My Son and I each had a tag for Wisconsin's fifth season. He had school on the opener, so I went alone. I had a couple hens come near the decoys. One with a beard. I had serious thoughts about taking her, because I want to make a decoy from one. The fall season you can shoot any bird, but the birds are full of pin feathers, and wouldn't make a great decoy. In the spring, you can take a hen, but she must have a beard. Of course with a beard comes a potential nest with a potential 14 or so eggs. I decided I wasn't going to pull the trigger, because I have a Dave Smith hen already, and it seems to do the trick. I had a neighboring hunter on the adjacent property call it a day after getting out there at 5:10 am, and leaving at 6:30. The only problem was he decided to walk out on the property I hunt? At that time, the hens were slowly feeding to my decoys, and they took flight when they caught him leaving the field. I thought bummer, and was already deciding where I was going to hunt after I was done this morning.
I was hunting where a boss strutter would frequent, and I knew this was his favorite strutting zone, so I plunked down an adult turkey fan I had mounted with a half decoy. I figured I would randomly call every 30 minutes, and give it until 11 am. At 9 am following another couple hen yelps, I was alarmed to hear a gobbler to my left out of sight very close. I see him come from my blind spot in strut, out of strut, shaking, spitting, and drumming. He did the in and out of strut with every step. I knew he was going to come in, and I wanted to see the show. I normally don't give them a chance, and take them when they get to within 30 yards. This boy came in spitting mad, and proceeded to kick the crap out of my decoy for five minutes before I finally let him have it. He is my best bird to date. He had a little over 1 and 1/2 inch spurs and a paint brush beard.
After the hunt, I went to another known strutting zone, and found another strutter tending three hens, so that afternoon after my Son was done with school, we went out to that spot which is a natural gas pipeline that was recently planted in 7 types of grass used for horse and dry cow feed. It's a beautifully groomed hill with three separate climbing hills, that diagonally cuts between a forty acre piece of woods. It’s a sunny exposed spot that looks like a dream spot for turkeys. The day before I brushed in a blind at the top of the highest hill, intending to sit with my kid after he was done with school. We approached the spot, knowing there was a strutter I had seen earlier in the day with caution and binoculars. Of course there is a strutter and those hens right at the lower portion of the pipeline, and we needed to get to the upper portion where the blind was. We waited until they fed in one of the valleys and were out of site, and got around them hoping they would stay on course. I came over the hill, and to my surprise, the strutter was just below the hill. I snuck back down the hill, told my son to turn his red dot on, and belly crawl over the hill, and shoot him in the face. He did, and somehow, the bird rolled, and gained his composure and ran into the woods? We searched for an hour, and surmised he must have missed. We found only two feathers? He said the sun was so bright that he really couldn't see his red dot, and may have not aimed properly? Oh well, he was cool about it, and decided he was going to sit in that blind which was exactly where he had missed, the following day. I couldn't make the trip, because my Daughter had a science fair, and I had to go see her display on the four stages of the monarch butterfly. By the way, her display was far more interesting than any volcano (one of fifteen) that were there! LOL maybe I'm biased, but the volcanoes really sucked after 1, 2, 3, .......
Five minutes before heading to go to the science fair, my 16 year old son calls me from his cell phone, that he got a gobbler. Cool story in its own right. He was hunting in that blind, and was bit in the side of his ass cheek by a bug. So he pulled his shorts down (still in the blind) to investigate what the hell bit him. He turns around, only to see a gobbler staring at him through one of the windows. You guessed it. He got caught with his pants down! He said he didn't move, and allowed the bird to move out of sight. The bird must have caught movement, but my brushed in blind must have saved the day. He shot the bird, and this was the first time he killed a gobbler solo. He was mighty proud, and so was I. That makes number five, and the first time he killed two birds in one season.
Wisconsin has a lottery where you can draw one of 6 seasons in several zones. After the lottery, they offer over the counter tags, and I bought one each for the fifth, season and an additional for the sixth, so I still have a tag to fill for next season….fingers crossed! So that's five birds including my buddy's bird, and I still have a tag to fill. Hopefully we can fill them all, but I was realistically satisfied just getting out there and doing it. My Son with his first bird, my buddy and his first bird, and those big old spurs are all icing on the cake!