Friday the 13th, A Lucky Day For Me and A Unlucky Day for an OLD MONSTER Gobbler!

As I have been lucky enough to do for many days this spring turkey season, I took a vacation day Friday the thirteenth and travelled back to Greene County Alabama for another 3 day turkey hunting trip. And, I will tell you that this one was worth the cost of a tank full of $4.00 gas! I had a very productive weekend of hunting and the Gobblers must have thought they were “Goblins” cause they were sure howling out some big time gobbles all around our lease, fighting each other, and strutting the logging roads all around the property!

On Friday morning, I greeted the dawn on a high ridge overlooking a 200 acres “cutover” that the hens are drawn to for nesting sites and the gobblers were sounding off everywhere trying to persuade the hens to come watch them strut. I heard six different Toms and loving the challenge of another duel with an old bird who had left me crying at the alter of a shotgun wedding a couple of time before this year, when he gobbled, I just had to go try and coax him into losing his head over a sweet girl. It has happened before! I decided that a little variety was in order so I grabbed a jake decoy and started toward the gobbler who was only one hill top over and was commanding respect as all but, one other gobbler ceased to gobble in the general area he was sounding off from. I was able to make it to a small road that is one of his strut zones and stick the jake decoy up in a sandy spot. After hiding well, I sent a soft yelp toward the old gobbler and he blasted a response right back! I was hoping he would come close enough to see the jake “interloper” standing in one of his favorite strut zones and come charging down the road to attack the jake. However, he never crested the hill where he would have seen the decoy and he slowly worked his way toward a big hardwood bottom with each gobble marking his retreat from my location.

Disappointed, I decided to stop that madness and go elsewhere. I retrieved the jake and walked nearly a mile to the area where I heard another Tom gobbling at day break. I was able to find him and he did gobble at my yelps a few times but, he too had retreated from the hill top in the cutover to a hardwood section of woods off of our lease. As I walked back to my truck for a mid morning break, a crow sent out a sharp call and was answered by several other crows and a gobble from the woods below where my truck was parked. I eased down in the woods past my truck and this old gobbler seemed eager but, after a dozen or more gobbles, a hen apparently found him and he went silent. I enjoyed a short break in the hunt with some Gator Aide G2 and pack of “square nabs” ” and pondered my next move.

The morning was weather perfect, the gobblers were active, and I was thoroughly enjoying the fact I was out in the woods away from work and everything else just enjoying the freedom of the spring woods! I decided to do some scouting around our lease and slowly traveled the property roads, looking intently to try and catch a gobbler strutting in a field or down a logging trail that I could drive by and stalk back to for a “set up and yelp” session. The lower end of the lease had been clear cut, bulldozed and wind rowed last spring so none of us had paid it much attention so far this spring, so I decided to “check it out” .

The deer hunters had planted several food plots last fall for the deer and I knew of one where I had killed birds in previous springs when there was a nice stand of timber all around it. Now, it was sitting on an open ridge in a clear cut where you could see a half mile in several directions except for the direction of the access road that had recently been reworked by a bulldozer and when I drove down it and rounded the curve to the food plot, I interrupted a fight between three long bearded gobblers who stopped their bout and took off in separate directions running low and very fast !. I decided that to be a good bet for an afternoon hunt and about 4 hours later, after a lunch break in town, I parked down the road from the food plot far enough away to be able to slip up to the field using the available cover and the wind which was blowing strongly with gusts over 25 mph according to the local weather reporter.

When I got near the food plot, which was planted in a short stalked variety of wheat that had matured and dried, which was attracting the turkeys to come eat, I approached in a crouched stalk mode and it paid off when I got to the curve in the road. There were three gobblers in the field and they were engaged in some sparring and spurring bouts, chasing and jumping up in the air kicking at each other like some kung fu fighters in feathers. I dropped to the ground and crawled away from the food plot since there was no cover to slip into a position for calling or shooting at them. Plus, I still like the challenge of calling the gobbler to the gun, and was a bit disappointed in myself for resorting to the use of a decoy on the morning hunt.

I found a spot about 15 yards back down the road where the dozer has pushed off a drain ditch and there was some good bushes to offer cover and the sun was behind them allowing for a good shade cover in an otherwise sunny area. I got settled in and sent a plain yelp toward the food plot. I waited for a gobble in response but, got none, 10 minutes later I yelped again a littler louder since the wind was blowing toward me from the field and I was not sure they heard my first yelp but, again no response. A little impatient and frustrated, at 5 minutes I sent a loud yelp with a couple of sharp putts on the end and was disappointed with again no gobble and no turkey coming down the road. As I sat for the next 10 minutes trying to decide my next move, I saw a flash of red, white, blue and black as a turkey came charging down the road in a flash and threw on the brakes about 15 steps from me, breaking into a full strut.

Only problem was he was so fast, my gun was still in my lap! in a split second, I made the decision to make the shot and started an extremely slow rise of the shotgun. When I nearly got it to my shoulder, he noticed my movement in the shadow and came out of the strut. However, his Friday the thirteenth just took a very unlucky turn as I snapped the gun to my shoulder and sent a load of numbers fours to him. He was so close, I was able to see the shot cup hit him in the side of the head, along with that swarm of “Federal fours”. I kept my seat and watched him flop a little and when he was done I went over and checked out his spurs which is the first thing I do on every long beard as that is, in my opinion, the true indicator of a trophy tom. When I got a look at the 1=3/4 inch spur on one leg and the broken, but still 1-1/2 inch spur on the other leg. I let out a scream of my own! After all, it was Friday the thirteenth!

Saturday morning I killed another nice Gobbler with a 10 inch beard and 3/4 spurs which made my 4th bird of the season so it is time to be particular about my final bird. Saturday afternoon, I passed on a couple of two year old Toms that I called to the literal end of my gun barrel. I could have swung the barrel and hit one of them in the Head! I had another gobbler come into the food plot but was unable to determine that he was indeed a good gobbler until he had walked out to a distance that was a bit far for a clean shot.

On Sunday morning, I had two big jakes to nearly step on me trying to find “the hen in the bush” ” I was hiding in, and I had two grown gobbler respond 15 to 20 times but, not come in for a closer look. I guess the figured two of their kin had lost their heads the previous two days and no sweet hen yelps were worth dying for, even on Friday the thirteenth weekend!

Check out the spurs on that old gobbler that I have posted!

I am getting lots of big gobbler kills reported and hope you enjoy the pics of those on the outdoor sports photo section!

Send me an email and I will get that picture of you and that gobbler posted! postoakman@gmail.com

Until next week!

~Postoak~

Good Friday was Just That In The Turkey Woods!

Good Friday found me off on another day of vacation chasing those hard-headed gobblers in Greene County. At daylight, I was in position to hear no less than 4 gobblers on our lease and a few more on the adjoining property. They were all greeting the day as the absolutely stunning full moon of Easter was slowly setting in the West and seemed to almost outshine the sun that was chasing it from the East horizon. Just for the heck of it, I gave a couple of owl hoots to see if any other gobblers who had thus far failed to partake in the cacophony, would join in the noise making.

After hearing no additional gobblers sound off, I started down the hill on a small logging road and less than 200 yards from the truck, I bumped three turkeys from their roost. Two of them I got a good look at and could have shot one easily from flight but, I just don’t believe in that way of taking a bird, even in a less than great season as I find myself in. The racket they made, breaking pine limbs and cackling wildly caused the other gobbler who was another 300 yards down in the bottom, who had been gobbling good and was my intended target, to also go silent. I stood there for awhile waiting to see if he would gobble again and not hearing from him in the next 10 minutes, I decided to punt and go to another bird who was next in line.

This however, required me to go back to my truck and unload my four-wheeler due to bad road conditions over the next two hill tops toward the general vicinity of the gobbling bird. When I got over to my intended stopping point, most of the birds had flown down and the gobbling was rapidly diminishing, partly due to their locations in various bottoms that muffled the gobbles but, mostly due to hens who had already made it to them or had communicated they were on the way. I decided to just keep my noise down and slowly make my way along one of the small internal trails to get down to a large bottom where I was almost certain that one of the gobblers had been when he gobbled from the roost at daylight.

I slipped down to a small green field the deer hunters had planted in wheat and it also had some crimson clover that was “heading out” and I have found turkeys to be fond of it when it blooms out like that. The woods on the left side of the field were mostly hardwoods and behind them was the open bottom so I started looking for a spot on that side. The first tree I threw my camo cushion down at was centrally located and was a great cover spot.But, before I sat down, I noticed a small game trail coming out of the bottom and decided the turkey, if he came to the field, might come up that trail so I found another tree about 10 yards to the left and although not as good as the first one for concealment, I figured it would “do”.

I sat there about 30 minutes just letting the nature settle in around me and blot me out of wary eyes that could have seen me enter the field. At 7:45 a.m. I gave a short, plain hen yelp on my Woodhaven Red Wasp mouth call and got an immediate strong gobble from the open hardwoods off to my left at about 150 yards. I did not respond and waited for him to make the next move, only he said nothing more. I had decided to not call much and stuck to that for the next 15 minutes watching for the gobbler to appear. I gave another short yelp followed by two sharp cuts and his gobble blasted off the end of my call! I made up my mind at that point to wait him out and he did not gobble anymore.

After another 45 minutes, I noticed movement on the small game trail I had first thought of sitting at and there he was! He literally glided out in the field and broke into a full strut no more than 10 yards away. He let out a pfffffttt…ummm and shuddered in a drumming motion that I am sure he had used before to make the hens swoon and squat at his feet! He came up out of the strut and looked around as if to say “where are you at hen?” Only then, did he give a suspicious look my way but, thanks to good camouflage clothes and years of experience, I had my gun in position and was a millisecond from the trigger squeeze. He gave that little “putt” as if to say OH NO! but, it was too late. His next thoughts must have been “why can’t I pick my head up?” as it was laying on the ground and he was furiously beating the ground with his wings trying to take flight for an escape! I walked over to him and ended the commotion with a quick “twist” to “relax him”. It was 8:45 on good Friday morning and it was a real good one for me. Bird number two was a nice 20 lb gobbler with a 10.5 inch beard and 1 inch spurs. He was most likely a 3 or 4 year old and was plenty sharp enough on most mornings, just not this one! As I cleaned him later that morning, I found several shotgun pellets in his lower breast that were completely healed around from an old encounter with another hunter. When I find that, I know that I have been diligent, and a little lucky, to outsmart an “educated Tom”. That’s Him in the photo at the top!

I am getting some good reports from hunters around central Alabama and other locations from Florida to Tennessee that the gobblers are getting vocal and hens have started nesting so it should just get better until season runs out for us on April 30th.

If you take a big gobbler, send me a picture and I will be glad to post it with your permission and name on the Outdoor Photo section here at the Advertisers web page! It is easy, just send it to postoakman@gmail.com and I will handle it!

Good Hunting!

~postoak~

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Hello Norman Bates, I Have Met your Kinsmen Gobblers!

As a child, I watched with intense scrutiny and concern the movie “Psycho”. An old Alfred Hitchcox suspense-horror film in black and white who’s main character was a man by the name of Norman Bates. Now Norman Bates had a demented side that caused him to exhibit some psychotic behavior at times. I don’t recall how many folks he murdered in the film, but I do, along with most everyone else, remember the horrific shower scene where he stabbed to death the young hotel guest at his mother’s hotel. It made a big impact on lots of the kids and youth in my generation and we coined the term “going Norman on you” to describe how bad we were going to beat up a buddy by just “going crazy on them.”

Well, it didn’t take long before the Norman Bates description got tagged on to some of the animals we pursued that proved themselves very unusual in behavior and not acting like the other males of the species we were hunting. The term was a mixture of total disgust that the animal would not come in range for a shot, or do the exact opposite of what the other animals were doing. This disgust was also sprinkled with a little bit of respect for the survival instincts that made that particular animal, mostly old gobblers and trophy bucks, almost impossible to kill. We have all faced our “Norman Bates” in the woods and the score has usually gone in his favor. We do “tag one” every now and then and that is what we live to hunt for.

For the past few Springs, A couple of my nephews and I have leased 1200 acres of land in north Greene County for turkey hunting and found the place to be well stocked with birds that I can only describe as direct descendents of Norman Bates ! This year, one of my nephews has killed two birds, both by woodsmanship, not by calling them in, but sneaking up on strutting toms. I have taken a two yr old tom that acted as wary as most 4 yr old trophy toms would in other locations. It took me four hours and three strategic moves to finally get him to mess up and get too close “looking for the hen” who refused to answer his gobbles or show herself. These turkeys are so wary that we rarely see a hen or hear one yelp or cackle. they will mostly just cluck or putt a response to your calls but, stop doing that after and initial few minutes.

The gobblers do gobble back at your calls but every last one, even the young ones, will “hang up” at about 100 yards and gobble at you repeatedly trying to get you to come to them. They just will not come in gun range answering a call in 99% of the cases. I did notice they got a little bit less wary later in the season last year after the hens had started to set the nest so I am placing my hope in that happening again this year toward the end of season. Last weekend, I decided the strategy of the day would be to get “old school” with them and severely limit my calling, call with a small friction call only and limit most of my calls to clucks, putts, and purrs.

Friday morning I awoke to rain pouring outside my window but, got on out to the lease anyway with some optimism about hunting in “wet day mode”. As a child, my dad explained how turkeys like to get out and walk the logging trails or visit small green fields so that was the strategy for the day. Unfortunately, the turkeys did not move, gobble, or even breathe from what I could tell on Friday. Saturday Morning, I again woke to rain pouring outside even after it had cleared off in West Alabama the night before. The weather did clear some around mid morning and I started to hear some gobbling, especially in response to some thunder in the sporadic showers that moved through until around noon. I sat a green field on Saturday afternoon from 4:30 until 7:00 and did not hear a peep.

Palm Sunday morning with a mix of guilt and remorse for “backsliding” and missing church on a Palm Sunday, I was standing on a beautiful hill top well before daybreak thanking God and asking him to forgive my turkey hunting sins. At first light, I heard six different gobblers greet the day and struck out to hunt a location on the lease that I had not yet hunted this year. I hiked over a couple of big hills and into a large open hardwood bottom that was beautiful! I decided to just sit and listen quietly for an hour or until a tom turkey gobbled in close proximity to me. After and hour of hearing nothing, I started out with some very light clucks and a sequence of feeding purrs with a light cluck at the end of each to mimic the sounds I have often heard feeding hens make as they travel through the woods foraging. I would also make it a point to move leaves in a swishing motion to mimic the sounds of a hen scratching back leaves to find food on the forest floor.

Many times, this purring and leaf moving had brought a gobbler in silently or he came in drumming which is great to alert me of his whereabouts. After close to another hour of this activity, with only a cackle and yelp from a passing hen that I still did not get to see, I decided it was time to move. Before I moved, I did decide to break out my mouth caller and give a few yelps since the friction caller was just not getting it done. I started with a plain hen yelp at medium loudness and got an immediate gobble from a turkey that was over the hill in the next hollow. I decided I would cut the distance to him, so I jumped up and ran across the bottom to a brush pile about 200 yards from my previous location. I found a big red oak with some bushes near the base and sat down in a well concealed spot where I had a great view of the transition area I figured him to walk through. A couple more yelps and he gobbled much closer and it was easy to tell he was coming my way. However, like all his kin, he locked up at a hundred yards like he was right on cue.

I was determined to not give him the satisfaction of any more responses, so he started to double and triple gobble, demanding the hen that he heard to come out and walk to him. All I could do was to see if he would let his curiosity, and me, get the better of him. He finally moved into about 75 yards and I could catch glimpses of him strutting back and forth, catch glimpses of his old red and white head fly forward when he blasted out another gobble and hear his loud drumming. He stayed out in front of me doing that for more than an hour and all I could do was watch from my hiding spot. Then he broke out of his strut and started my way, I thought to myself, I got you now! But, he stepped out of view and after 20 minutes of agony from holding my gun to my shoulder and being totally still, I relaxed back against the tree exhausted, and ticked off.

I sat for another 30 minutes and then decided to send out one small cluck. It was immediately answered with an emphatic gobble from him and he had moved up the other side of the bottom and was now a hundred yards behind me. This gave me enough room to reposition and I figured to call him back with some soft clucks. He came back to the end of the huge blown down tree I was sitting on the other side of and I could catch a glimpse of him when he gobbled. He was so close I cold feel his chest rattles when he blasted out the demanding gobbles but, he would not step around the brush top for me to have a shot. Nothing more I could do but wait him out and see if he came around the end. After another 30 plus gobbles, he went silent and walked off, I knew he would not respond to anymore calls so i sat there for another hour or more hoping he would mess up and slip back in silently.

I looked at my watch and it was ten minutes after one o’clock. He had first responded to my call a little after 8:15 and we were both tired. I guess you could call it a draw, nawwwwhh, whipped again, in the spring woods. Some hunters in the area call it Mantua (pronounced man-che way) Madness since that is the closest cross roads community to the property. I call it Norman Bates’ world, home to psycho gobblers who just “ain’t right”.

I am looking for a new lease somewhere else next year! Anybody who wants to lease some turkey rights just send me an email !

Any of you guys that do kill a nice bird and want to have the photo posted, send it to me! postoakman@gmail.com

Until next week, Hope you get the opportunity to find a big dumb turkey in your sights!

~postoak~

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