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Sunday Stalk

sep0667

Land of the Whitetail
Tagged out on 4th season gun tag yesterday afternoon. I have been out each weekend of the season getting set up in the early morning dark and sitting until at least noon. I've heard gobbling every sit and seen a few toms, but I have not had a single bird come into my calls or decoys. Two mornings I have had toms get fairly close, but for whatever reason they just would not commit. I went out a couple evenings to public as well after work, one of which I was surprisingly able to get on some birds. By this past sunday (5/2) and still not having had anything come in to the decoys or even act interested in response to calls I was growing quite frustrated and was starting to feel like I wouldn't tag out this year.

Sunday my dad and I set up out in a field that butts up against some timber where we have learned they like to roost. About 540 there were 4 toms sounding off and I felt like we were going to be in for a good morning, especially after 3 toms and a hen pitched down into our field. Unfortunately none came in. We sat until noon and then went and got lunch at family. I decided to go back out that afternoon and instead of sitting in blind again I was going to go after them. Only times I have previously tried this was the week prior those couple evenings on public. I figured I need to make something happen and go after them because decoys and calling from a blind is not working. I got parked and walked to the timber. I stayed on the high side of the timber and would walk into the timber a bit on the higher points, set up against a tree and call. I repeated this for about 2 hours slowly working my way through the timber. The whole time being very mindful of where I was stepping and moving very slow. As I got closer to where I knew some toms have roosted earlier this spring I really slowed it down. These are some old coal mines with mounds in them. I found where turkeys were dusting themselves on these mounds and it looked really fresh. This whole area is really ag country and not much timber, so I knew these birds had to be around somewhere, I figured either stalking is going to work and I'll run into some or I'd spook them off and not see anything. I was feeling good about atleast bumping into some with just moving slow and the wind for cover noise. I called and peeked up over the top of a mound and I spooked a hen off. I dropped back down and threw out some yelps. Immediately I hear something over on the other side of the mound in the leaves and coming my way. I quick kneel down and give some light yelps and the sound is definitely getting closer for sure. I raise my gun just as I see a bright red head pop up over. I wait a second to be sure its a tom and it disappears. I quickly yelp again and he pops up and BOOM! Lights out. I quick run up as I didn't hear any flopping and there he was. I think another tom was with him that went running off. It was about 6pm. They never gobbled once. So taking my time and moving very slow and listening was key to not spooking them out and being able to pick up on the leaves of them coming in.

After the last three springs I was beginning to think turkey hunting was not all that difficult. My first three birds I've just popped up the blind, set out the decoys, call a bit and a tom just comes charging in and attacks the jake giving me easy kills. This year has been different. Literally nothing has came to my decoys or calls and I know they see them and hear me. It was a lot of fun changing it up and getting in the timber and getting after them instead of just sitting. I still have my archery tag so I'll be back to the blind again these next two weekends.

Honestly, watching The Hunting Public youtube channel of their turkey hunts really helped and showed me what to do and gave me the confidence to go in and try it this way.

He weighed 22 lbs, I forgot to measure the spurs and beard (they are in the freezer for now) He's the smallest bearded bird I've shot. My tom last year had no spurs whatsoever, not even nubs, so I was happy to see some spurs on this one again.

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