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Seam Turkey Opening 2012 April 16

The regular season for turkeys opened last weekend on Sunday. After a successful youth hunt, I wondered how the birds would be acting when I returned to the same area where Cody had filled his 2 tags the prior Sunday. After scouting on Saturday afternoon, I found the turkeys in a big group still and hanging in the same general area. I watched at least 50 turkeys fly up to roost on the adjoining property and set my blind in the low light at dusk. I wasn’t on the X where they were spending the majority of their time, but I hoped to be able to call a tom or two over to check me out close enough for a good shot opportunity. I arrived early on Sunday morning for opening day and was greeted to the sounds of gobbling and hen chatter from the roost area. I put out “Kutter” and 2 hen decoys and climbed into the Double Bull Blind to wait for the birds to fly down from their evening perches so I could begin enticing them my way. About the time I figured the birds had flown down from the roost, the gobbling ceased for the most part but turkeys began to filter out from the woods into the adjoining field. I called aggressively to the large group of turkeys and before long, they began to move my way. I was shielded by thick trees in the creek bottom 20 yards to my back and could only get fleeting glances of turkeys walking near the creek. All of a sudden a nice tom appeared to my left and he strutted with aggressive intentions toward my decoys. I noticed he was sporting a pretty long beard as he strutted directly to the face of Kutter while ignoring the hen decoys. I wish I had the video camera rolling during the sequence as he sized up Kutter and pushed up against him while making “fighting purr” sounds. I was experiencing a little anxiety as he did this because I didn’t want my decoy to get all beat up but the tom was too close to Kutter to shoot him without shooting both of them. The tom worked behind Kutter and finally when he cleared him to the back, left side the angle and timing was perfect to end the showdown with my Beretta Xtrema. At 12 yards, it was instant death and the show was certainly over for the time being. At the shot, several toms gobbled back ferociously and numerous hens spoke their discontent and I had so many turkeys around me, I chose to leave the dead gobbler laying next to Kutter. As I was waiting for things to settle down in the minutes after the shot, I called periodically and noticed a group of hens coming off the hillside in front of me with a nice tom in tow. They proceeded by me to my left at about 100 yards and never made any attempt to come my direction, however, the tom seemed very interested in my calls and decoys and made a turn my direction. Once he crested the hill and come in direct view, he went into full strut and slowly worked my way. He would strut then stop and look and move my way very methodically. He finally made it to the open pasture where I was setup and was about 50 yards out but seemed very nervous about coming any closer. I knew I could make the shot but held off as I felt confident he would come another 5 or 10 yards to make it a higher probability shot. I was wrong - he ended up continuing to strut and look while moving parallel and then moved down into creek bottom and joined the other turkeys. I’m guessing he was probably a little confused by the dead tom laying next to Kutter but who knows with turkeys what was going on in that pea brain of his? I spend the rest of the day pretty much striking out while cruising other areas trying to get a tom fired up. I returned to my original hunting area from the morning and glassed the whole group feeding in the same field there were in when I left. I watched them fly up to the same spot and then talked to the landowner on the way to my truck. He told me I should go ask the landowner for permission that owned the woods that butted up to the field the turkeys spent the day in so I that’s what I did. I was able to secure permission and immediately felt more confident that I could kill another tom having more area to work these birds the next day. So Monday morning I headed to the blind and a similar sequence played out with the birds coming to the adjoining field but this time I couldn’t pull a gobbler over to me. After working them for close to an hour, they slowly moved off in the direction they did the prior day so I headed for my truck and drove over to the other spot. I cruised through the woods and as I got closer to the field, I could see a tom strutting away with 13 hens loafing and feeding. I got as close as I could to the field edge (about 35 yards) and sat next to a tree. In the meantime, a hen began calling from the direction I had just walked in the woods. I’m not sure how I avoided spooking her or them, but I liked the situation of being between two groups of birds. As I watched the turkeys in the field, they began moving toward my location and I watched the tom breed a hen (I know, I felt like a perv). Within a few minutes, the hens started to get pretty close and the tom was hanging back about 10 yards. Then one of the hens through her head up and started clucking and moving towards me – uhoh, I’m going to get busted. Then all the hens were on guard and started clucking and the tom gobbled and strutted closer to the field edge. My gun was up but I had to move it a few degrees to get it in position. That was enough to really raise the alertness level of the turkeys and the tom came out of strut and put his head up nice and high. I knew it was going to be a bit of a poke at this point and it was now or never. With the pull of the trigger his feet dropped from under him and my season was over. Another very nice tom down and I was able to head back to Tri-Cities in time to get to coach my baseball team to a big victory that evening. Hard to beat that day! It’s been a great turkey season for my boys and me to say the least. Good luck to those chasing the long beards and I wish you the same success.

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Tom #2 Taken at 850am, 9 25 in beard, 1 in spurs 41612

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Taken: April 16, 2012
Uploaded: April 20, 2012