After the shot on my third bird of the year.
After the shot on my third bird of the year.
What can I say about my start to the 2013 turkey season except it has been great. I don’t bother hunting the first week or two of the season and this year was no different. I finally went to get my license on a Wednesday then headed over to one of my spots Thursday morning and got my first bird. On Friday I missed his buddy and unless someone got him this weekend I will be back to try again.
I had errands to run Monday but I grabbed my camera just in case then less than a ½ mile from my house I filmed a good bird in a field I have permission to hunt. Tuesday morning I headed over to try for him as he made his daily rounds but after 3 hours I gave it up.
Before leaving I drove to the other end of the property where the land owner had said he saw a good gobbler. As I drove along the fence dividing the land I could hunt with one I can’t I saw a hen in a field across the fence. As I slowed to look I saw a tom with her both on the wrong side. Now I have two problems, one is getting the tom across the fence, two getting him off that live hen.
I pulled down about 75 yards, parked then got my gear out with one decoy. I slipped up to the corner of a woodlot then set the decoy about 4 yards from where I could get behind a couple of cedar trees, no blind and no cover except from the front. I got my camera set up got me halfway hidden then gave them a call. The tom gobbled as soon as I did so I thought maybe I was going to get lucky. After about 30 minutes of having them talk to me but not get closer I gave up took my stuff to the truck and was ready to leave but thought, No I’m killing this bird. I unloaded again and got set back up without getting busted, the birds were only about 50 yards away but I had a bit of brush in the fence hiding me.
I started calling again and I could see the tom blowing up and strutting while the hen talked back to me. Each time I called I could see the tom taking a few more steps my way. What I didn’t see was the hen leading him. Then I saw her coming down the fence towards me, I was hoping they would slip under the fence out in front of my camera. As she came down I knew I had no cover from that side so I laid down and kept still as the hen came across the fence line and walked within 4 yards of me to check the decoy. Now I can see the tom coming the same way so as the hen started feeding I got ready to shoot laying down at 5 yards when he crossed the fence. But he had other ideas.
As the hen fed away from me the tom turned to follow her then crossed under the fence almost exactly where I thought they would then fanned out. I eased up on my knees and called a couple of times to hold him till I could get ready. As he took a step to follow the hen I took a shot and rolled him. I didn’t realize until later he was at 40 yards which is a bit of a stretch for my muzzle loader but when the dot covered his head I just dropped the hammer.
He is a pretty bird 9 ½” beard with 1” spurs and will look good on the wall. I decided to do a cape and fan mount which I just learned to do. Can’t wait to have him on the wall.
That makes two really memorable hunts this year already. If I don’t get to go again I have had a great spring. I hope everyone is having a good season, get out there, be safe and try to get someone new involved in the real outdoors.
I spent a miserable night tossing and turning so after a couple of hours sleep I got up to storms heading in and decided to stay home. That was tough since this was going to be my first chance to get out. About 7:30 I couldn’t stand it so I grabbed my stuff and pulled out at 7:45, at 7:50 I was getting out of the truck at one of my good spots. As soon as I got out I heard toms gobbling at crows so I cut through the woods and got set up. Never heard another gobble, never saw the birds. Poof! just gone. I tried a couple of other spots but never got an answer so about 9 I decided to head home and get to turning stuff.
As I was driving out I saw a bird across a field and when I glassed it it was a longbeard and had a buddy. I slipped out of the truck, grabbed my gear and took off through the woods to cut them off. These birds follow the same path all the time, just along a field edge. Sure enough when I got to where I wanted to be the toms were only about 50 yards away. I squatted down behind a dead fall and softly hit my diaphragm a few times. After the third set of calls here they came down the access road, when they got to 16 yards I dropped the hammer on my CVA 12 gauge muzzleloader. 105 gr of 777 and 2 ozs of mixed 5 and 6 shot did the rest. Let the flopping commence
Folks I am proud to be able to sponsor in a small way some younger hunters this year. I was contacted by Jordan of the Gobbler Militia and asked if I could help them out. We talked for a bit and he told me what they had in mind so we worked out the details for them to run some of my calls.
Their first hunt will be April 27th this year and they are scouting hard to make something happen. I will be adding a page for them shortly (my fault it isn’t done yet) so readers here can get to know them and follow along. Hopefully they will send some pics and I will be adding links to their youTube channel as new video is posted.
Here is a quick video of who the guys are.
Wish them luck for the upcoming season and be sure to follow along here, on their site and on both our youTube channels.
A few years ago I got involved in the online outdoors community, blogging and videoing. As more people came to talk to me or visited my sites I noticed among hunters a group that I had thought were mostly a thing of the past, pure trophy hunters. I personally have zero problem with someone holding out for a certain animal or size of animal they are after, it is their decision. But here in lies the problem with that attitude when it rears its’ ugly head, elitism.
If you want to hunt that way, fine, but the running theme with many of these folks is to cram it down everyone’s throat. If you don’t hunt that way then your animals are inferior and by extension so are you as a hunter. They are fast to yap about how much land they have, how many cameras they run, how many deer they pass up and if you don’t do the same you shouldn’t be in the woods.
While the rest of us are telling folks that are lucky enough to harvest an animal congratulations these people won’t say it to anyone that kills something under their “standards”. This doesn’t bother me on a person level, I shoot what I want, but when it comes to new hunters and they won’t tell them good job all I can think of is, jerks. Well, technically not true but I am trying to keep this family rated.
Many new hunters see our successes and look up to us for encouragement and praise. For someone that has thousands of acres, lots of money and time to spend then only harvest one or two big bucks a year to look down on people that don’t is pathetic. I don’t have money, I hunt small plots of land that are heavily hunted all around. I still take decent deer, not so big deer and whatever does I can. I also take the time to congratulate each and every hunter no matter what they took with one exception, these elitists that make others look bad. I don’t care if one of them just killed a new world record if they won’t tell a kid that just shot a doe congrats they aren’t the kind of hunter I want to be associated with.
My goal for years has been to get others out of the house to start hunting or fishing or whatever. If it is fossil hunting or photography it doesn’t matter as long as we are getting new folks out there. One of the biggest things to keep a new person encouraged is praise and the feeling that they fit in. I started helping a kid this year that has cousins and uncles that hunt but wouldn’t help him. In a few weeks time this kid killed a double on does, called in a buck by himself and took a big 10 pointer. I made sure he got all the praise and help he deserved and now he is a hunter for life. I also posted the pictures online and sure enough the killer elite said not one word of praise to this young man.
If you have become so jaded by how great a hunter you are maybe it is time to find something else to do since it is obvious you have this hunting thing figured out. If on the other hand you still get a thrill out of a doe or a basket rack buck I promise to say congrats and share your success with all that will listen and I hope my friends do the same.
Senior Field Staffer Gary Hanson shows off some of his catches from Logan Martin.
Steven is my new Jr Field Staffer and he gets it done opening day with his first double after a start that would have sent most guys home for the day.