The "perfect" Spring morning turned into a wonderful hunting memory today.
I was running a little late, as soon as I got out of my Jeep, 2 diff. gobblers sounded off in diff. directions. I grabbed my Mossberg 835, quietly slipped 2 - 3 1/2", #4 loads into it and slunk about 60 yds. into the woods then sat back against a big Beech tree.
As the 2 gobblers sounded off several times, I clucked and yelped with my diaghram call to answer them. Things started to quiet down after about 15 min. The 1 Tom that was off to my left and sounded like he was out about 150 yds. kept sounding off longer and then fell silent. I quieted down and just sat and listened for a 15-20 min.
The first time I saw him he was at my 8 o'clock about 60 yds. out moving toward my 6. He got to a point where there were several good sized trees between us and I contorted my body around so that I could get a shot if he continued on his tack. He must have caught me moving and came to a halt with his head behind a tree. He sat there and fluffed a couple of times, meanwhile because of the position I was holding, my muscles started to shake. I blew a 3 note cluck and he gobbled once, but didn't move.
At this point, I couldn't hold the gun up in the twisted position I was in any longer and had to let the barrel lower to the ground. The gobbler must have caught sight of me lowering my gun and he started to ease away and never gave me a sure shot.
After he was out of sight I decided to walk straight away in the opposite direction and head back to my Jeep, to get some other calls, reposition myself and try calling him in again.
This time, I walked about 100 yds. off to my right, about 150 yds. from my previous position and popped a raspier call into my mouth and started my yelp and cluck routine again. Within 10 min., I heard something in the leaves about 40 yds. out at my 4 0'clock, it was 3 Jakes hot-footing it toward my 2 o'clock and disappeared over a small ridge. As soon as they disappeared, I blew a yelp at them and one of them immediately gobbled. A minute or 2 later, one of them gobbled again, but further off. After another 5 min. or so, I heard 2 shots in that direction, out about 150 -200 yds. Knowing turkey like to retreat in approx. the same direction they came from when available, I readied myself, and in about 20 -30 seconds, I saw a jake flying in my direction at about 30 -40 yds. off the ground and out to my right about 50 -60 yds. Just then, I heard hectic rustling in the leaves behind that rise that the 3 jakes had disappeared over earlier, moving in my direction. A moment later one of the jakes appeared at a full run about 35 yds. out, at my 2 o'clock moving toward my 5 o'clock. I swung on him and missed with my 1st shot. I jacked another shell into the chamber and swung the sights on my shotgun just ahead of him and touched the trigger.
He did a forward somersault and lay flapping in the leaves with a broken wing pinwheeling awkwardly. I hopped up, ran over and stepped on his throat to hasten his demise. After another 30 - 45 seconds, he lay still and I reached down and picked up a nice young 12 - 13 pound Jake in prime shape.
The fella that took the 1st two shots was walking in my direction when I got back to my Jeep. I asked him if he got one of the 3 Jakes, because I only saw 2 retreat in my direction. He said that he had "rolled" one of them with his 1st shot, but had missed with his 2nd shot. I helped him search for the bird for about 30 - 40 minutes and then returned to my vehicle to clean my bird.
This is what those hunting memories are made of and I won't soon forget this morning!
They aren't very pretty when they're dead and all of the color has drained out of them, but on the hoof, damn these birds are beautiful!