she were alone she might bring in some toms. So I didn’t want to let her get away.  I got low and backed out.  I worked my way into the woods.  Using a gully and tree cover to keep something between us at all times I hustled to her end of the field and when I figured that I was within 60 or 70 yards, I cautiously made my way slowly and quietly up the slope and through the woods to the fence line at the edge of the open ground.  A stout 3 foot page wire fence kept the cows in my side, but beyond the fence the open ground of uncut hay field rose to a crest about 30 yards away.  Suddenly she was there.  A long turkey neck topped with a slate gray head popped up out of the 18 inch grass at the top of that rise.  Oh man, I thought for sure I was busted.  I froze just inside the tree line in my head to toe camo and waited.  After an eternity (2, 3, maybe 4 minutes) she FLEW straight at me and directly over my head to the tree I was standing under.  She took a roost 20 feet directly above my head!

 

Well NOW what do I do?  I can’t move or she will see me.  I can’t try to call toms in or she will surely spot me when I make noise.  Well – what CAN I do? Wait.  I reasoned that there is absolutely no better decoy than a live hen and even though she was completely silent, I couldn’t call without giving myself away. Alarming a hen would sure as heck scare any other birds away.  So, I waited staring at a turkey but and hoping that she’d break her silence and call some toms in.  About 20 minutes later (after she almost pooped on me!) she flew right back down to where she had been and began hunting bugs.   I could hear gobbles a half mile away off to my right, but I hated to leave this live hen within 30 yards.  So for the next 20 minutes she fed in and out of sight in that high grass, over the ridge and back time and again.  I could hear those toms from a long ways away but they just weren’t getting closer.  Meanwhile, the hen fed away and came back.  Fed away and came back.  Fed away and came back this time with a red head!  What the heck? A silent tom had approached across the field! 

 

I reached for the shotgun….and he clucked, putted, and ran away! I was BUSTED.  The hen was no where to be seen.  The tom was on to me and ran off out of sight.  I had a 3 foot fence uphill from me between us to get over.  I had NO chance of running after him.  DRAT!

 

I climbed over the fence and all the while watching for the birds I had just scared, worked my way to the far corner of the field closest to the distant gobbles I heard.  I began calling.  I was listening for the far gobbles to tell me which direction I should go next.  But instead of the far gobbles I heard “PUT” from back across the open field I had just emptied of birds.  I called again.  “PUT – PUT-PUT”  It was closer.  The field was 100 yards wide with a rise in the middle of it from this side.  Beyond that was a patch of woods and in that patch of woods the gobbler I had just lost was calling back to me.

 

Judging by the sound, over the next half hour he worked his way back to the tree-line but wasn’t willing to come back into the open.  After 3 weeks of turkey hunting without a shot, I wasn’t about to give up because he wouldn’t come to me.  I dumped my gear except for the shotgun and call and began crawling toward him through the high grass.  I expected to see a turkey head pop over the ridge and spot me every foot of ground I covered as I slowly moved forward.  I crept all the way to the ridge crest then barely hidden by the top of the rise, I called “cluck cluck cluck” and my turkey gave the first gobble I had heard from him.  Now that I knew where he was I pocketed the call, double checked my Browning’s safety, stood up and took two steps forward over the rise. 

 

He was 50 yards away right at the tree line.  He swapped ends and headed for cover just as my load of #5 shot dumped him. 

 

 

Saturday October 30th:

 

It was the last weekend of the fall turkey season.  Rob decided to sleep in.  So it was just my hunting partner Gene and I meeting at the Adams’ farm in Whitehall.  Gene had introduced me to Ed Adams and invited me to hunt on his dairy farm where we had seen turkeys for the last several years.  It was a turkey hunters' paradise where you could see turkeys any day you hunted them.  It just doesn’t get much better than that. 

 

After a quick stop at the milk house to leave donuts and coffee for the land owner, I walked away from the lights into the predawn darkness and toward where I had taken my spring Tom.  Gene went to the opposite side of the property to his favorite spot to await the dawn.

 

I had seen turkeys roosting in one particular group of trees for two seasons.  I was afraid of getting too close to them in the dark and upsetting any turkeys that might be there with a noisy approach.  So I swung wide around the area and set up on the far side of the field with my decoys visible in the center of the field just in time for 6 AM dawn.  By 7 AM I had given up trying to call turkeys to me and begun to work my way around the field.  As I circled back to the point where I had seen turkeys roost before, I heard clucks.  I called to the turkeys and they clucked back (no gobbles).  But they did not seem to be moving.  No matter what I did, I couldn’t get them to come closer.  I eventually worked my way toward the birds discovering that there was creek and a page wire fence between us.  There was no way those birds were going to come to me.  Then I saw 5 or 6 of them fly down from the roost.  I could hardly believe that they were still on the roost an hour after dawn.  But they were enormous.  And there were at least a dozen.  BUT they were 50-60 yards away.  And that is too far for a shotgun shot.  I worked my way as close as I dared while the last few birds flew down.  There was only one bird left visible and even though I knew it was a long shot, I fired at the one bird I could see – bad choice - they all flew away!

 

I tried to call them back together but I was still on the wrong side of the creek and the fence.  They simply would not come to me and when I eventually tried to get closer to them, the one that was calling flew away leaving me behind.  My search revealed no sign of a wounded or dead bird.  So I started from scratch.  I tried to figure out where those birds had gone based on where I had seen them last.  I eventually came to an open pasture with sunlit hardwoods on the far side.  The oak leaves were bronze in the bright morning sun.  The ground was covered with those auburn leaves and likely a good crop of acorns too.  It looked like the perfect spot for turkeys to come and feed.  I knew that if I crossed the open ground any turkeys already there would see me, but I gambled that they were working their way through the longer route under cover in the woods that circled the field.  If I could quickly cross the open ground I could get in position to ambush them when they arrived at the sunlit oaks.  But as I stepped into the edge of the hardwoods – turkeys erupted into flight!  I brought my gun up and centered my bead on one of the big birds as it flew over the open pasture and squeezed the trigger.  But I had neglected to push the safety off.  By the time I remedied the safety, the birds were far out of range covering the open ground in a fan shaped pattern until they flew into the trees I had just left.  I thought “after blowing TWO opportunities this morning, I don’t DESERVE a turkey!”

 

But I hurried after them, entering the woods smack in the middle of their spread so that I would have turkeys on my left and turkeys on my right.  I pushed 75 yards into the trees, sat down and began to call. Even though I didn’t deserve another chance, God is good and I heard them calling to each other on all sides of me.  I hid behind a big oak and called back as they worked toward me from three directions. 

 

When a hen stopped with her head up at 25 yards, I dropped her with a load of #5 pellets.  As I walked up to her a second bird flew up and I knocked it down with my second shot.  The first bird showed a tendency to want to get back up so I persuaded it to stay down with a tap from my butt stock.  But while I was busy giving her my full attention the second bird evaporated into the underbrush. 

 

About this time Gene spoke to me.  He said that he had heard the birds calling and was only about 100 yards away when I shot.  We both began to look for the wounded bird when he heard a turkey cluck.  Then I saw one fly on the far side of him.  Because he was closest and because I already had a turkey down, I held back and Gene went after it.  For the next 20 minutes, I could hear Gene and the turkeys calling back and forth as the flock reassembled and he worked his way closer and closer to them.  Then BOOM he dropped a big hen about 200 yards from where we parted.  We both had birds down just 20 minutes apart.  It was a great way to wrap up the turkey season J

 

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