Well I killed my first bird in my hometown back in 2002 and I just walked up on it and shot it. I was happy with that but I wanted to do it the right way. Well if you have followed my posts you will know that I had 9 longbeards in 1 picture frame on my trail camera. Well I have hunted that place hard to come out with nothing! I hunted it youth day, opening day, and this past Wednesday. I have spent a total of 20 hours up there to hear nothing and call up one hen! Well I hunted there all day Wednesday. I only left for 2 hours, to eat lunch and rest a bit. Came back and sat till dark with nothing going on. Well that night I talked to my girlfriend and I asked her where I should go. To this new spot or where my buddy has been hearing a bird that I have heard as well but it was way off. Buddy told me he had been hearing one closer. She told me that I should go to the new spot since I didn't think no one would even be there so I said alright.

Since I had never hunted this spot I decided to wait until daylight to walk in. I started going down the trail and through the laurel. Went down and crossed the creek then headed back up into the laurel. I didn't like where I was one bit because I knew I would have to get out of that mess to be in the birds. Well on up the path the road forked. Dang, which way to go? To the left so I can get off of the creek to hear. Once I went through the laurel it opened up real nice and I started liking it. I hooted and got nothing back in return so I kept walking. I started getting close to another stream and the laurel and something started telling me I should have went to the right but I kept on going. I really got to where I didn't like my decision but I was way up in there so I kept on going to see where the road would take me. Finally I walked through a part of the stream that had a huge hog wallow and was real muddy. It got real thick on the edge and I was about fed up with walking through it when I busted out into the open. I had stumbled up on a clear cut that butted up to some ridges that were covered in hardwoods! Now I was liking where I was 135. The road made a switchback to the left and went up so I decided to get up on it and call one time to see what would happen.

I got up where I wanted to be and started to call. I didn't even make 3 yelps and I was greeted by GOOOOOBBBBBBBBBLE \:o now where did that come from??? He cut me off so quick I wasn't sure where but I knew the general direction and that it was pretty close. I waited a bit and called again, nothing. I waited a while and all of a sudden GOBBBBBLE. After that I had a better idea of where he was and he started gobbling on his own. I felt that he was gobbling pretty good that he might be coming so I got my gloves and mask on. Looked for a good seat and plopped down. I waited a bit listening to him gobbling and called a bit and he kept on answering but it seemed like he wasn't moving. By the sound of it he was a pretty good ways off so I thought I should move. Didn't want to because I wasn't sure what the road did but he sounded like he was off to the left of the road so I knew I had to.

I walked up the road a bit until I was even with him on the road. I looked up in where he was and it opened up into a big holler. The holler had a ridge against the very back of it and one on each side and it came down forming a bowl with a funnel coming straight to me. It sounded like he was in between the ridge top that was straight back and to my left. I sat back down because it looked to open to walk up any closer but I felt like I needed to. Well I decided to give him the silent treatment but the bird never moved, just kept on gobbling in the same spot. I then tried some exciting calling, cutting and everything but he wouldn't gobble at anything but plain yelping. When I would do it he would go crazy so I just set into doing it every time after he answered me and he kept on answering back. Finally I decided it was time to move because he wasn't coming.

I took off up towards the ridge to the left and stayed to where I knew he would be across from me so I wouldn't bump him. He wasn't quite on top of the ridge so I got up in there good enough to where I could hear that sweet sounding barrel roll in his gobble and some light drumming and sat down. I knew I was close! When I got situated he gobbled and I could hear the feathers rattle when he shook the ground \:o I thought I was in the green now! Well I called and he would gobble but he still stayed put because I was able to tell with him gobbling so much. I would scratch in the leaves and he would gobble at that. I decided to give him the silent treatment again and he gobbled 4 times in like 1 minute \:o I decided I couldn't keep quiet with him gobbling like that so I cupped my hand to hopefully make it sound like I was leaving and that got him good. He then started heading up to the ridge top. Well he still didn't come in, sounded like he was going back and forth on the ridge top. The gobbles would get close and then a little further so I decided I would need to move again.

When the gobbles got at what I thought was the furthest point they had been getting I made my move closer to the ridge top. Got up in there and sat down again this time waiting to see what he would do again. A couple of minutes passed with nothing so I decided to make a call to let him know I was closer. I called and he let out a thunderous GOBBBBBBBBBLE!! It sounded like he was right in my face so I knew he was really close this time. I just started clucking, purring, and scratching in the leaves to receive nothing in return. The drumming started getting louder but I still couldn't hear any movement in the leaves. The gobbling keeps coming down to my left like he is dropping off of the ridge and coming around. I position my gun in that direction as I then knew he was coming. I finally hear the walking and the drumming gets more intense so I just listen to determine where he would pop out. Finally I see him come out just to the right of where I thought he would and my gun was right there too. He was in half strut and he raises that head up to look down for this hen he had been hearing all morning long. I have never had a gobbler gobble right in front of me so I wanted to see if I could make it happen since this was one hot bird. I was so tore up all I could get out where a few clucks and he went back into strut, ZIPPPPPPPPPPPPP. Now that was the highest pitched drumming I have ever heard. He kept on walking around and I got to thinking. I don't need to try to mess around with a bird in range when I have scouted and hunted real hard this year. I decided that it was time to put a bird down on the ground and mess around with stuff like that later. I put my sights down on the waddles and started to squeeze the trigger. The gun went off and the bird disappeared. I jumped up and took off up to where he was to see him laying there. His eyes were open and I just grabbed him by the head thinking I was going to get flogged to death. Well the bird didn't even move and I was finally able to celebrate in victory and thank the good Lord for an awesome game of cat and mouse that I had won! The bird was 16lbs 8oz, had 13/16in spurs, and a 9 7/8in beard. A good 2 year old that brought a huge smile to my face *Cp*hnd

On the ridge top

Tried setting the timer and taking one myself

Edited by pigpen (04/27/09 01:29 PM)
"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."
~ Aldo Leopold