Great opening day in MO for not having the greatest weather. 15-20 mph northwest winds with temp. in the low 40’s. My cousin and I decided to spilt up and hunt different ends of the property. The birds have not been very predictable in their roosting habits, so we believed it would be best to split for the best chances.
I did not hear a gobble until 5:45, which is about 15-20 min. later than normal. The bird was much closer to my cousin so I decided not to call. However, after only hearing the close bird a few times and a couple of birds far off, some Canada geese flew by and a gobble erupted 100 yards across a field on the neighbor’s property. I could hear some yelping and clucking so I started to call back and forth, and surprisingly the gobbler did not sound off but maybe 5 more times on the roost.
After a little while I could hear some fly down cackles and could make out birds pitching out of the trees. After a little calling, 2 birds appeared just over the hill, one being a strutter. As I watched the birds come closer , I could tell that the strutter was a jake, and the other bird was also a jake. The strutting jake put on a show dancing around the other bird and chasing him. I just knew there had to be more birds still over the hill. The 2 jakes made it down the fence row to my left where the spotted my decoys on the other side, which luckily kept their attention as I started to hear more jake yelps over the hill. I had to sit back from the fence because there wasn’t enough cover to sit next to it.
I continued to softly call and then 4 more birds appeared over the hill, and they were all jakes, with one that could have been a very young 2 year old sporting between a 6“-7” beard. A clucked a little and then a gobble erupted over the hill. Soon enough, 2 more birds came over the hill and I could clearly see their long beards swinging as they walked. The 6 birds slowly made their way down the fence towards my position, with the mature birds in the rear. As the remaining jakes made their way past my shooting hole, one of the first jakes started putting, so I counteracted with some purrs and clucks. The birds became some what alarmed, but not enough to spook. The mature gobblers again started making their way to my shooting hole when one of them decided to show a little dominance over the other. He chase the other bird a short distance before coming back. The bird stepped into my shooting whole and I clucked and he took one more step and his head was behind the brush leaving no shot. Luckily, the other gobbler was close behind and when he stepped in I clucked and he stopped perfectly. I took good aim through the fence and fired……bird down.
The bird only ended up being 10 yards away. I also discovered what had the one jake spooked. I was using 2 hens and a B-Mobile strutter with a real fan. Apparently I did not attach the fan well because it blew off in the wind. The was really bitter sweet because I have had 2 other hunts from this very spot that were awesome until the shot. I had clearly missed 2 gobblers in the previous 3 years, but today I redeemed myself.
Now I can’t wait for the weekend so I can tag along with my dad and hopefully do some filming. Definitely wish I had a camera man today. Good luck to everyone else.
The bird ended up weighing 20 lbs, had a 10.5” beard, and only had one spur measuring 5/8” making it a very young 2 year old gobbler.