Robert

A long time turkey hunter since sometime in the 80's he self describes himself with a bit of humor as a friendless hunter and has been sending in pictures from his spring turkey hunts without himself in the picture as no one else is available to take his picture. He also never sent any letters other than the notes on the picture backside telling year and state of harvest.

This year Robert jumped into the digital age (rumored motivated by grandchildren) and sent in an email letter surprising us all along with digital pictures. Thanks Robert, we have come to expect your turkey pictures as a tradition each spring and look forward to many more years of your stories.

Another

Hi Guys,
Here's a photo from this spring’s turkey hunt. Last year I only had two days to hunt and was fortunate enough to get a nice tom the second morning. I blew it the first morning and afternoon as the first tom busted me and later I fell asleep and the turkeys woke me with their strutting. This year I had more time so the pressure to produce quickly was gone. That doesn’t mean I didn't make new (renewed) mistakes.

I reserved the same turkey spot as last year, the place John told me about years ago, but this time entered the farm without scouting, my first mistake. I took the same route on foot in the dark but this time got a little turned around, another mistake. I turned on my little penlight (third mistake) for about two seconds to cross a ditch and the second I turned it off I heard wings rustling in the trees across the field. I was very close to where I wanted to be so I quietly sat down and didn't put out my decoys to avoid any more attention to my presence. That was when I discovered my next mistake, no striker for my favored slate. A call that has brought me more turkey than any other.

It was about an hour before shooting time so I was hoping whatever fluttered its wings would settle down and forget about the quick flash of light before shooting time.

About a half hour before shooting time two mature gobblers and a couple of jakes gobbled their heads off repeatedly from where I heard the wings flutter. Luckily, I didn't bump them off the roost. Right before fly down time I heard a couple of hens yelp behind me and one was very vocal. All in all there were turkey all around me.

I made a couple of very light yelps and both the hens and gobblers responded. I could see some turkey moving through the brush. Two hens and a jake flew down from behind and landed in front of me within 30 yards. The mature toms flew down and went the opposite direction and the hens and jake followed them out of sight. I'm assuming the quick flash of the light spooked the turkeys to move the other direction.

Instead of chasing them I decided to wait it out because the entire turkey flock religiously used this off the road field to strut the year before, but I never listen to my own advice. I quickly relocated to the other side of the field and put out two decoys. That was my next mistake as the toms with hens (I assume the first group from earlier) went right past my first setup that I could just see through the trees. That is turkey hunting!

Between 7 and 11 am I had three different hens and one jake visit my decoys so I knew I was in a good location that and seeing various turkey movement out of range and within sight. At about 11:30 I heard a strong gobble about 200 yards away. I called a couple of times and had no response. I crawled about 75 yards closer to the gobble and put out one decoy, my next mistake. While crawling to the new spot a tom that I never knew was to my immediate left was coming into my decoys and never made a sound until he flew away at my movement. At this point a couple of more turkey took to flight but I did not move to see out of concern for whatever might be close. After a quite pause, I setup in this third spot and looked back at the decoys I left behind to see one being trounced upon by a good sized tom and he was just out of shooting range, it some how seemed appropriate for how the morning had gone to this point. It is probably due to all these turkey misadventures that I took to writing them down as I can now look back and laugh a little.

I setup again and called softly a couple of times on my diaphragm scolding my failure to bring the striker for my favorite turkey call and again didn't get a response. After about 20 minutes I heard what I thought was a turkey fly across the creek so I got ready, not really ready to shoot as by now my sense of humor had degraded into feelings of near despair as to what could go right on a day like today. Then out of the corner of my eyes I saw two turkeys approaching my decoy.

I setup again and called softly a couple of times on my diaphragm scolding my failure to bring the striker for my favorite turkey call and again didn't get a response. After about 20 minutes I heard what I thought was a turkey fly across the creek so I got ready, not really ready to shoot as by now my sense of humor had degraded into feelings of near despair as to what could go right on a day like today. Then out of the corner of my eyes I saw two turkeys approaching my decoy.

The leery toms continued to stay back and let the jakes explore my decoy to see if there were any land mines around. I remained motionless and hoped somehow things would work out as by now it seemed to me I was helpless at determining my own turkey hunting fate. Then things began to happen. One of the toms was about 40 yards out and moving in and the other was farther back and moving about. The jakes were within a few yards stumbling about not sure how to handle the decoy. At this point my anger at my amateur mistakes that plagued me all morning began to seem funny and I chuckled. That was the trigger to what would have made a great video capture. The jakes were so close they heard the chuckle and took off like the preverbal bat out of hell. The lead tom continued to come in without concern of the jakes running off. As the lead tom came within easy shooting range in one quick movement suitable for any quick draw I snatched up my shotgun, shouldered and fired in such a quick movement that from the first instant of my movement to the tom was on the ground the tom seemed to have just a flicker in his eye that something was wrong and that froze him in one spot for that split second. It was a shot that I should have had a witness for. The first tom had just hit the ground when the second tom ran right up to the downed bird and I dropped him also with one shot as things moved so fast I had not let the shotgun drop from my shoulder. I have heard of toms attacking downed birds before and this was the first that I have ever seen it. For all that had gone wrong up to this point this was the type of climatic finish for a turkey hunt that will stick with me for a long time.

What a great hunt! One tom weighed 21 pounds had a 10 inch beard and 1 1/4 inch spurs, the other weighed 23 pounds had an 11 inch beard and also 1 1/4 inch spurs. I'm assuming they were both 3 to 4 year old gobblers.

Thanks for everything. I never saw another turkey hunter and only heard one shot far off in the distance all day.

Robert

P.S. Tell John I certainly enjoy his updates on the website and I’m glad I have finally written one after all these years reading them.

Another

Robert followed up with a third tom and a rain filled turkey hunting account.

Hi again,
I was so cold and soaked through I almost didn't take time to take this picture. I'm glad it came out as I only took one.

After traveling all that way I decided to turkey hunt even though I normally do not when its raining. The combination of rain, the wet brush and I not having the right clothing all combined to make me soaked by the time I made it to my set up. Had I known it would rain the night before I would have slept in as with the cloud cover daylight was a long time coming.

Some time later, maybe a hour after light, the rain let off and I set to calling. Immediately I had an answer from an unseen tom then saw several turkey. Luckily for me that tom came right in, the only one I saw and I dropped him with one shot at easy range.

Back to the motel, changed clothes and I was home all within 24 hours from when I left.

Thanks for the great turkey hunting. Some days it just seems to be too easy making me remember some of the previous years I went for days without a tom.

Thanks, Robert

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