Got my Longbeard

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Got my Longbeard

Postby A-Bomb » Thu Apr 26, 2007 10:32 pm

After scouting the properties hard from Friday through Sunday i decided i had a few options on where to hunt...and on a couple properties, a couple solid spots to set up. The property i chose to hunt had farm land(corn and wheat) between two sections of woods. The birds were steadily crossing between the woods. One i had permission to hunt the other i didnt. So, i decided to set a tent blind up in the corn stubble to intercept them from either property. But with the forcast of 25-30 mph winds, i decided i better have a back up plan if that occured. My plan was to hunt the woods where theyve been entering and exiting the field if the wind was strong.

I woke up at 5 AM opening morning to find the temps in the 60's and a 20 mph wind out of the SW. So i decided to hunt the woods where an old logging road divides two properties and is also a access to the woods from the field.

The morning started off pretty slow. The birds were quiet with only a handful of gobbles from the roost, and nothing afterwards...After a few calling sequences and no reponses i just kept scanning the area looking for birds slipping through silently. As the morning wore on and no birds, it got cloudy and the wind increased to 30 mph, with gusts to 50 mph.

Never the less, it wasnt long, and a lonely hen was headed across the field from woodlot to the south of me. She came all the way across the field and began feeding in the wheat stubble 20 yds from me. Then 3 jakes came down the feild from the west to join her. After 45 minutes they moved easterly along the woodline. Shortly thereafter another hen came across the field just like the first one did. A few purrs and clucks and she came right into the decoys and was soon joined by 2 jakes and 2 more hens that came from an old logging trail in the woods. The hens all grouped up and headed to the west down the two track i came in on. The jakes, after inspecting my decoys for about 5 minutes, decided to head down to the field and have a bite to eat. I watched them for probably a half hour before they headed down the woodline where the previous hen and jakes had went.

Within 15 minutes of that i caught movement coming back down the woodline where theyd just exited. The first was a hen, then the 3 jakes, and to my delight, a nice Tom. As they approached i thought id have a nice easy shot around 15 yds....When all of a sudden they all took off running. The hen and jakes continued down the field past me, and the tom ran up the lane in the woods, turned, and came right at me....By the time i got turned and got a bead on him he was 8' from me...Thats right, i said 8'!!! I fired and missed At that range with the Extra Full choke its not surprising....I swung around the other side of the pine, took aim and fired again...This time he did a cart wheel at a whoppin' 20'

After he spurred the he!! out of me i hauled him a half mile back to the truck...and back to the farm i went....When i got there we were BSing when my buddy asked me if that was my tent blind that went blowing across the field? I told him, heck i dont know, i was watching the turkeys....I know it was there earlier in the morning....He started laughing and said, i seen it blowing across the field and then i heard you shoot....I started laughing, because i now understood why the turkeys took off running... With the high winds my blind barrel rollied across the field and scared em right to me....I couldnt have planned it better if i tried....It certainly wasnt a text book turkey hunt, but ill take it none the less.

10 1/4" Beard, 1" Spurs, 18-20#

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Postby Pete-pec » Sat Apr 28, 2007 5:49 am

Great hunt A-Bomb!

I had Wisconsin's first season (4-11 through 4-15). The season started out real great! NOT! We got hit with that snow-storm, and high winds. So Wednesday was a white-out, and Thursday started out with 30 mph winds as well. No luck in the morning, so I went and took a nap. When I went out scouting some other property, I found 40 or so birds milling around out in a hay field. It looked like an easy stalk, so I went for it. I had a small woods between me and the birds, so along with the high winds and ice and snow falling from the trees, it seemed like this was going to be easy. The birds were wanting to come my direction, so all I had to do was intercept them by setting up where they were going to wander by. Well I get set up right in the corner of the field when My wife decides to call me on the cell phone to tell me I can hunt as late as I want. Meanwhile the birds high-tail it into the woods because they heard my ringer, so I told her I might be able to be home in 15 minutes! :mad: My fault, I didn't turn my ringer off on the phone. So I thought I was busted. I went into the woods hoping to cut them off. I make a super silent sneak through the woods, only to bust the entire flock. So now I thought it was over. I decided to give some small purrs hoping to call in a bird. As impatient as I am, I only gave it 15 minutes, and was going to head home hoping to give it a fair shake the following day. The weather was going to really improve in the next three days. So I decide to stand up, and I look to my right, and a long-beard is about 15 yards from me to my right. I'm right handed, so I needed to turn my body to make the shot. By the time I turned, he was running away at about 35 yards, and I missed! Most important rule in turkey hunting is to be patient, and when you decide to move, DON'T!

So now it's day three! I decide to go to another property. Calm weather clear, and the birds are talking. Sounds like a couple jakes, and maybe one tom. But the kicker is there is one dominant hen who won't have a part of me calling to "her" boys. She is really getting amped up, and is now bellering real loud at me in this "how dare you" sort of tone. When all of a sudden I can hear small footsteps running my direction. I figured it was a coyote, so I raised my gun out of instinct (even though, I probably wouldn't have shot), and here it comes, yep, a coyote. It sees my decoys, and crouches immediately, and charges my hen decoy, and leaps on it and sticks itself in the belly with the stake that supports the decoy. It makes a cry that sounds like a cat getting screwed, and runs off! Pretty cool! :thumbsup: Now back to turkeys. The hen is absolutely furious, and I watch her fly from her roost to the roost that the tom was in, and she now starts clucking, so I mimic her, and cut her off every time she decides to call. All of a sudden she flies down and lands like five feet from me, and starts stomping the ground. I shut my eyes and looked the other direction so I wouldn't get busted, and I could hear her stomping the ground while she made a small circle around me. All the other birds flew down as well, and I had two jakes come out in full strut, but no tom. They ended up wandering through the woods, and that was that.

On my ride home I decided to check out that field from the day before, and sure enough there are 2 toms on the edge of a small island of woods fanning and displaying. I come up on them from the opposite side of the woods, and do the low-crawl through manure and mud, and sneak up to those birds (along with the rest of the pack) I get to within 40 yards of a nice tom, and roll him. he rolls for about 20 yards, and gets up and flies away! What the hell! Now I need a shower! :rofl:

The next day! The birds were there, they flew down, and they came in! EASY AS THAT!

Result: 23# 11"and 5" double-beard, and 1" spurs.

Maybe I should have just waited for the the right day? Anyhow, it was full of excitement, and I ended up with a respectable bird.

Gobble gobble,

-Pete
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Postby stumpjumper » Sat Apr 28, 2007 11:19 am

Congratulations guys, and well done :thumbsup: Both of your birds are trophies in anyones books. And it always seems that there is an amazing story to go along with turkeys.
A-Bomb, were you sitting in the blind when it got blown away? If so, brother your consintration level on those birds was astronamical and comical :lol:

STUMP
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Postby A-Bomb » Sun Apr 29, 2007 8:00 pm

Sorry for the slow response...been huntin with my dad. We had a few close encounters over the weekend, just couldnt seal the deal. We still have a week left in our hunt, so theres plenty of time to get r done. With the cold spring we had the birds are still pretty bunched up....hens.... :mad:...Midday hunts have been most productive.....We'll just keep hammerin away until we crack em....Itll happen. :thumbsup:

Pete,
Congratulations on your bird....A double bearder....Too cool. :thumbsup: ...Well, as they say, persistance pays off, this definitely was the case for you. After all that it would have been easy it get discouraged. Way to hang tough...Once again, congratulations on a great bird.

Stump,
No, i wasnt in the blind when it blew away. I had the blind out in the corn stubble for a field set up, but with the high wind i decided to hunt the woods...It blew all the way across the field to the woods ending up about 200 yds east of the turkeys. It pushed em right to me. :rofl: I couldnt have planned it better if i tried. :rofl: The heck of it is, i didnt even see the blind blow across the field....guess i was just locked on the birds. :eek: :biggrin:
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Postby stumpjumper » Sun Apr 29, 2007 8:11 pm

Pete, Bomb are these your first birds or have you guys been turkey hunting long?

STUMP
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Postby A-Bomb » Mon Apr 30, 2007 5:20 am

Stump,
Ive been gobbler hunting for 11 years now. :eek: ...It sure doesnt seem like its been that long....I must be getting old. :rofl: .....Ill be 26 this November. :tongue:
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Postby stumpjumper » Tue May 01, 2007 7:25 pm

I think it`s hilarious that your blind actually herded those birds your way. Guess it`s better to be lucky than good sometimes.
It sounds like your a seasoned vet on those gobblers then A-bomb. Again great story and beautiful bird.

By the way which do you think is harder, turkeys or ducks.

STUMP
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Postby A-Bomb » Tue May 01, 2007 8:40 pm

Stump,
It sure is crazy that it scared em right to me. We've been laughing about it all week long. Like i said, i couldnt have planned it better if i tried....Better to be lucky than good...Ill take that any day. :wink:

Which is harder, ducks or turekys???

Well, it all depends.....If you talking about physicality, bar none, duck hunting is harder. Trudging through the mud and muck is brutal, not to mention all the gear you have to haul in on walk in style hunt. It takes allot of energy, but is well worth it.

As far as the mental challenges involved and getting birds into range....turkeys are harder. When theyre henned up it can be real frustrating...I mean, they wont even give you a second thought when theyre locked on a hen. So, in turn, you need to log lots of hours in the woods and keep after em. Set up in areas they travel and hopefully you can call a hen to you with a tom in tow or catch a lonesome tom out looking for a hen. And just when you think youve got em figured out, they throw ya a curve. Theyre a tough cookie.

Another reason i think turkey hunting is tough is because your dealing with individual birds on their turf on a daily basis. When your duck hunting you have a higher volume of birds that are in a migrating pattern. So, in essence, your dealing with "fresh" birds. They may not be fresh to hunting pressure, but fresh to your area. So, initially, they think the area may be safe, when in reality they may be flying into a war zone.

Dont get me wrong, duck hunting can be difficult respectfully, but overall, turkey takes the cake.
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Postby stumpjumper » Wed May 02, 2007 9:15 am

A-bomb, I agree with you. To me turkeys are much more challenging of a prey.

Yes ducks are difficult, don`t get me wrong. But it is their natural tendency to come to a call and other ducks(decoys take care of that). There are a few things you really need to consintrate on with ducks, like decoy placement and concelment. But at the same time you can get away with more mistakes with ducks also. Ever notice how the come in while your walking around in the water? Also a marginal duck hunter has a chace at taking multiple birds during the season.

With turkeys it`s a different ball game. You must be conceled from head to toe, and any movement and your busted. Also there is the problem of over calling, especialy while they are still on the roost. To top it off your asking the gobbler to do the oppossite of what comes naturaly. They gobble to get hens to come to them. That is why they go to areas to strut in the morning. Also a gobbler will only go so far. If you start working him 300 yards away, he my come 200 yards and lock up. And yes, those darn hens can cut them off on the way to you. I love to hear them gobble, but not alot. Keeps the hens away. And as you said just when you think you have them figured out they change their routine. You can hunt a whole season as hard as you can and if your lucky, or have an awsome huney hole pull I gobbler.

To me turkeys make all other game that I hunt look dumb, as well as a few hunters.

STUMP
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Postby A-Bomb » Wed May 02, 2007 5:20 pm

Stump,
All valid points....i agree 100%. :thumbsup:

When theyre on the roost ill give em a little tree call and thats it...Just to let em know im there. Then i dont do anything until they fly down. Overcalling is a big mistake. Like you said, hens go to Toms in nature, so someone hammering a call just dont get it. Myself, im a subtle caller, i call just enough to get the job done. I like to make the gobbler think the hen is going the other way and make him come to me. So, generally, ill call louder initially, then taper it off throughout my sequences. Most times I think its better to keep a sharp eye once youve had a bird respond, than worry about hammerin on the call. The smart ones usually slip in silent anyhow. The bird i killed opening day i didnt call to one time. He just came down the woodlot following the hen and jakes. If my blind wouldnt have scared them it would have been a nice 15 yd shot or so, and i would have never touched the call. I was concealed well, all i had to do was be ready....Why call if theyre coming right to ya? :wink:

In my experience, killing a turkey either comes very easy or very hard. Ive been on a roll the last 3 years and have killed my bird opening day. But, ive also been on the other side of the ball where ive hunted all season long and killed my bird on the final day.....I hope im not jinxing myself, but ive yet to go a season without killing a bird....KNOCK ON WOOD!!!...Last year i had my mother on gobbler after gobbler, we just couldnt get it done. Theyd come in behind us, she couldnt get a shot, hens messed us up, they seen us somehow....You name it, it happened. Shed didnt get her bird last year....I was as frustrated as she was becasue i was there every step of they way. Thats part of turkey hunting and what makes you want to get back out after em to see if you can outfox em. Turkey hunting is mother natures version of a chess match....I just love it.
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Postby illinoisduckboy15 » Fri May 04, 2007 7:48 pm

i got next weekend im so pumped going scouting tommarrow
the crew= 17 ducks
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Postby zettler » Fri May 04, 2007 8:12 pm

Excellent stories and great picture!

Keep em coming. Please.
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Postby Pete-pec » Sat May 05, 2007 10:25 am

stumpjumper,

First bird? No, not my first bird. I've been hunting them for 13 years, and have shot 8 longbeards, and 3 jakes. Best bird was last year, 1 and 3/8th inch spurs. I don't think getting a 3 or 4 year old is any more of a trophy though. Mostly luck. I'd rather have 2 or 3 two-year-olds come in running, than play the 6 hour waiting game to get an old bird who was ditched (finally) by his harem of hens. I won't shoot jakes any more, although I have no problem if someone I'm calling for wants to shoot one. I took out My father-in-law for three years now, without any success. I think he moves way too much, and has the worst luck possible! I don't hunt from blinds, because I can't take it being locked up inside. Maybe I need to try that with my father-in-law to make sure he doesn't get busted in the future. Short story; We went out on Wednesday evening, and he missed 3 jakes with three separate shots (10 gauge-36 inch full full choke). He was just happy to get some shooting, but I'm thinking his shells were loaded with saw dust! :rofl:

What are tougher, ducks or turkeys? I have to agree with A-Bomb about the physical side of waterfowl, but for me turkeys are probably the toughest for us to consistently score on. The reasons are that our season is only one of six seasons that is only five days long. The weather plays a huge part in the pursuit of birds with such a short season. Our season is picked on a lottery, so you may have the first season where weather is the factor, not to mention the birds are still bunched up, or the middle season where the hens have complete control or the toms, or the last season where the alfalfa is 2 feet tall, or the farmers are planting, or the morel hunters are hurting your hunting. The last factor is that our birds were only re-introduced in the eighties, and not in this particular area, so natural reproduction has only very recently brought them into this area. With that being said, there are some woods full of birds, and other woods not holding a one. I'm 39 years old, and I saw my first bird in this area only 16 years ago. Now we see them everywhere. :thumbsup:

I grew up bow hunting deer, and was introduced to waterfowl some years ago now, and absolutely loved it. Then I took up turkey hunting (on my own, and completely self taught) and if only allowed to hunt one game species for the rest of my life, I would have a very difficult decision, but would probably have to pick turkeys.......or ducks..........or deer....or

-Pete
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Postby zettler » Sat May 05, 2007 10:41 am

Pete-pec wrote:stumpjumper,

... and if only allowed to hunt one game species for the rest of my life, I would have a very difficult decision, but would probably have to pick turkeys.......or ducks..........or deer....or

-Pete



Agreed!

How far are you from Ft. McCoy? My Dad use to go there many years ago to teach and when I went there in the early 1990's for a meeting, I got to hunt Grouse there BUT OMG - the numbers of turkeys!

I always wanted to go back for old times sake...

Again, congrats and the feedback!
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Postby Pete-pec » Sat May 05, 2007 8:23 pm

zettler,

I live two hours from Fort McCoy. I'm right near the state line here. yes there are a ton of turkeys farther north. They love the bluff country. I have to say they sure do migrate and repopulate very quickly, because there are quite a few here as well. It wasn't too many years ago that everyone went "north" to hunt deer and turkeys, but now it's nice only having to travel 5 to 20 minutes to be into some great hunting. I can only hope that Chronic Wasting Disease doesn't put an end to our deer hunting. I'm not a huge advocate of the whole eradication thing. Sorry if that offends someone, but until they prove to me that it spreads to humans, or kills deer faster than cars or hunters, than I'm not playing into the insurance companies or The Department of Natural resources scheme. :thumbsdown:

-Pete
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Postby zettler » Sat May 05, 2007 8:27 pm

Pete-pec wrote:zettler,
...but now it's nice only having to travel 5 to 20 minutes to be into some great hunting.
-Pete


I wish I had that opportunity!

Again, congrats!
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