Recently I hunted a tract in East Tennessee that I leased for turkey hunting this year and I left plenty impressed! The place was / is loaded with turkey! On the first morning of my hunt I got rained out until about 10:00 a.m. Finally the rain subsided and by the time I drove out to the property from the hotel I was staying at, the sun was actually peeking through the clouds!
I slowly drove onto the property and just past the owners home the road overlooks a deep mountain hollow that has two large hay fields in the bottom. IT is a very pretty scene with steep, hardwood covered hills surrounding the fields that were split by a small stream. The closest field had a large Walnut tree in the middle and the far field had 9 gobblers! All fan out, all full fans, indicating no jakes!
I got excited but the thought of traversing the steep and deep hill gave me a pause. I decided I would first go to the big “Top field” that was on the same level as me to check for gobblers there in hope of avoiding the “hike down the hollow.” However when I crept up to it all I saw was three hens about 200 yards away. I watched them for almost 15 minutes then decided the “trek to the bottom was on”. I slipped down the small road that led to the bottom and once at the edge but, still over 400 yards from the strutters, I crept into the woods and slowly closed to within 200 yards of the back field where the gobblers and several hens were feeding.
I decided to forgo using the decoys I had and instead I just found a good hiding place in hopes of making one or more of the Toms come look for the “hiding Hen”. I started with a few small clucks and a couple of light yelps, no response. I increased the volume of my yelps, no response. Finally, I made a couple of loud cutts and cackles and a hen started to yelp back at me! I had a yelping dialogue with her for about 15 to 20 minutes and then I heard a gobble off to my left! I looked across the front field and there was two gobblers in it walking my way! One was strutting and the other was just walking along behind the dominant Tom.
They closed to within 70 yards and stopped, both then strutted and twirled in the breezey Tennessee wind! They were gorgeous! Then they walked back about 30 yards and went back to pecking around at the grass. I sat and watched, feeling like if I did not rush things they would have to come see me after a while. So I just sat and did some light yelping to match the other hens who were now answering my yelps from several locations behind me and off to my right.
After about 30 more minutes, my patience looked like it was going to pay off! The strutter decided to gobble at me several times, almost like he was frustrated that I had not came on out to him and he was gobbling, spitting, drumming and coming my way! It was the type of situation you thank God you get to experience if you are a turkey hunter!
At 25 to 30 steps I putted to “stop and pop” the strutter. It worked like you alway hope for and he stuck his head up like a pose for the camera! He Gobbled and put it back up and I had the red-dot site lined up on his cheek! He dropped like a rock and the other Tom stood there for several seconds looking confused and then trotted off up the hill sounding alarm putts as he left the scene.. I checked the time, it was a little after 12 noon!
Tennessee Toms were easy on this day! I plan to go back soon and look for one of the other eight!