In the area I am hunting in Oregon, you can take three turkeys in the spring. After taking my first Tom, I was committed to helping Mitch, my new hunting buddy collect his first Spring Turkey.
Mitch and I had scouted in the afternoon after I had taken my Tom and found some big Toms in a field on some property which we could not get permission. However, Mitch knew farmer in his 80s who owned land in close proximity. So we went over and gained permission (and had to hear two hours of stories about hounds chasing coyote hunts).
The next weekend Mitch and I got out again. We returned to the Christmas Tree farm where I had collected my first Oregon Turkey but did not locate any birds.
We then decided to go check our new area. Driving up we see three Toms next to the fence were we have permission. We pull in and gathered gear and headed the 200 yards up the hill to where we saw the birds. When we get set up and call nothing responds. We give it 20 minutes. Nothing. We move into some trees for cover and move up the ridge toward were we think the Turkeys were headed. Only moving maybe 100 yards or so I scratch out some yelps on my PT Tully’s Pot call. BAM ~ gobbles are heard from behind an abandoned house. After several more yelps three Toms appear behind the house 250-300 yards out and I take a knee behind a vine covered fence. Mitch is still standing. Mitch yelps on his slate and the Toms thunder back. Mitch moves to his right to get a better view and all three Toms disappear and stop gobbling. Mitch asks, “What do you think spooked them?” “You”, I replied.
“I didn’t think they could pick me out from that distance”. As we stood glassing Mitch noticed a coyote looking at us from a brush pile in-between the abandoned house and us. Mitch declared, “That is what spooked those birds.” I retorted, “I will believe it if you will.”
“You still think it was me? I think it was that coyote.” I countered “I would agree with you except I think one of us should try to be right.” We laughed and we headed back to the truck.
Even though it was nearing 10:45 AM we decided to head back out to some property owned by a Tree Farm the borders some good turkey country. I was only slightly optimistic at this point. As we drove around we looked over several spots but did not see any turkeys out and about. Driving out headed home, out of the corner of my eye, going 35 miles an hour on a dirt road, I spy three turkeys along a drive way bordering the forest management land we have permission on.
We turn around and hike in to a spot we can call down to where we have seen the Toms.
Here is our dilemma; the Turkeys on down side of a steep bank that is heavily wooded and there is a three foot wide creek between us. It is 12:30 in the afternoon and my thoughts really are just to call and see if I can get them to call back. Mitch and I call and walk forward through the woods until we hear a faint gobble. Me set up and start calling fairly aggressively. The Tom is answering almost every yelp. After several minutes we can see him fanning at the bottom of the hill. Back and forth he struts; answering every yelp but not coming any closer.
After 20 minutes of this standoff, I suggest to Mitch to back up and swing around lower on the hill and to try to call the Tom over a road that will cross the creek and get him into range. Internally, I gave this plan a 5% chance of success. But I could not envision this Tom coming any closer.
Mitch moved slowly but even being careful was making a lot of noise. I tried to cover his noise by way of some aggressive calling. I had my head turned trying to see were Mitch was when I heard a crashing noise to my front.
Initially, I thought perhaps a deer was moving through the thick forest below me. Then a colossal gobble erupted. The turkey had crossed that creek and was determined to meet the sexy hen my PT Tully Pot Call was mimicking. The Tom was moving up the hill in earnest. At 25 yards, it was between me and a lay down log. I thought that Mitch might be thinking I sent him away on purpose; to reduce competition! I decided not to take a gift like this for granted and lined up my over/under cynergy with pattern masker chokes and 2.5 ounces of #5 Heavy 13 and jelly-fide the head on this bird!
At the shot the bird dropped and I heard Mitch trucking back my way. “Congratulations and F- You”. We laughed and I told him I have killed a couple dozen turkeys and never had even heard of a bird jumping a creek like that to come to a call.
I was thankful of the harvest and of the memory. This memory shall be one I revive often!
Until I see you in the field, Be Safe, Be Good, and Be LUCKY!Dave Proffitt, Owner of FOWLEDupWATERFOWLERS.com