Opening Day - Pennsylvania

It was the evening before our 2009 PA turkey season opened. Holly and I went to set the bind up for the following mornings hunt. We already had a blind setup but we wanted to setup another one about 100 yards to the east. We just got done setting our Ameristep Choice blind up, and getting our gear together to leave when we heard a bunch of turkeys fly up to roost. We heard at least 4 different gobblers in the roost. These birds normally don’t roost where they did, so we needed to hunt out of the back of the blind the next day.

Friday night all I did was toss and turn in bed. I felt like an 8 year old at Christmas time. When 4:00 a.m. finally came, I was ready. I knew we had a real good chance of bagging one. We scouted this area often and saw 13 longbeards and 1 jake together in the field. We arrived around 4:30 a.m. and now all we had to do was setup the decoys and wait for daylight. It wasn’t too long after daylight we started seeing turkeys pitch down into the field. Before we knew it there were birds covering us. We could see 5 different gobblers strutting their stuff. At about 6:50 a.m., we heard some gobbles behind us.

They were getting closer by the second. Pretty soon, 2 nice looking toms stepped out in the field, but they were at the blind we weren’t sitting in, and it would have been a real nice 10-yard shot for my Hoyt. We patiently watched them joined some hens. A few minutes later 2 jakes joined the action. The birds were about 125 yards away and I knew they weren’t coming in. We sat and once again watched the 2 toms and hens feed right by the blind we weren’t in. The 2 jakes did work their way toward us to about 20 yards, but I decided to pass on them.

All the birds were working their way back up the mountain. I told Holly we should close the front of the blind and hunt out the backside of it. It made sense because all of the birds were behind us. We carefully scanned the field and closed the blind. We turned around to open the other side of the blind, when something caught my attention. I told Holly I thought I heard some fighting purrs. I peeked out of the blind and that’s when I saw 2 toms fighting my strutting tom decoy. I didn’t know what to do. I knew there was no way I could open the blind enough to shoot my Hoyt through it. I grabbed the 12 gauge and slowly raised it into position. I took the end of the barrel and stuck it to one of the magnets for the windows, then slowly slid the window open until I had a clear view of the longbeards. I asked Holly if she had the camera on the birds. She said she couldn’t get on them. After doing some maneuvering, she got the camera on one of the birds. By this time, one of the gobblers were getting nervous and started leaving the area. In the meantime the other birds were still fighting the decoy. Holly gave me the green light. I had my Nikon scope right where it needed to be. I touched off and we had a super Pennsylvania opening day longbeard.

I wished I had waited 1 more minute before we closed the blind, because if I had waited, I would have had a real nice 10-yard bow shot. But it didn’t work out that way. I’m not complaining I am still proud of the bird we took. It was a 10-¼” beard, ¾” spurs, and 21 lbs. To this day we have no idea where these birds came from. It was an awesome hunt and once again I want to thank Holly for sharing it with me.

Hunter: Adam Spittler

Cameraman: Holly Spittler