Its time for the annual Allen Boyd Family Farm Turkey Hunt. I look forward to this hunt EVERY year. As usual, I was paired with Little Don Joiner. We hoped to continue Don’s string of big birds and win the biggest gobbler prize. Last year’s bird was my awesome double bearded long spurred boss that won the prize hands down. He is still at Murphy’s taxidermy.
I met Don at Joiner road, hopped in his truck and headed to his property for our hunt. I must remind you that Don’s place is completely loaded with turkeys. He said that his bird count was down for the year, but there were still lots of birds. We set up in a couple of little ground blinds where Don had seen some birds the morning before our hunt. Normally, Don and I don’t take time to build blinds because we run and gun so much, but because we were hunting some recently burned pine trees, a blind was necessary because there was no cover at all. Anyway, the birds were not roosted where Don thought they would be. Once it was time for birds to be on the ground, I kept hearing a bird gobbler off to my left, but several hundred yards away. Now remember that Don cannot hear very well in his left ear. I kept thinking, man, he must know something about what these birds do because that bird is burning it up and we are not going to him. Anyway, Don finally gave me the lets go nod and when I got within whispering range, I said,” you hear that bird tearing it up?” He said, “No, where.” I said right over there so off we went. Before we could get 100 yds towards the bird, he hammered and was really close. We moved into the pines and set up next to some little thick brush. Don started calling and the birds started hammering. They were within 150 yds and cutting loose! Within a few minutes, I heard footsteps in the pine straw and along came 4 jakes sneaking by at about 15 yds off to my right shoulder. I just watched them ease off towards the gobblers. Then, it sounded like the gobblers were moving away from us. They were still answering us, but getting further away. They stayed just on the other side of a hill. Then, all of a sudden, a bird gobbled off Don’s left shoulder, so I shifted around the tree to my left. I could see the bird about 150-200 yds through the pines. He started hammering and strutting towards us. He was gobbling at every sound we made and coming our way steady. The only problem was that Don was between me and the bird. I could only hope that he would eventually see the hazel creek decoy and work his way from my left to right so that Don was not in the line of fire. At one point, he disappeared in a little dip and I adjusted so that my gun was aimed in between a couple of bushes hoping that would be his route to the decoy. Well, I could see him strutting right towards my shooting lane. I yelped and he gobbled at 60 steps, it was awesome. When he finally stepped into my lane, he was about 45 yds and I let him have it. He flopped a few times so Don unloaded a couple of shells to be sure, not hitting anything but brush. We both ran to the flopping bird and pinned him down. Then we figured out he was a hard gobbling hard strutting jake with a 6in beard that had beard rot. I hated to shoot a jake, but this young fellow put on a heck of a show. I was proud of him. He represented the second leg of my single season slam this year so it doesn’t really matter how big he was! Unfortunately, we did not have a camera to get pictures, but stayed tuned this day’s story is not over yet.