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Posted April 14th, 2017 at 06:23 PM by Black Spurs
Updated April 14th, 2017 at 10:13 PM by Black Spurs

The last time I heard this turkey gobble was March 26th. I have hunted him one evening since. I took a break and went to Colorado to hike and run and just hang out with my oldest daughter for a few days last week. I was not too concerned about turkeys. Actually, I did not intend to pull the trigger again this season.

My friend heard him gobble yesterday morning at 6:10, right on the creek bank. We decided to head in there early and try to get close. I assumed this was the same turkey that managed to give us the slip several times last year. I probably could have taken some chances and killed him on the last weekend last year, but I didnít push it. However, he may not have been the same one. The turkey had a very distinct gobble. It almost sounded like someone was shaking a tin can with pea gravel in it. It was also very high-pitched and not very loud. Hmmm. Maybe he was an old one with big hooks!! I donít remember it sounding like that last year or on March 26th.

We stood in the moonlight at 5:30, waiting. At 5:42, I heard a crow, which confounded me. It was far too early for that. He just barked a series of one-note caws. It was clearly a crow. Soon after that, a whippoorwill started up. Or maybe it was that other bird that I always get mixed up with the whippoorwill. Clouds moved in, covering the moon.

At 6:25, I was fidgety, thinking I should have slept or went for a run. My mind wandered, ďHave I ever heard a crow that early? When is that Avery Brewery beer going to get in the stores? That guy in Boulder told me it should have been down here last week. How long will my beard be if I donít cut it until November?Ē I was knocked back into reality by a punch in the shoulder and my friend pointing in the direction of the gobble. I heard the noise, but I did not associate it with a turkey. It was just a noise. He was quite a ways off. We made our way down to the creek, and I could hear him the next several times. We set up at the north end of a food plot and waited. He did not answer my first tree yelp directly. He gobbled, but I think it was just time for him to gobble. I broke out a mouth call and did a tree yelp that ended with a cluck. He went nuts, cutting me off with a triple gobble, which he did several times after that. He had my undivided attention now. Eventually, I did a fly down cackle, and he just continued tearing it up. It was not long before I could tell he was on the ground.

He had roosted on a club road that crossed two pipelines; one pipeline was just a narrow little strip, about gravel road wide. The other was about the width of a four-lane highway. They ran parallel and seemed to come together at the northern edge of the property. He walked back and forth gobbling at my every call and on his own. I got quiet, and so did he. I knew he was coming; I just did not know when. Suddenly, a hen flew up from behind me and landed in a tree. I assumed that it was a hen because it was clearly a light turkey. About that time, I saw a white head and a fan coming up the pipeline. He was coming just as I had hoped. Then, he stopped dead in his tracks, strutting and drumming the likes of which I have not seen in a very long time. He was in range, but there was a great deal of heavy brush between us. Sometimes he would disappear. I heard a hen, and I mimicked her call. He gobbled hard, but he stood his ground. He trekked back and forth on that little pipeline for what seemed like an hour, but it could not have been more than ten minutes. The hen and I went back and forth softly about three times. Each time he would gobble hard at my call, but he never answered the hen directly.

I knew that hen was eventually going to fly down and take him away or he was going to break for me. Of course, she was quite close to me, but if she flew to him, it could all be over. I gave him a quaver call, and he broke strut and walked my way like it was the most natural thing he had ever done. He got close. I could see my buddy with his cheek down on his gun, and I just knew at any second it would be over. I had my gun on the gobbler, too. I focused on the gobbler, and I noticed him get nervous. He came out of strut and looked like he was about to leave. I couldnít take it. I pulled the trigger at 7:10 or so, figuring I would just have to issue an apology to my friend.

The turkey was moving nervously, and at the shot, he rolled and flew straight up in the air. Oh No, not again. He hit the ground and I shot him dead with a follow up shot. I had a much cleaner shot when he initially passed in front of me, but I was waiting on my shooter to shoot. His gun had misfired, but I didnít hear the click. The turkey did, and that is why he was getting out of there. We fired his later, and it was fine. I think he just didnít put the bolt all the way forward when he loaded it. He assured me that he was happy that I shot and didnít let him get away.

The gobbler had a 10 inch beard, no spurs, and felt pretty light. I would guess him at about 15lbs.
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