Let's here some hunting stories about a "special" bird that you've hunted whether you killed him or not. I'll start...

I set up along the edge of a field one seemingly ideal morning in an area where there had earlier in the season been alot of gobbling. Across the field from me right after sunup I had birds gobbling and hens talking. I couldn't get them to head my way even though the gobblers were responding. They wanted to come in but they wouldn't abandon the hens that were with them. The hens went through the timber headed deadaway from me with the gobbling gobblers in tow. I followed with the thought of working around in front of them but before I could get there they made it into the cove of field. This was a large field. Across from the cove was a timber covered drainage with another field cove on the other side. The bulk of the field was beyond that point in front of that drainage. The birds (13 hens and 3 gobblers) made their way across the cove and fed out in the field around the point of that drainage. The only way to do a sneek was to stay in the timber and work my way to and around the end of the cove and up the drainage. I did and made it to some cover at the end. The birds were out into the field off this point but too far for a shot. I'd call and the gobblers would go crazy but the hens would walk away and they'd follow. They headed for the opposite side of the field so back down the drainage and around the end of the second cove I went. I made my way up through the cover and set up in the area the birds were headed. Here they came. A couple of clucks and the gobblers went nuts. One of these birds was my obvious target because he was a big bird and for sure the king of the flock. As soon as I called the hens turned again and headed back across the field. I circled on around the far end of the field and again worked my way up in front of them. Another couple of clucks and they headed away from me down the inside edge of the field back towards where they had originally entered. I looped around again but this time I lost them and never heard another peep nor did I see them again.

My next trip to the woods found me set up pre-dawn in the area where they had come off the roost on my last trip. They were roosted just below me. When they came off the roost they flew away from me down through the timber towards the end of the first field cove. They didn't talk long and I lost them again and couldn't pick them back up.

Ok. This next trip I'd take a couple of dekes along and see what happened. I set up along the drainage towards the far edge of the cove across from and below where they liked entering the field after flying off the roost. After sunup they gobbled for 30 minutes and finally flew down. The hens made it to the field first with the 3 gobblers strutting and gobbling right behind them. The hens saw my dekes and slowly fed their way in my direction. I did a couple of clucks and yelps and they turned and went back into the timber and again I never heard or saw them again. I may not be the very best caller in the world but I'm decent and have called up a bunch of birds in the past but these birds were making me feel like I had no idea what I was doing. I don't think they were overpressured but I was beginning to believe these were some mighty jealous hens that didn't want to share their boyfriends with any other birds. Back to the drawing board.

Hmm-m-m-m. OK. They keep roosting the same area. They keep entering the field in the same spot. They seem like they're attracted to my dekes. They don't like to hear another bird. New game plan. The next trip I again set along the cover on the edge of the drainage only this time just above where they liked entering the field. With my 3 dekes set up in the field in front of me I waited on sunrise. At first light the gobblers were going ballistic gobbling. The hair was standing up on the back of my neck and I was biting my tongue to keep from calling back to them. For another 30 minutes they gobbled non-stop just inside the cover of the timber and then all was silent. For the next 1/2 hour that silence became deafening. I was second guessing not calling back to them when the first hen popped her head out of the timber followed by another, then another, and then another until all 13 hens and the 3 gobblers were in plain view 150 yards away. The gobblers had slowed their talking down but were trying to outstrutt each other the entire time. Just as the hens came over a small rise in the field they saw my dekes and headed my way. I was still sitting there biting my tongue. Here they came with the boys right behind them. They made it to my dekes and fed and scratched among them not over 15 yards in front of me. The gobblers were strutting around each other so tightly that for 15 minutes I couldn't get a shot off for fear of killing all 3 birds. Finally there was a gap. BAM! My big bird was on the ground flopping while the other 2 gobblers were in the air flying away. I guess they figured now was their chance so they dropped back to the ground, whirled, and came back in on the dead run. They pounced and flogged and spurred my bird so violently that I thought they were going to pluck him. Finally I'd had enough of the show and I stood up. Reluctantly they left and I went after my bird. An ounce short of 25 pounds, 1 1/2 inch spurs, and 5 beards; the longest being 11 1/2 inches. Fun hunt and a deserved end result. It did serve to drive home the point that you don't always have to fool the gobblers but you better make sure you do fool the hens.

Edited by Mike Belt (02/01/13 07:42 PM)