Second Bird Ever: Down

jlmustain

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Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
860
Location
Murfreesboro, TN
After baking in the sun hearing nothing Wednesday, then roughing the wind in the woods Thursday, I figured yesterday would be a good day. I'm still learning the basics of turkey hunting, so I while I get disappointed if I don't see anything, I'm a lot more tolerant of blank days since I'm just starting. I go home, write down what I've learned, and try to use the new knowledge the next time I go out. I thought yesterday would be good because it would've been a decent deer day (post-front, clear, cooler than the days prior, post-new moon, etc.), but I saw nothing and heard nothing. Slightly reluctant, I set the alarm for 4:00 am, and went to sleep last night.

When I got to my spot on some private land in Williamson County this morning, it felt the same as yesterday, and by first light, my spirits dampened a bit because it sounded the same, too. Still glad to marinate in the waking woods, I waited patiently and told myself that I was going to do what I knew to do because that's all I could control.

We just switched the sheets on the bed at home yesterday, and as we hunters all know, the bed feels best around 4:00 am, so as my mind drifted to remembering how good that bed felt this morning, and how I might should've stayed there, suddenly the boys and men of the spring woods lit up! One near the field to my left, one in front a couple hollows away, one to my right, another to my right but well past the other one. One after another they gobbled so much and so often that I took an extra moment to try to discern who was a jake and who was a tom. Once I picked out the tom, I headed his way.

I entered the woods on a trail that ran the top of a ridge. When he hit it again, I got out my pot and striker so I could give him an idea on my location. Soft yelp, gobble. 25 steps. Soft yelp, gobble. I shut up and went in 25 more paces and stood silently listening hard for struts and scratches. After a minute or so without hearing anything, I clucked and yelped softly one more time. This time he hit it so hard that the sound of his voice bouncing off the hills, trees, and logs, rattled my bones. I was so startled that I jumped a little and had to gather my senses. He must've come in on a string because he couldn't have been more the 50 yards away just down the slope in the hollow.

After spotting a good tree, I hit the ground and threw in my mouth call. This time I could hear him plainly walking in, and man, he was getting closer. When he started clucking a bit looking for me, I answered twice, and it almost sounded like he was moving away. I got a little depressed at first. Had I learned to cluck wrong? Was I still not speaking his language?

In my periphery, I saw some movement. I slowly turned my head to the left, and there he was crossing the trail. Big, beautiful, and looking for love in all the wrong places. I had spoken his language fluently, but I still have a lot to learn in the patience department.

I hit a couple more clucks to help him hone in a bit, and it sounded like he was moving away again, but I knew better this time and sat silent understanding that the man in him wouldn't give up on a little afternoon delight in the morning that easily. I saw him again, and of course he hadn't moved away at all, he was just circling back and was coming in in front of me.

All I could see was his head and neck, and because this would only be my second, I didn't want to chance him busting me or his strut making me too nervous to keep the bead lined up on him properly, so as soon as I had the shot, I took him.

At 6:17 am, I thanked God for another good morning is his woods, and for another good hunt.

Turkey #2: down
Beard: 8.5"
Spurs: 7/8
Weight: 21.5 lb

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jlmustain

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Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
860
Location
Murfreesboro, TN
Re: Bird #2: Down

Thanks, y'all! This is a week after my first bird ever. I'm so pumped. I don't yet know what's big or small, and I think that's pretty great because I get to be equally thankful for whatever I kill.
 

catman529

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Nov 10, 2010
Messages
29,472
Location
Franklin TN
jlmustain said:
Thanks, y'all! This is a week after my first bird ever. I'm so pumped. I don't yet know what's big or small, and I think that's pretty great because I get to be equally thankful for whatever I kill.
who cares what's big or small, it's a gobbler and it's your second bird ever. Congrats and thanks for sharing a great story
 

jlmustain

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
860
Location
Murfreesboro, TN
Catman, I'm learning that, and I love that aspect of turkey hunting! In deer circles, it's a different story, obviously, so it's nice to see less of that in this arena. I smell a long life hunting these thunder chickens!
 
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