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Two Beards for Turkey Opener

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Two Beards for Turkey Opener

Postby Out4trout » Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:30 pm

The Season Opener
This past weekend was an opportunity to shift my body clock for 4am wakeup, with the excuse being to scout from 5am-6:30 for birds two days in a row. Woke without the alarm this morning, a quick coffee and out the door. Arriving at my turkey hunting place, the sky was still dark horizon to horizon. After hiking in and settling into my spot, the eastern sky showed a hint of glow. Perfect.

Numbers are Down
While downing a few cups of steaming coffee, the robins were the first to awake following the turkey hunters. Then a few other birds, until finally at 5:35 the first gobble was heard. Love that sound on opening morning. But this gobble was at least 3/4 mile away, and as the night gave way to dawn, only one more bird was heard gobbling. The winters of 2013/14 and 2014/15 were hard on the bird numbers. Thankfully the past winter was good, although it will take a few years for the numbers to return.

Surprise Visitor for Breakfast
Let out several soft tree yelps and the downwind bird replied. As the sky brightened further, the gobbling increased then fell silent. The boys were on the ground and henned up. A few soft clucks and yelps, then another swig of coffee. Suddenly, a noise to my right in the leaves, hidden by the trees, and in about 1/2 second a large blond coyote rushed in for an easy turkey hen breakfast, stopping no more than 2 feet from my boot. :shock: He looked as surprised as I was. I turned slightly, was going to give him some nourishing lead cheerios, but he darted away in a streak. That is the closest I have been to a coyote other than ones I have killed... and although surprised and startled, the coyote did what most will do, flight before fight and my tighties stayed white. :)

Just after the coyote streaked away, and from the same direction, a turkey hen flew in and landed in the tree beside me. Evidently the coyote had ran past her and she wanted to be breakfast no more than did my boot. Eventually the hen flew off and I made a note of where she flew. Sure enough, a Tom gobbled from the same direction.

A Bird to Work
Picked up a few text messages at 7:00 from buddy also chasing beards, a few miles away on a different farm. Relaxed, while yelping occasionally to let the boys know where the hot hen was. At 7:10, a gobble came from behind me, estimated around 100yds and closing. A few more soft yelps were responded to instantly. However, this bird was expecting the lady to go to him. I worked the Tom for the next hour and 20. He would come to around 80 yards then the gobbles would fade into the distance, this repeating 3 times. For anyone who has not turkey hunted, ya gotta try it. This interactive nature of the hunt is a huge highlight for me.

Sealing the Deal
Finally after altering cadence and volume, at 8:30, the bird committed and the gobbles were now at 60 yds and closing. By 40 yds, the rattling that you can hear in the gobble was matched by the thumping in my chest. Love and live for this!! At 40yds I finally laid eyes on him. Fantastic bird, coming in half strut. He stopped at 30 yards, now in full view, full strut and gave me a perfect gobble. I sat there watching him down the barrel and enjoyed the remaining 10 yards. Could have popped him at 30 but wanted the moment to last a bit longer.

At 20 yds I closed the deal with a squeeze of the trigger, and the bird is down to kick off the season. :D Safety on, ran over, admired the bird while sitting on him before the kicking and flapping started so the tail wouldn't be damaged.

A fine specimen of a bird, a young tom for sure, last year he would certainly have been a Jake. His Tom days were short lived. I've harvested a good number of turkeys over the years, but this is the first double bearded bird I have taken. Each hunt is unique and special and this hunt was no exception, another good memory etched.

Enjoy and respect the resource. It's one of life's simple blessings, admiring nature up close, thankful for another successful hunt.

Tom Down
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The Traditional Pose, (the same pose for every bird I have harvested)
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Ugly yet beautiful
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Double Beard
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Good luck on your hunts fellas.
O4T 8)
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Re: Two Beards for Turkey Opener

Postby smitty55 » Mon Apr 25, 2016 10:26 pm

Wow. Great post. Love the story part, well told Len. Neat double too. Gotta love it when things come together after putting the work in. Congrats

Cheers
Smitty

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Re: Two Beards for Turkey Opener

Postby Markus » Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:43 am

We got a turkey flop report...and a dandy at that! Great hunting and thanks for sharing a great read!
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Re: Two Beards for Turkey Opener

Postby Haulin Bass » Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:15 am

Congrats on your success O4T. Great post felt like I was sitting beside you with the camera :)
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Re: Two Beards for Turkey Opener

Postby Trilynx » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:51 am

Great story and a beautiful bird. I gave it a shot this morning before work without any luck. Not much gobbling and the ones that were, they were pretty far. I took a walk before leaving and found them in the next field, all 12 of them.

Steve
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Re: Two Beards for Turkey Opener

Postby C5 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:15 am

nice Len... well done!
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Re: Two Beards for Turkey Opener

Postby fatluke » Thu Apr 28, 2016 3:48 am

Great story and hunt Len.

The comment about the rattling in the gobble and your heart thumping is so true. Just a rush.
MEAT - Grind it, stuff it, smoke it.
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Re: Two Beards for Turkey Opener

Postby Out4trout » Sun May 01, 2016 9:12 pm

Thanks for the comments folks. Lots of time remaining in the season and every day fewer hens to compete with. Good luck!
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Re: Two Beards for Turkey Opener

Postby i got worms » Tue May 10, 2016 8:49 am

Cool double beard right there man!
I got 99 problems but a fish ain't one...
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