Had a pretty good season this year. I didn't get to watch as many die as usual but managed to tag out and my son killed his 3rd Tom of his short hunting career.
Opening morning of youth season right off the roost we had a large group of hens and a big Gobbler work into our decoys. The gobbler beat on the Jake decoy for awhile and Mayson still hadn't pulled the trigger. I told him to shoot and he whispered that he would hit the decoy. As soon as *#ck that decoy came out of my mouth he rolled him. I usually dress his bird for him but this year he wanted to do it. I handed him the knife and let him do it all by himself.
Opening morning I hunted a farm in Callaway County that usually holds a large group of Turkeys. I didn't hear a single gobble or see a Turkey so at 8am I walked back to the truck and drove 45 minutes to another farm. I hadn't even shut the door on the truck and could hear birds gobbling in every direction on the cattle farm I had permission to hunt on. I setup a Jake and hen decoy and started calling. Immediately multiple birds were working my direction. 2 Toms met up and started strutting towards the Jake decoy. But when they got around 40 yards they skirted the decoys and they started heading the opposite direction. I pulled up the 870 and luckily got a few pellets in his head around 50yds. I hunted this farm a few different times this year and kept running into a group of 6 jakes. Guess that's why the Toms wouldn't commit to the Jake decoy that morning.
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Opening wknd I went to Macon with the guy I lease from to try to get him a bird. Hunting on his farms USED to be unreal but now it has gotten a lot tougher. We started out on a 200 acre farm and heard 0 birds gobbling but could hear 2 deep on the neighbors property. We setup on the fence line and I started calling as loud as I could on the Vector and immediately they started answering every call. Before they came into view a coyote came into our decoys and got his *** peppered with #5s. The Toms gobbled to the gunshot and still were closing the distance fast. They came through the timber from 1/4 mile away and were heading straight for the Jake decoy. The guy I was hunting with thought they were spooked when they came out of strut and had their heads up (they were going to come within 20 yds to the decoy) He tried to shoot them way too far out and I watched them run right back where they came from. The wind picked up and we didn't get on another bird the rest of the day. We ate some steaks for dinner @ AJ's and then tried to roost one for the next morning. On the walk in we bumped a large Tom out of the crp and watched him run across the farm into a big 80 acre cedar patch. The next morning we setup on a crop field that bordered the cedar patch and waited. He gobbled his head off all morning but would not come out of the cedars. We could hear multiple hens calling in there with him. I quit calling for 30 minutes around 9am then he hammered right in front of us. He popped out and strutted into the decoys. Was a tank of a bird with a big beard and spurs to match.
The second week I started right back at the farm I hunted opening morning. Opening morning I didn't hear a single gobble but that morning I heard 5-6 birds gobbling off the roost. I had 2 Toms come into the field but they would not come within gun range. They def didn't like the Jake decoy which i noticed multiple hunts this year. I knew there were a bunch of birds in there but had to work a few days before I could make it back. Friday of that week I took my wife and my 1 year old daughter with me to the blind on the same farm I had been hunting. We didn't hear a single gobble off the roost but eventually 2 hens popped out into the cut corn field and I knew we were in the money. Shortly after 2 Toms strutted across the field towards our decoys. The plan was for my wife to shoot but she had my daughter asleep in her lap and we couldn't get it done. I grabbed the gun and shot one as they walked away from the decoys. My daughter never even woke up Haha.
I hunted with friends and family a few times after my tags were filled. I saw a few misses on gobblers and watched 2 coyotes get blasted off our decoys. One had a snare around her neck that she had snapped off. I'm sure we did her a favor. I only saw 4 get smashed this year so it was definitely a slow year for us. Gobbling was sporadic and the Toms acted weird all year. There are plenty of birds out there to kill for sure but numbers are way down on most of the farms I hunted. I know tons of guys who have quit turkey hunting over the last few years for one reason or another. I think as the hunting gets tougher guys start giving up and one of those guys is my dad. I filled my tags and didn't even hunt most of my farms this year. Next year should be awesome just like the last 25 years. Sorry for the long post. I don't post much but enjoy reading about all of you guys hunting experiences and kills. Good luck the rest of turkey season if your still lucky enough to be chasing them.
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