Today was bound to be “one of those days” and I had no idea when my alarm went off at 4:15am. I knew that I was getting up early because I was setting up in the small clear cut on my lease in Tallapoosa County that I call the Lake Lease. However, when I got settled at 5:00, I had no idea I would have to wait 45 minutes for the first gobble. When it finally came, he wasn’t where he was supposed to be and that was an omen of things to come. I waited for about 10 minutes for the bird to gobbler that should have been roosted near field 3, but he wasn’t there, or at least he wasn’t talking. So I decided to head out after the bird that was gobbling towards 6. I guessed him as being roosted in between 6 and the creek, which would have been a great place for him to be for a setup. Fortunately, the road I was walking has some thick stuff on both sides because when I got within about 100 yds of the turkey, he gobbled. I knew there wasn’t much I could do cause I wanted to get in the hard woods with him, so I just waited for him to fly down. It didn’t take long, I heard him fly down. I set my decoys up where they could be seen as well as possible and backed up and set up. He decided to put on a heck of a show for me, gobbling like crazy and eventually getting really close, but out just out of sight. He gobbled and gobbled and gobbled some more. When he was within about 75 yds, I was just clucking and purring and he triple gobbled. I realized that he was coming straight in about 90 degrees off my left shoulder, not good. I needed him to see the decoys for me to get a shot. I decided not to call anymore so he would have to look for me. He gobbled and gobbled looking for me, but never came to the decoys. Finally, he just vanished. After I sat for a while without calling, I finally did some soft stuff, them some stuff a little louder and finally some cutting and a bird answered towards 4. I assumed it was him moving that way, so I picked up my dekes and circled around as fast as I could to get ahead of him. He never answered again. This all happened before 7. I hunted for a while in 4 and then 6 and didn’t hear a thing so I got up about 10 to check all my cameras. When I got to the camera at the village, I noticed I had 600 pictures…awesome! Even better though, a bird gobbled on his own and it was 11:15. I hurried back to my truck, backed it up and got my gear and set up on the edge of the thinned out area. The bird started gobbling great. He was taking his time coming, but he was coming. A couple of times, I heard a bird gobbling across the county road as well to my right. Finally my bird got within about 70 yards, but wouldn’t come any closer, he was circling to my left, so I just kept easing my barrel following the drumming and gobbling. Then I finally saw him. He stood there at 60 yards, strutting, drumming and gobbling. I was not moving at all except for one of my feet to make feeding sounds in the leaves. He was gobbling at the leaves. Then all of a sudden, he slicked up and headed up the hill from where he came…I couldn’t believe it. I moved my gun back to my knee and lowered my hand to rest when I looked back at my decoys there was a gobbler standing right in them! I guess the other bird wanted nothing to do with the boss! He had seen me move my gun and was acting spooky and heading out of town, so I had to act quickly. I smoothly, but slowly turned and got on him as he was fast walking away and BOOM….clean miss at 25 yds! I was totally sick. I watched him sail into the trees, a little wiser than he already was. I have had encounters with the village boss bird over 3 years and he always wins! Here is a great picture of him from my trail cam!
Notice that the picture was taken yesterday at about 11:45am and I missed him today about about Noon. These are the first “late morning birds” that I have heard this year and wow, were they ready to go! I promise you, I will try him again before this weekend is over!