Hunting the lake lease after an unsuccessful youth weekend a couple days earlier I wanted to get a little pay back.  Yesterday I roosted a gobbler and some hens off the end of field 9 ( the place JCT and I were hunting) down near the property line.  I used my HuntStand (http://www.huntstand.com/) app to get some good yardages to where I thought he was and snuck in in the dark down the property line and set up.  A few things to note: 1. There were two gobblers, 2. I sat in a bad place in the dark and 3. It worked out ok in the end.

I was sitting down at 5:40 after picking my way in the dark.  Official sunrise was 6:50 so you could barely start to see daylight in the sky at 6:05.  Crazy thing, a turkey gobbled at 5:55 way off behind me in the dark then my close turkey gobbled at 6:00!  From that point forward, he gobbled so many times, I lost count.  Around 6:15 it was getting lighter so I started with some tree yelping on my Del Crow – Natural Addiction combo cut.  He answered every noise I made.  I wanted him to be thinking about me before the real hens.  Once the hens started talking, the other gobbler towards 9 got fired up but it was clear that the bird closest to me was the boss.  He would cut off the other birds and me every time.  There was also a bird across the creek gobbling as well.  Around 6:25 I did a fly down cackle series and some long yelping series and he went nuts.  Several times he gobbled himself out of breath.  I heard the hens fly down so I poured it to him but he stayed in the tree.  It was obvious the other gobbler was on the ground by now.  I get into a little contest with the hens and I thought he was going to loose his mind.  he finally flew down at 6:45 or so but flew away from me to the other birds.  I couldn’t believe it. If I hadn’t been unlucky and set the decoys behind some brush I bet he would have landed on them.  Anyway, I decided to be patient and see if I could coax them my way.

 

I could see them through the trees 150 yards out strutting and following the hens around.  All was quiet for a long while except the bird way off us.  Finally a hen started kee keeing and yelping a bit so I started mathcing her note for note and as I did, she got more excited and started moving my way so were the other hens and of course the gobblers were following.  This is when my unlucky choice of places to sit came into play.  Two more trees in would have been perfect.  As the hens worked past me at 35-40 yards along the creek the gobblers followed, one closer to me than the other.  In hindsight, I had a couple windows to shoot that I didn’t take because I thought they were too far.  They weren’t.  Anyway, I had to keep drifting to my right to follow them and finally got a narrow window on one of them so I took it and missed.  He took a couple steps, stopped and looked and I hammered him at 37-40 yards. 1st kill with the M1 20ga… #80 for me.

 

After I took a few pictures I was kneeling getting ready to pack up when I heard FFFT….duuuuum….of course I thought it was behind me from the turkey off us.  I looked behind the tree my gun was leaning against, no facemask and scanned….nothing….then I heard it again!  I knew it was the other way behind me so I cut my eyes and standing at 40 yards was a big gobbler.  he was coming through the fog and you could only see 50 yards or so.  I was busted, he saw me at the same time I saw him.  He putted and was leaving.  I grabbed my thunder chicken decoy and held it up in front of me and cut at him. He stopped then turned and his head turned bright red and he started my way.  I was on one knee, no facemask, gun behind me against the tree.  He was closing the distance fast.  When he got to 5 yards, I stuck the fan in the ground and tried to hide behind it to see how close he would get.  Unfortunately, he saw me and started running to my right at 90 degrees and finally flew.  In the right situation a tail fan decoy is amazing!