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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had an awesome hunt Monday and wanted to share. I'm relatively new to hunting turkeys. Tagged along with a friend 2 years ago and bought a tag last year. I had a great opportunity at a bird last year, but being stubborn and unwilling to use anything other than my bow, missed on my only opportunity.

I did learn the patterns of some of the birds in the area, and vowed I would get after them this year and make it happen. In the weeks leading up to the hunt I had a lot of great scouting hikes and was seeing the birds hold to the same routine in a few different locations.

I saw plenty of nice long-bearded toms and gang after gang of jakes. One evening up scouting we had a dozen jakes come storming into us gobbling, and they didn't care we were there. They just sat there and gobbled at us standing in the middle of a clearing. I had very few days where I went up and didn't see birds. I went into the opener confident that if we were able to set up where I'd scouted the birds, we would be done before 7:00 A.m.

The morning of the opener we loaded up and headed up the trail on bike, and after a long ride to where we planned to ditch the bikes and head up the hill, we noticed two bikes already there. Immediately I knew that there were other hunters in the draw I wanted to be. I was a little thrown off, but they beat us there fair and square. We regrouped and went up a ridge adjacent to where I thought they would be set up. As we crested the ridge and could see across the draw, we saw them set up just as it was getting light, and sure enough about 400 yards up the draw from them a group of Jakes had come off roost and were working through the clearings straight towards them.

At this point, there was nothing to do but sit and enjoy the show, so we listened to them call and watched the Jakes(which they couldn't see) work their way towards them gobbling periodically. The turkeys were within about 50 yards before they crested the point where the hunters could see. I had my binos on the lead Jake and watched his head get thrown back and heard the sound delayed shot as the Jake crumpled in the green grass and wildflowers. I was glad to see some hunters have success but frustrated that I didn't think to leave 30 minutes earlier. I couldn't help but think that should have been us set up there.

The frustration didn't last long, as soon after that Jake met his demise we heard a chorus of gobbles ring out down the canyon a little ways. We hustled down there and called near another spot that I know they like to roost. We heard gobbles immediately and hurried up the hill to try and find a place to set up and call. No sooner did we cross the creek and scramble up a steep embankment, and look back across the canyon and realized the birds we had chased up that side had pitched off that hillside across the canyon. As we glassed back across to the other side we heard gobbles and saw 3 birds strutting in a clearing. We looked at each other and said let's go get them.

At this point I was reminded of a fact that I don't like to readily admit. I'm packing around some extra weight and couldn't get to those birds nearly as fast as my buddy. Some people have different motivations for getting/staying in good shape, and the fact that my body was the thing that was holding me back here was a slap in the face. I kinda caught up to my buddy and got up within 50 yards of him just in time to see him raise his shotgun and pull the trigger. 1st bird of the day down. Just a Jake, but I was really excited that we had been able to have it come together, even if it was a bit different than I had planned.

After we got the 1st bird cleaned out, we didn't waste much time, and headed up to a heavily wooded draw with a clearing and small spring in it to see if we could hear anything. At this point, I had also made a decision that if I really wanted to shoot a turkey I should borrow my buddy's shotgun and put down my bow for the day. The extra movement and time to draw back may have proved to be the difference between notching a tag or not.

As soon as we got into the draw we let out a few yelps and immediately were answered. For the next 15 minutes the gobbles got closer and closer and then as if someone had flipped a switch, nothing. We saw 3 coyotes run up the other side of the draw, mousing their way across the hill. Not sure if that had anything to do with the turkeys stopping gobbling, but I was beginning to wonder if I would be able to pull it off that day.

We made our way stealthily down into the bottom of the draw by a small spring and waited, but could only hear some faint putts and yelps. Then, to make matters worse(or so I thought), it started to rain pretty hard as some dark clouds covered the canyon. We took cover under a tree and all of the sudden a big boom of thunder hit the canyon. Right on cue, less than a hundred yards away, gobbles rang out loudly through the bottom. We gave a few soft calls and they would respond, but not with consistency. It didn't take long to realize as well that the birds knew where they were going and it wasn't towards us. Every time the thunder struck the birds went crazy, and we did our best to follow them as they moved through the bottom of the draw.

The thunder struck again and we heard them gobble just ahead of us, and we could tell that they were going to head up out of the bottom onto the ridge above us so scrambled up through the brush to get to an opening. As soon as I cleared a patch of oak brush I saw 3 bright red and blue heads up a steep hill from me and put a bead on the lead bird and pulled the trigger. He went down immediately, but I mean he went DOWN.....toppling end over end about 50-75 yards until he found a resting place in the scrub oak.

He was beat up from the fall, and his feathers were soaking wet, so not in the prettiest or best shape, but I still couldn't have been happier. I got up close to him and knew from his stubby beard he was just a Jake, but for my 1st turkey, the experience couldn't have been more fun for me, and i didn't care one bit. Turned out to be a great day of hunting and a great payoff for a lot of scouting. My two year old was almost as excited as I was when I got him home.

I learned a few lessons from this hunt:

1. Most importantly, I need to drop some weight. There's no excuse for my body being the one holding me back from more awesome experiences hunting. I've made a commitment to not have any regrets in that way come the August Bowhunts.

2.Hunting Turkeys is FUN! The way they interact with you and talk to each other is a pretty unique thing to be a part of as a hunter. They are beautiful, and prehistorically strange at the same time, and I'm already looking forward to next year.

3.Plucking a Turkey takes a LONG time, especially when you've never done it before. But I'm excited for the meals that I will get to eat that will be further reminder of a great experience.

4.I'm apparently really long-winded so sorry you had to suffer through that, but TL/DR: I shot my 1st turkey.....Good times.:grin:
 

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Nice post,love the last picture:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nice post, that is why we all love turkey hunting. You ain't kidding when you said your bird was beat up. :p
Yeah he tumbled a long ways. That's the only thing I can find to be disappointed about. He was soaked and lost a ton of feathers.
 

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Yeah he tumbled a long ways. That's the only thing I can find to be disappointed about. He was soaked and lost a ton of feathers.
"Mountain tenderized"

Loved the story!
 

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Nice work Kwalk3 and congrats on your first bird,
I especially liked the part about watching the "other hunters" pop a bird opening morning, considering I am one of the "other hunters." :)
My buddy and I talked afterwards about how cool it was to hear your perspective on watching things go down that morning. It's also good to put a username with a face on this board.

I'm glad to see you get a bird. We saw those yotes mid morning yipping about and playing. The toms definitely got more quiet when they were around.

I ended up chasing a tom lower down the canyon that evening, but couldn't close the gap. He was quite the wary bugger. I haven't gone out since (**** work).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nice work Kwalk3 and congrats on your first bird,
I especially liked the part about watching the "other hunters" pop a bird opening morning, considering I am one of the "other hunters." :)
My buddy and I talked afterwards about how cool it was to hear your perspective on watching things go down that morning. It's also good to put a username with a face on this board.

I'm glad to see you get a bird. We saw those yotes mid morning yipping about and playing. The toms definitely got more quiet when they were around.

I ended up chasing a tom lower down the canyon that evening, but couldn't close the gap. He was quite the wary bugger. I haven't gone out since (**** work).
It was pretty exciting to watch for sure! Glad your buddy could make it happen. Those birds came right in to you, perfect plan. You guys were set up in a great spot.

It was good talking to you for a few minutes too. There seemed to be quite a few birds still running around so I'm sure it won't take much for you to fill that tag....Post a pic when you do.
 
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