2014 Turkey Season was a Good One!

Postoak with a late season gobbler in 2014 ~postoak~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today wrapped up my last hunt of the spring turkey season and I must say this season was a good one for me. I took 4 Alabama Gobblers and a huge Kentucky Gobbler. The highlight of the season was my grandaughter taking her first gobbler in a very exciting hunt where we were over-ran by 9 or 10 birds with about 6 or 7 of them being some very agressive Jakes who were fighting with the big gobbler as he “slugged” his was up the hill to our position. Even after she shot him we found that he had a feather from one of the other birds clenched in his beak when we inspected him!

There were also some great stories many of you sent me or posted on FB that were extremely enjoyable and showed some great turkey footage from around the country of gobblers showing off for the camera and doing some “kung fu” moves on decoys and each other as they came to the hunters for the “final show”. My nephew killed a great mulitple bearded bird that he has sent to the taxidermist and I have my grandaughter’s in the freezer awaiting transport to Capps Taxidermist over in Demopolis. Other gobblers I have clipped feathers off for the NWTF Jakes Day event we will have in Fort Toulouse this June.

The Jakes event is a great one to introduce kids to the sport of hunting and to the great work the NWTF and it’s volunteers around the country do each year to benefit all wildlife, not just the wild turkey. I am always pleased to see the enthusiasm exhibited by all the young folks who come out each year to enjoy the event. We are looking for event sponsors who would like to donate to make the event a success again this year. The NWTF donations are tax deductable as we are a 501 C3 organization dedicated to conservation and preservation of wildlife and the hunting heritage. Please email me if you want to know more about the event or how you can donate- postoakman@gmail.com is my email address and i would like to hear from you!

Another organization that is working to help improve Alabama’s wildlife is the Department of conservation – http://www.outdooralabama.com/hunting/ Commissioner Gunter Guy, Deputy Commisioner Curtis Jones, Director Chuck Sikes and Ray Metzler, the acting Chief of the Wildlife and fisheries section have a number of updates on activities they have underway to improve our hunting future. Check out the information that have to make you a better informed sportsman in the great Alabama Outdoors!

This old Gobbler is "resting in the clover" as his season is over. Mine too! ~postoak~

 

 

~postoak~ OUTDOORS

Turkey Season is Almost Gone!

 

Season's Best Alabama Gobbler taken by my granddaughter! ~postoak~

The 2014 Alabama spring turkey season  will be history in 10 more days, now I am always sad to see it go but, this one has not been one of my best so I can live with it!

On the plus side, I got to enjoy a new tract of hunting land that is 4600 acres of pretty fair property. The down side was the timber company thought it was a good piece of logging land and they stayed on it the entire turkey season making a lot of noise and destroying things as the most often do. But, everybodys got to make a living and I know paper is a very vital commodity so I just live with it and get along with them.I met some good fellow hunters who were nice guys to help me learn the “lay of the land” and of course the best part of the season was I called in my granddaughter a big gobbler for her first turkey! Although that one is going to cost me over $600. to get the big tom mounted so she can have one like “her pop pop” has mounted in the den.. Well, maybe she will still have it long after I am hunting those “gobblers in glory” and remember with fondness the great experience we shared that perfect spring morning!

Another good thing was I got to take a couple of gobblers, so far just one in Alabama, a feisty 2 year old who came in gobbling and strutting like the king of the spring woods he was trying to become. The gobbler I took in Kentucky was an old 4 year old 27 lb heavy weight with one broken spur and another one that was an inch and a half of sharp, fighting tool. He came in slow and proud in a full strut that he would not break out of even when I tried several times to get him putted up for a clean head shot. I finally took a focused aim and laid him low without doing any unintended damage so I was very happy to have my Kentucky trophy for the year. The 2 year old that I called in the last monring there was fun to make gobble and I took delight in making him gobble many times as he answered every cluck and purr I gave, even when he was 10 yards away!

Well, If my season stands on what has already gone by, that is ok. But, who knows? I will conitnue to get out in the spring woods a few more days then sit back and wait for 2015. I can do it!

~postoak~

Kentucky Gobbler Hunt was Great!

 

I had a great hunt in Kentucky, bagging this big opening morning Gobbler! ~postoak~

 

This past weekend I traveled up to west central Kentucky to hunt those big bluegrass gobblers and they did not dissapoint! A good friend of mine, invited me up again this year and since I had a couple of great hunts up there in prior years, it was an opportunity I could not say “no” to! We drove up on Friday to scout the tract a tille that afternoon and set up a couple of blinds since most of the tract was large corn fields that had been harvested last fall and had stubble stalk coverage since the spring green has not started up there yet. The trees were still bare and the woods on the tract were very open, old growth hardwoods that you could see 200 yards through in most places so there was not much chance of slipping up on a gobbler in his “strut zone”.

Saturday morning, the Kentucky turkey season started and the gobblers were blasting out their calls all across the farm. I heard 10 gobblers on the farm and 3 or 4 more on the adjoining property as the day broke to a clear, warm and somewhat windy day. With all the gobblers sounding off from the roost, I decided to give them time to get on the ground and then I gave a call with my Woodhaven Red Wasp diaphragm call and it got immediate replys from 3 eager toms. From 6:15 to 7:20 I called, they gobbled, but no one wanted to commit and come see what my “little Alabama hen” looked like. I had a big gobbler to make his way in behind me down in a hardwood bottom and he got close enough to see but, never presented a “100% shot” and he walked on by and exited the way he came in, back down the hardwood hollow.

About 30 minutes later a gobbler came out on the ridge in the corn field over to my right and broke into a strut. I snapped off a couple of loud cutts and he blasted back a booming gobble! He slowly made his way along the ridge and over to the ridge in front of my set up. I had an Avian x hen and the little “Funky Chicken” decoys set at 35 steps from my hiding spot and he stood about 15 to 20 yards out from them and gobbled repeatedly. I guess he was trying to get the hen to come to him, and while he was in easy shot distance, I was enjoying his gobbling and strutting performance too much to cut it short! After about 20 minutes, he slowly strutted on in to the hen and I was hoping to see him attack the little “fake jake” but, he just walked past him and up to the hen. He stood at her side and drummed, beat his wings on the ground and did a few wheeling turns for her before he decided to do his impression of a statue. After he stood absolutely still for about 5 minutes, I decided to end it and sent him a couple of loud putts in hopes of getting him to stick his head up but, he stayed frozen in the strut!  I said “ok” and sent a load of 4 shot downrange to him and he hit the ground without even a kick or a flop!

I don’t like to shoot a gobbler in a full strut since it is easy to damage the beard or the breast meat but, my shot was a good one and just slapped him in the head and neck for an immediate “smackdown”. The 4 year old gobbler had a long sharp spur on his left leg and the one on his right was  broken so badly it was not worth saving. He weighed a whopping 27 lbs and had a 10.5 inch beard that was thick and sort of paint brush style. A really nice Kentucky gobbler!

On Sunday morning, the weather was warm, cloudy and the gobblers were all silent. It was amazing, given the number of birds we had heard the pervious morning, but that is the way turkey hunting goes some days. I decided to travel across a couple of the large fields to sit in the woodline on the east side of the property where I had heard several gobblers the morning before. About 6:30 I did a fly-down cackle a few loud cutts and finished with a hen yelp. I got an instant gobble back from across the fence line and down in the woods. Then I heard some jakes yelping that horse sounding call and a poorly assembled gobble so I was not surprised when 2 big jake gobblers came up the hill and nearly stepped on me as they walked out of the woods. They walked out to my decoys and looked them over, then started to scratch and feed around them, like they were just looking for some companions. They stayed out in the field for more than an hour and would look my way when I yelped but seemed at ease so I did not let them inhibite my hunt.

About 7:40 I got a gobble response and he started closing the distance to me pretty quickly gobbling fervently as the distance between us closed. Then I saw his head pop up over the ridge and I thought about taking the shot since he was only 10 yards away. But, I wanted to check out his beard and spurs since you only get 2 gobblers in Kentucky a year. I found him to be just a loud mouthed 2 year old with about a 6 inch beard so decided not to shoot him but, I had a blast making him gobble over and over as he walked around my location. He then got frustrated and jumped on my little Funky Chicken jake decoy and beat him all the way down to the ground by kicking, pecking and wing slapping! Then he went to the hen and pecked her several times before wandering on out in the field.

A little after 9:00 I stood up to gather my decoys and end the hunt when I saw 2 long beards running flat out toward my position so I knelt back down and watched them come on in. At about 75 yards, they abruptly stopped, looked up at the decoys and then hit the woods. Apparently they had seen that game before! I gave them around 15 minutes, hoping they would come back out in the field and when I yelped both of them blasted back a gobble! Seeing the situation as not hopeless, I gave a few more light calls and they answered each with single and double gobbles then, they came back to the field but, they would not come on in. My cell phone went off at 10:00 and I had to call it a done hunt and left those long beards to roam around some more! But, I hope to go back in  a couple of weeks!

~postoak~

 

Gobblers are Starting to Peak When you can Find a Clear Day!

 

My Grandaughter is all smiles toting a big gobbler this past Saturday! ~postoak~

 

The gobblers are getting very active and some hens are starting to nest as the first peak of the spring breeding season is going well in most of Alabama. Hunters that I communicate with via email and face book are showing up smiling and posing with some very nice long beards and some awesome “hooks” (spurs).

I have been hearing a good many birds when I get a chance to get in the woods so long as it is not raining. I am also starting to see a larger number of single hens along side roads and fields during the mid morning which can indicate they are moving into the laying and nesting portion of the spring breeding season. From now through June be very careful about riding through the fields where there is Sage, Johnson, or other tall grass and certainly if you are bush-hogging watch out for hens nesting! Every year, a number of turkey nests are needlessly destroyed by folks bush-hogging tall warm season grasses that hens like to nest in or by riders of four wheelers or trucks who are just out “wood riding”. I enjoy riding my four wheeler but, I watch for nests and try to stay out of areas where a hen could have her clutch of eggs hidden.

The hen will generally lay an egg a day, after she is bred, and when she gets 12, she will start to sit on them and trigger the gestation period which is almost always 28 days. The poults will all usually start to pip out from inside the egg and they most often hatch within a few hours of each other. The hen has various calls, mostly purrs and soft clucks of encouragement to get the poults to work their way out of the shell and after they dry off, usually only about 30 minutes from out of the shell to dry, stand up and find “momma” who will get them all away from the nest since the smell of turkey eggs will bring predators around in just a little while.

Since the number of hens that are receptive to the advances of the gobblers will start to decrease rapidly between now and the end of the season on April 30th, the gobblers will become more vocal and get a little bit less picky about the hen that is calling to them to “come on over”. This shifts the advantage just a little bit more toward the hunter if patience is practiced and some realistic hen calling is done “just right” to sound irresistable to that gobbler who is near the top of the pecking order and is intent on passing along his genes to the next generation of wild turkeys.

This past Friday and Saturday, I had the joy of having my granddaughter, Anna Faye to hunt with me and we had a totally marvelous time in the turkey woods!  Friday morning we heard three gobblers but found that two of them were on an adjoining property across a creek and high fence so we made our way to the third gobbler only to find that another club member was also in pursuit of him so we backed off and tried to find another one but came out empty handed.

On Saturday morning our luck changed as we got on a hot gobbling bird right at daybreak and were able to slip in and set up within a hundred yards of his roosting location. No sooner than he flew down in the small green field we had hoped to reach, he was attacked by a gang of racous jakes that numbered 6 or 7 and they put on quite a show of wing beating, spurring, kicking, pecking and feather pulling! fighting purrs and loud putts rang out as the gobbler, still intent on answering my calls made his way up the hill toward our location. A hen ran in to our left and I decided to move my arms enough to “shoo” her away since she was looking at us and sounded some alarm putts.

The gobbler and his jake adversaries were so busy fighting they paid her no heed and they literally “roiled up” in front of us as we watched in amazement! Suddenly, the big gobbler ran directly toward us around the palmetto fronds we were hiding behind as he attempted to allude the jake attackers and he wound up about 3 feet from the end of Anna Faye’s gun barrel! I was hissing “shoot him!”, “shoot him!” and she snapped out of her mesmirized state and fired! Her 20 gauge rolled him over and he stumbled backwards back out in the little logging road and I told her to run and put her foot on his head and don’t let him up! Sitting there, watching her with her boot on his head and his wings beating her and the ground furiously I was so proud of the moment that I let out a shout! She was still in shock about the whole happening that she asked me “did I do good Pop-Pop-?!?

I replied that you are awesome! and we hugged and checked out her prize gobbler! He had a 10.5 inch beard, 1 and a quarter inch sharp hook spurs and he weighed 17.2 lbs! I guessed him to be a 4 year old due to his long spurs and large frame that he was noticeably “skinny”. That told me he had been so intent on chasing hens that feeding had been halted for some time.

 It was a TOTALLY  Great hunt and one that will be a great shared memory for us the rest of our lives! Best turkey hunt EVER! and that is comparing it to several hundred good gobblers I have taken or called in for others over the last 54 years of turkey hunting!

Take your kids hunting! it makes for some great days in the woods and life long memories!

~postoak ~