My house is situated in a tight little valley with hills East-to-West. In the bottom, we have a farm pond full of bass and eager blue-ears. I was minding my own business having a little "me-time" on the SUP, working the pond to see how many fish on consecutive casts I could get. (It was 13, but that's another story...)
I looked up the Eastern hill to admire the sunset against the freshly planted fields. There they were. Four armadillo looking things with long necks picking the freshly planted corn. The sun was hitting them just right and I could faintly see the bronze of their backs. I initially wasn't sure if I was looking at four hens or three hens and a Tom. One was certainly bigger than the others. Like a Sherman Tank of turkeys. It became obvious when he turned and flashed his tail fan and let out a gobble. He was workin' these hens up until roosting time.
I kept an eye on him as they worked the field, catching my buzz on bluegills and a giddy feeling for what 5am was going to bring. At dusk, they wandered in the woods right at the dead pine tree. You'd know the one if you saw it.
Alarm time. I was up and out by ten after five. I was pretty sure I knew where these birds had roosted, because I know these woods well and there is a grove of Pines on a hillside they seem to favor well. It was silent except for the deer that kept snorting at me all the way until 5:45. Crows started and I was getting antsy. A crow flew over and let out a caw-caw-caaaawww. Our man of the hour decided to let one out. "Awww yeah" I muttered to myself. I stuck the HS Strut Split V III diaphragm in my teeth and made my way to a good looking spot a safe distance away from the roost.
Snuggled up to a nice looking tree with some healthy poison ivy growing up it, I cleared my shooting lane from ferns, and as luck would have it, my butt was on some cushy moss, making it such a perfect spot. I was pretty proud of myself at this point. Ol' Tom gobbled again and by this time, I felt the need to enter the game with a tree yelp. He cut me off so fast, and remembering last night, I thought to myself, "this has to be the horniest bird in the county!"
I thought for certain I'd have a typical fly down-strut-show-bang-your-dead-game and back to bed by 6:30. That would be too easy. Hens. Here we go again. One flies down, two, then the third. Ol' Tom was playin' his girls. They came in my direction, he stayed treed, and they were scoping. Didn't like not seeing a sister out there and they left. Pulled a 180 and went the other way. Now our buddy flies down and hits the ground gobbling after his harem. Gobbles getting further away. OK. This is OK. I know these woods, and if I had to guess, I'd guess a few things... They will walk the gas well road because its the safe route. Then they will head to the field to get the early sun and pick the corn. If I were a lucky feller, they would be heading away from me, and maybe if I could intercept them picking through that corn to the field end, I could get between the hens and the Tom. Seamless plan. How could it not work?
|Look at those hooks|
Well, luck was on my side. I waited a bit, heard him far and away. Made my move. Just like I thought, it all came together. The hens passed me, I saw his head. I had to play with him so I let out a yelp. The hens stopped, looked up, he hammered off a gobble, strutted ten feet towards me. Gobbled again, stuck his head up, and..... BANG!
The hens scattered, and I paced out my shot. 27.
This is my best and biggest bird to date. Specs on him are:
21#/11-1/4" Beard/1-3/8" L/1-1/2" R spurs.
|He has a bit of Merriam or domestic in him Blonde markings on his center tail feathers.|