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We had time to make a quick trip to a favored turkey hunting location in which has produced well for me in the past. We were at this location a week prior and we had two big gobblers strut by us at 37 yards but I didn’t take the shot because I wasn’t comfortable. The toms were henned up and the decoys and calls had little to no effect on the birds.
When this happens I decide to hunt the turkeys more like whitetail. Setting up on their known travel corridors in order to ambush or intercept them. Today wasn’t any exception and that was the plan. We popped up the blind and decoys and settled in for a relaxing evening hunt. The sun was dipping low into the western sky when we heard a gobble across the other side of a creek. A little light calling and we had three hens right in our lap to include a smoke colored hen. Talk about a pretty animal! Too bad it wasn’t a gobbler!
The mature gobbler and jakes held up out of range and hesitated to come in like the hens. This is a common problem in this area as I know the birds get run around quite a bit by shotgun hunters and they become weary of decoys and calling. What we had in our favor was that the birds had to cross our path to go to their roosting sight.
They disappeared behind some thick brush only to reappear on the other side of the blind. Of course I wasn’t set up to shoot out that way and by the time I got the windows opened they had moved past fairly quickly. Perhaps the new blind setup in their turf wasn’t fitting into place to them!?
We had thought the hunt was over when I was able to pull two jakes back to us and into our setup. They passed by at 15 yards and wouldn’t you know it; the long beard followed them in but on a slightly different path. I ranged a few trees to get predetermined distances and readied for a shot as the tom passed by. After ducking under a bar wire fence he strolled into my shooting lane. At 51 yards he had no idea what hit him as he continued to follow the jakes! His fatal mistake.
Moral of the story…Hunts can turn around in an instant! Never give up until you have run out of all options or daylight! Use gentle calling to intrigue the birds. In this case the jakes came in and the tom likely didn’t want to be alone and followed them cautiously just a bit farther out from the blind. This hunt went from me thinking we were going home empty to taking a big ugly bird back home with us!
Never give up!