Looks like the weather may finally cooperate toward the last of the season and if your season has gone like mine, you could use a break! This morning, I decided to go another round with them S.A.L.T. birds over in Dallas county and I was rewarded with some fairly decent gobbling activity at daybreak.
The hunt today went like this, after hitting the alarm clock snooze button more times than I should, I rolled out at 4:18 and hastily threw on my clothes, stepped in my Merrill’s and trotted out the door intent on making up some time to try and greet the daybreak from a Hill top in North Dallas. Well, so much for that plan since I was about at Burnsville at the time I should have been standing at a listening post watching the gray fade to green for another beautiful “Bama” spring morning.
Since I was late, I decided to stop of for some coffee (now) and gatorade (later) and I gave up on the first light approach. Instead, I decided to slow down, enjoy my Monday morning vacation day and slowly work my way across the club’s dirt road stopping a few times to listen for a gobbler on the way over to where I intended to hunt. Of course there was no one on the whole 4600 acres but me so I felt like I could be choosy and just try to strike up a gobbler from my truck. Well on my second stop, I turned the truck off and stepped out on the dirt road letting fly a loud crow call from my old Eddie Salter crow caller. The gobbler’s response felt like it would blow my cap off! He so close I thought surely he would see me and it was just a shock gobble and he would most likely fly from the roost as a “get away”. I just stood there a few more minutes and he resumed gobbling at some “real crows” so I slipped away from my truck with my gear and tipped down a small logging rd over to the left about 40 yards and started a slow pace toward his gobbles. Then another gobbler joined him and the gobbling got more rapid in pace and was a good as I have experienced this season. I only slipped about 60 more yards and found a good hiding spot before letting them know I was there. I gave a soft yelp and they stopped gobbling. Oh great! I thought, these two are as call shy as all the other ones on this place so I just sat there for about 20 minutes looking for them to show or gobble. Gobble or show is a routine that many of us “play” as I am scanning intently for that first glimpse, I am also hoping to hear a fresh gobble, closer than the last one. Well, This time I saw that white crown at about 120 yards across the open woods that had been select cut and I watched him strut around in an opening. After a few minutes, I sent a couple of sharp clucks and he gobbled an immediate response as did the other gobbler that I still was not able to see. Something else I saw, was brush piles and tree tops between us that were going to be a problem. Well, I watched the two Toms strut and gobble for the better part of an hour but, since I knew my position was blocked by brush, I had to just sit tight and hope they walked off so I could get up and move to a more open area where they would not get hung up on their approach. when I felt sure they had left the area enough for me to move, I eased on down the logging road about 50 more yards to a spot where they would be able to walk to me with no obstructions. The only problem was, I sat there another hour doing some light yelping and clucking but, not getting any response. I thought they must have seen me move so I will just wait until they gobble to move or say anything. After another hour went by, I tried a light series of calls and they answered but, were over 300 yards away and despite them answering my calls each time over the next 25 to 30 minutes, they continued to leave. I decided to do the same.
When I was working them earlier, I had heard another gobbler sound off from on top of a hill across the road so I trekked up there and slipped up to where I could see a nice green field but, he was not there. I walked across two more hills and hollers before giving up and the wind was blowing so hard it would have proven difficult to hear one anyway. I walked back to my truck, drove on around to the section I had intended to hunt originally and off loaded my four wheeler. One good thing about a windy day is that it covers the sound of a four wheeler so I decided to ride and listen and I covered several miles of trails, stopping to listen and give some crow calls to locate a gobbler. The S.A.L.T. was beginning to show again and not a gobble was heard by me for the rest of the morning. so I loaded my four wheeler for the ride back home.
But, I decided to try the two gobblers from early that morning again,so I drove back around to where I had heard them and slipped off down the closest trail to the right and around to a small clover field that was planted on a sandy hill side. The clover was sparse and I was disappointed but, it was the closest spot for my tired legs so I sat in the shade on the back corner so I could watch the log lane. I thought about taking a nap but, It was near lunch and my breakfast was long gone so I decided to yelp about 15 minutes and wrap it up. On my first yelp, Not a peep… I thought, I am wasting my time but, since I walked down here let me give it a few minutes. Five minutes later, I made a couple of sharp cuts on the mouth call and the gobblers both answered from down under the hill! After another yelp and response I could tell they were coming up the log lane from the bottom of the hill. My stomach growled, my throat was dry as “powder-house” and I was just about ready to forget about it, when I was delighted to hear that unmistakable sound of a gobbler drumming and then, the gobbler stepped out at about 40 paces and made a few more steps and a couple of drums. Then he stopped and stuck his head up as if to ask my approval and I gave it to him!
I never saw the other gobbler but, at that point I was just glad to have one on the ground. As I walked to the truck, I found myself reciting, “season winding down, number 3 on the ground”. It has been a tough one and I am usually glad to see it end since I hunt too hard when I don’t have a limit. But 3 is not too bad..
I served my wife, kids and granddaughter fresh fried turkey “fingers” for supper tonight. All in all, not a bad day to be an old turkey hunter..
Turkey hunting can really try your patience so I am in awe of those who take a turkey with a bow. The hunter in the photo at the top of the article, Russell Aradine, not only achieved that feat, he took that turkey with a traditional bow and arrow, all home made, stone point, native American style! Now that is some patient turkey hunting and some great bow skill! Thanks for sending in your Photo Russell!
Winding down, three on the ground..