well I hunted all day sunday, camped out in the car overnight, hunted again this morning. Was gonna meet up again with ImThere in the morning but he got called into work. So I headed off to a spot along a creek where I knew they roosted in the area.

I got there just as light started showing in the sky. Quietly crossed the creek to find a place on the other side to set up. I didn't know exactly where they were roosted but it had to be nearby. The wind was gusting a little. Not a constant breeze but enough to help me move along through the woods undetected.

Well I got across the creek and saw the first bird. I was almost under it, not far from the tree at all. It turned out to be a hen. I climbed the bank quietly and there was another bird in a tree 10 yards in front of me. I could see its silhouette against the lightening sky.... but was it a hen or a gobbler?

I barely had time to decide where to set up, then one of the hens made a little noise. The bird in front of me gobbled. I sat down at the nearest tree with the creek behind me. I watched that bird gobble... double gobble even, he was pretty vocal and very close to where I was sitting.

I didn't know if it was legal shooting hours yet - some clouds had rolled in making it seem a little earlier than it was. I shielded the light from my phone while it loaded the current sunrise time, all the while the bird was gobbling.

The sunrise app on my phone loaded and I was glad to see that it was already 8 minutes into legal shooting hours. I figured I might as well just take him off the limb....

Now why shoot him off the limb instead of waiting for him to hit the ground? well pretty simple, I was not set up where I thought I should be. I don't know for sure where he would have flown down to, but if I'm guessing right he would have flown away from the creek uphill. I wanted the birds to be between me and the creek and have them fly to me, but I was between the creek and the gobbler and couldn't go any farther without him probably seeing me. So I had to decide and he was already easily in range.

I could not see his head unless he was gobbling due to tree limbs in the way, but I could see from his neck down. I got a bead on that sucker and squeezed off a round.... birds around me freaked out a bit, and he came crashing to the ground. He hit the ground approx. 10 yards from where I was sitting (roughly stepped it off). He actually broke his breast bone from the impact, but the meat was OK.

The shot was a lucky one - only about inch away from destroying either the beard or the breast. Blew a hole in his crop. Still don't know how it didn't spill out yesterday's meal but it somehow stayed intact, except for the big hole in the skin. A few shot got into the breast but nothing to complain about. I shot him with a Win. Supreme High Velocity 3" #5 shot load.

So at 5:51 AM I had one taking a nice dirt nap. That hunt definitely was a lot shorter than expected.

22 lbs, 5 oz
9 3/4" beard
1 1/8" and 1 3/16" spurs
Public land, Maury County

I was just gonna save the beard and spurs, but screw it... I got that fan salted and pinned out to dry. It was too pretty to throw out I guess. Gotta remember borax next time too...

Some pics

I got over 9 1/2 pounds of meat -

One side note -

I figure some of you probably frown on shooting a bird out of the roost, because it's not "playing the game" or however you want to put it. It may not be the same as calling a hot bird in to your gun but hey, it's a legal turkey, it's fair chase, and the meat is just as good. If you don't think it's fair chase then try getting within 10 yards of a tree holding a longbeard on public land, with the bird in plain sight. If that's not fair chase then I don't know what is. It was a heck of a thrill anyway.