Probably my favorite season yet, and I never even picked up the gun in my home state of Georgia. Went on 6 hunts and killed birds on 5 of them. Like I said, I never picked up the gun in Georgia, school had me slammed, but it was worth it to get a 4.0.
March 24--Opening Day
Took one of my good friends, Jayson, out to his property to call for him. Never scouted this place and have only been there a few times during the winter. I scouted the place with aerial photos and with a little input we decided on where to hunt. We get to our listening spot and sit there for about 20 minutes until I finally here one gobble several hundred yards away. We hustled over there as quick as we could because it was already sunrise. These birds roosted down in a thick thick swamp. We get set up in a little opening in some pines at 7:30. We have 4 birds just hammering. I work the birds and they would get within 100 yards then wonder off. Finally about 9:20, two jakes break off from the 4. They come in at a really thick location and my buddy isn't prepared for the shot and shoots and misses around 9:30 am. He gets worked up about missing, but I tell him thats its alright and that we had some birds gobbling behind us too this morning we'll try to get on. We go to a different portion of the swamp about 500 yards away where I heard 2 other birds gobbling. I hit my call and 3 birds hammer probably 75 yards away. I quickly backtrack and show Jayson where to sit and I sit down. Literally as soon as we sit down he tells me he sees birds. 3 jakes come running in and he rolls one with a 20 yard shot. His first turkey ever on his first turkey hunt.
I finally go to call for my old man on one of his properties. We arrive at his hunt camp and we look at the map. I point to one area that we need to hunt, but he decides on a thick piney area where he saw birds during deer season. I told him that the birds aren't going to be there, but he is dead set on the place so we drive over. We get there and what do you know, NOT A PEEP. I tell my dad we need to go hunt the spot where I pointed out too and we head over there. We start working a big hay field and I finally fire up a bird. I ease my way up with my binoculars and I can see the top of a fan of a strutter. We set up and call and I get 3 different birds gobbling. They just sit in the same spot for 10 min and gobble and slowly move off. I told my dad we need to pick up and move as close to these birds as possible. We get to about 100 yards away and we set up under some pear trees. I call and I have like 7 birds hammer. After a few minutes a huge pack of jakes come running in. I had my camera and they put on a great show, so I gave my dad the green light and he rolled one.
Dad and I head back to the same spot. We get set up and have the huge group of jakes just rolling. After and hour and a half they wander off. We decide to go to another spot along the same hay field. I get 3 birds to fire off down in this swamp about 300 yards off. After being patient a nice longbeard slips in quietly. We are set up in this tight little area and I literally put the hen decoy 6 feet to our right. The bird sees the deke and comes right on in and pops rolls him at 30 yards.
April 4--Dads Birthday
Been trying for years to get dad a bird on his birthday. We have shot birds on April 2 and 3, but April 4th we have always been unsuccessful. We go back to the hay field and we set up under a little island of trees. The gameplan today was to just set up, call, and wait. The jakes have the run of the place and have the longbeards quiet as heck. Sun starts to rise and the pack of jakes are just thundering. I throw out some light calls every now and then. Finally I catch movement coming out of the woods into the field edge. Its a nice longbeard. He starts working his way in, but must of caught something that didn't look right (pretty sure it was my dad set up on his tree, he stuck out bad). I know how the gun shoots and tell my dad to roll him. Huge eastern with a great set of hooks.
April 6--Little Brother's Hunt
Little brother isn't much of a hunter and we always have to pull teeth to get him to come. A few days before he went out with us. We set up on a bird and had him working really well until a jealous club member at my dads land ruined the hunt for us. Birds start to get really henned up so I decide to set up on the group of jakes, but instead of setting up in the field, we need to set up on this old logging road down in the swamp along the river. We get set up at sunrise, and we spook a hen as we are setting up. I call and I get a gobble 200 yards down the road. After a few minutes I can tell the bird flew down. I call again and he gobbles and I can tell he is working our way. I finally see the bird show up at the end of the road, followed by 2 more. They take their time coming on in, but finally get to the point where the brother can shoot. He was pretty nervous and doesn't make the best shot. He shot the bird and it runs about 15 yards and we are able to get a boot on his head.
Here are the videos to the hunts. Haven't uploaded Jaysons hunt yet. Please ignore some of the language, Im pretty "passionate" about my turkey hunting lol. A lot of the dialogue between my Dad and I is fairly mature, but it works for us lol.
March 30 Jake
Dad and I fly to Kansas for our yearly Rio hunt. Was our 4th year going out there to chase public land Rios. Hunting was the hardest I have ever had it. Birds were very tough to find, and about impossible to work. These birds were henned up from dawn to dusk. It was weird too, because we'd see 3 longbeards with one hen, but we would also find huge packs of longbeards that wouldn't even work. We got on several groups of 6 plus longbeards that would just stand with each other and strut around and wouldnt gobble. Then the worst was finding a group of 17 birds. 13 longbeards, 2 jakes, and 2 hens. Couldn't work a single bird.
Finally on May 2, it comes together. After a decent morning hunt that got ruined by hens taking our working longbeard away we finally spot a lone gobbler in a field. We park the truck and head up to the field. I call and cut and nothing. We get to the field and the bird is gone. I call and cut once more and the bird answers not 100 yards away. The problem is the field is surrounded by a 80 incline of solid rock on all sides. The birds is on top of the incline. I didn't think I'd be able to call him down back into the field with a such a steep incline. I call very aggressively and he is just rolling. Im facing the field and I had my dad face the incline incase the bird snuck down behind us. Well he sneaks in behind us in this plum thicket. My dad sees him, but has no shot. I peak around and see the bird, but he is staring right at me. I finally have enough and just swing around 180 degrees and shoot. I roll the bird and he ends up being a nice 2 year old.
We hunt the rest of the day and just can't get any luck. Finally with an hour of light left I decide to head back down to the field where I shot my previous bird. I stand in the road that heads to the field and call and I get a gobble. We set up in the road because the bird is just at the entrance of the field. I pull out the camera so I can film dad. The bird ends up having a hen and starts following her to the end of the field. Dad can't move because he'll get seen, but Im able to move due to the angle. I pick up my gun and hustle down the road beneath the field. I run about 200 yards and cut into a creek bottom and up this thick and steep hill. I get the the crest of the hill and I see the birds fan about 60 yards out. At that moment, I feel like Mel Gibson from the Patriot lol. I take off my vest and I start to belly crawl through thorns and tick filled grass. I get up to this cotton wood and the bird is about 40 yards away. He keeps looking in my direction (probably thinking the hen he has had calling to him making all the crunching in the leaves). He struts and puts his back to me. I pop up with my back to this cotton wood. I gather myself and just twist around this tree with the gun raised and roll this bird at 40 yards. Just dropped this bird, he didn't even flinch. Look at the massive congealed strand of congealed blood that got blown out of his head in the first picture. As Im running up to the bird I notice a half a fan. I start thinking, what the heck, did I shoot his fan off? No way, he wasnt in strut when I shot. I look around and no feathers are anywhere. I guess something happened previously but the bird was missing half his fan and beard. The feathers werent broken or anything so he wasn't shot at before, so who knows.