The birds roosted in a different place than normal (seems to happen every year on the evening before) but my scouting indicated that the turkeys would still show up where I set the blinds the evening before in a driving snow storm. We awoke to 25 degree temp’s (2 degrees warmer than prior morning) and clear skies until we got to our hunting spot and the fog was thick and the ground covered in snow. So much for ideal conditions on the opening morning! The tom’s were very quiet as compared to the morning before with the weather conditions, but we stuck to the game plan. Once I was pretty certain the turkeys had left the roost, I got on the calls and it wasn’t long before the turkeys came running…literally to our setup. The hens skirted the blinds behind us along with a nice tom that I tried to get Cody to drop the back window and shoot, but I couldn’t convince him to do so and shortly thereafter a couple of gobblers were strutting to us. The pair of gobblers locked in on Kutter (Kyle’s strutting tom decoy) and came in front of the blind at 5 yards! Kyle raised his gun but not slowly as advised and one tom spooked and went back to his left but the other one walked slower and Kyle put the hammer on him at 12 yards! It was utter chaos after that with me trying to get Cody to shoot at another tom but it skirted just out of his comfort range and then all was quiet. Kyle had shot a dandy tom, probably the boss. It had 1 ¼” spurs and a 9 ½” beard and was around the 20# mark on weight but we didn’t weigh it to verify. The turkeys headed off to the woods and Kyle got cold so we left Cody to watch over the decoys and cover anything gobblers coming back to the area while Kyle and I went to find the flock. We managed to find the turkeys in the woods and set up and called in a jake that Kyle proceeded to spook with his constant moving and fidgeting. We worked around the birds and got in front of the flock and spotted a tom cresting a hill. We headed up the hill and I told Kyle to be ready to shoot and as we came over the top of the hill there were 5 toms within 25 yards. I told Kyle to pick out one and shoot which he did and it appeared he had connected but as we hurriedly approached the last place we saw the tom, it became evident that he had missed cleanly. He was bummed to say the least.
We headed back to catch up with Cody to find the farmer working in the pasture so we decided to pack up the blinds and decide our next move. After a call to another farmer to verify the turkeys were still around his place, we headed further north to hunt a different spot. We arrived at our new northern destination and quickly set up with Cody electing a spot by himself in the Double Bull blind and Kyle and I heading to a long-used permanent turkey blind structure. After an hour of no action, some hens started responding to my calls and some distant gobbles were heard and before long Kyle spotted 3 gobblers headed our way in the woods. They came in very fast and though Kyle and I had discussed how to mount his gun slowly and quietly, all bets were off when 2 of the toms charged in to face off with Kutter. The quick movement of Kyle’s gun with the gobblers at less than 10 yards spooked the back one but the front one locked in on Kutter and began a bob and weave square off with him. Kyle had stayed focused on the tom that was leaving but I got his attention to turn back to the one still in front of the blind which invoked another sudden movement from Kyle and he managed to spook that tom but not before he got off a shot at 10 yards that completely whiffed! Kyle calmly and coolly picked up his gun and chose a different window in the blind to shoot out of and with his 2nd shot drilled the fleeing tom in the back of the head and dropped him face first in the logging road. Kyle had managed to overcome multiple mistakes on this day to tag two nice toms. This tom sported an 8” beard with close to 1” spurs – an accommodating 2 year old bird to go along with his boss tom from earlier in the day. I called Cody on the radio who was more than a little frustrated that I had called away his gobblers that were hanging around behind his blind. Woops! So I snapped some pictures of Kyle with his gobbler and headed over to join Cody. It didn’t take long for the action to heat up and we had a jake come in from our right and though I tried to get Cody to take the shot at what I thought was the appropriate time, he did it on his own accord and proceeded to miss cleanly at 14 yards! Oh well, not long after that we had some hens and another jake stroll into our setup and once again Cody didn’t elect to shoot at my call since he was convinced the hens were too close and in the line of fire at about 20 yards. So he pulled the trigger on the jake at 37 yards and another clean miss! Frustration had set in big time for him and we ran out of time to work anymore birds. Kyle did add to Cody’s frustration by letting us know that a big tom was working his way to us when Cody shot and missed at the last jake. Great day for Kyle, not so great for Cody but he still had another day to hunt and the opportunity to redeem himself was still in the making. But not before Kyle rubbed it in later that evening that he was getting to sleep in the next morning. Gotta love little brothers!