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Turkeys…hunting in the Spring!

by | Apr 13, 2010 | 0 comments

dads-il-turkey.jpg

Notice the camo hat!  These bring good luck to all.

This morning I woke up to snow falling hard and the picture above, which was on my phone.  In Illinois and Missouri, the Spring turkey season is here.  My father is a diligent hunter and almost always bags his bird in both IL. and MO.  For the past few weeks, he has gotten up at 4 am, makes breakfast and then heads out to the woods and sits.  Waiting.  Waiting to see where the birds have roosted from the night before.  Once he locates the birds, he slips out of the woods only to return in the evening to make sure they are roosting there again.  Turkey populations have been down the past few years due to coyotes, foxes, racoons and loss of habitat.  Look like all his prep has paid off.

 Way to go Dad!

I just got the play-by-play from my father……

 Set up really early at 5:00 am, heard gobbling beyond the railbed about 5:40, but the toms and hens flew off the opposite direction.  At 6:30 I made a move to the top of a ridge overlooking a pasture where I had heard some scant gobbling after the birds hit the ground.  I crawled up the hilltop and saw 3 jakes and several hens 250 yds out.  I set up quick, yelped on the box, and a jake changed directions  and starting coming.  He slipped out of sight coming across a big grassy draw and came into view again about 60 yards and then went to my right.  Was contemplating whether or not I would shoot a jake when I saw a big adult gobbler 200 yards out in full strut moving across the pasture.  I yelped and he gobbled, I called again and he answered, and then he started coming my way.  The exciting part is he goes out of sight coming down the draw and I never know if the tom is coming for sure or if he turns a different direction.  But at 60 yards his head and neck appeared–but he also turns to my right and goes back out sight.  Hmmm…

Several minutes go by and no gobbling, no bird, nada.  But I had a large deadfall to my right which blocked my view a bit.  I saw a movement, repositioned slowly, saw the jake, and then quick as a flash the adult tom shows up chasing away the jake.  He stops, I ease the gun up, the shot is a stretch but do-able–and I squeeze the trigger.  He dropped like a load of bricks–1 inch spurs, 10 1/2 inch beard, 22 pounds, wing tips worn from strutting.  Used my range finder–50 yard shot.  I would rather have him at 30 but I’ve made shots like this before and know my 3 1/2 ” turkey loads can do the job.  End of story.  Red buds showing, canopy leafing out, cardinals singing, squirrels barking, Dutchman britches blooming–beautiful time in the turkey woods.  You and I shot our first turkeys on April 17, 1994–remember that morning?  Where has all this time gone by.”

  

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