Today is Monday, July 24, 2017

How to fool and April gobbler

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The big, black dog and I admire my 34-minute gobbler.

I have said it many times. I am not a turkey hunter.
I have been, have killed some, a couple big ones. But I am not eat up with it. It may be, because I don't like to eat turkey, never have.
But as an outdoor writer and somewhat of a woodsman and hunter, when the season opens, I feel almost obligated to go.
In the past few years, I resisted that obligation. Crappie took precedence.
This year, opening morning, I went.
My goal was to fool an April gobbler. I figured, the best way to start was on April Fools day. So, I spent about 10 minutes preparing.
I no longer have the big 12-gauge, 3" magnum. Got rid of that shoulder killer. Rummaged around in my shell supply and found some Fiocchi, high brass #5 shells for the 20-gauge.
I have no idea where I got them but they looked good. I then "rigged" a sling for my Remington, model 870, found a couple old box calls, one I have had 50 years and my little folding seat. I was good to go.
It was still dark when I pulled into the "Professor's" long winding drive. As I waited for him to wake up, two of his friends, Casey and Chet, pulled in and we shook and howdied.
I explained that I was old and was not going to walk too far and they should hunt wherever they wanted and I would hang close to the house and barn.
(You see, I do know a little about turkeys and what they eat.)
Then, they began pulling out equipment. Big shiny shoguns that probably cost more than my truck, were followed by custom vests and decoys and things like that.
I felt slightly under equipped. But anyway, I gave the big, black dog a goodbye pat, (he loves me,), and soldiered on.
Down the road, past the barn and across the little creek. Past the small field on my right and into a neck of woods, separating two big fields, went I. Maybe 250 yards, total.
Before me was a big tree, perfectly situated for me to see two fields. I made camp. Meaning, I put my little folding seat down and sat.
I settled back and commenced to have a conversation with God. I tend to do that when sitting quietly in the woods. I did take a minute to cluck and purr and yelp, three or four times.
Then, I just sat there watched the woods wake up. I don't know where she came from. I just looked up and there was a hen about 175 yards in front of me. She was just pecking around in the grass. I figured she was about as good a decoy as I needed.
Fifteen minutes went by with me watching her slowly come closer. Then, out of the woods came somewhere between three and seven gobblers. They were about 100 yards from me. I just sat still, every now and then, purring just a bit and the old, cedar, box call. On they came, reluctantly, like youngsters heading for the principal's office.
I sat motionless. Trying to decide which one was the biggest. He was lagging behind, all by himself. After a bit, it dawned on me, they were all inside 40 yards. So I shot the biggest one.
As he was flopping around, the others all jumped on him and started flailing away.
Stupid birds.
So, quite shortly, I am back at the truck. Best we can figure, since me and the "Professor" don't wear watches, my hunt lasted 34 minutes. Not bad for a guy that doesn't turkey hunt.
When I left, the other hunters were still in the woods.
I may go again some warm, sunny day before the season closes. But right now, I'm thinking it is just about Center Hill smallmouth time. And then, there is this crappie thing, too.
So, that is how you fool and April gobbler. Hope you learned something.

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John L. Sloan, Outdoors, Sloan, turkey season
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