May 7, 2009
My dad and I had put in about ten days of solid hunting together, but this morning I decided to go it alone. I spent about as much time in the pouring rain this season than ever before. I knew this bird was in the area and he gave me the slip three days prior. Turned out he was in range that day, but I thought the shot looked too far, so I decided not to take it. This morning was a different story!
I roosted this bird the night before in the pouring rain….I mean it was coming down in buckets! It had been raining all week so I was used to it by now. I figured the bird would take the path he traveled three days ago once he flew down…WRONG! Instead of pitching to the ridge where I was waiting, he flew completely down the hill into the open field. I quickly gathered my gear and crept to the field edge and got set up. Through the fog, I could make out a turkey but couldn’t tell if it was a gobbler or hen. I sat for a bit pondering my next move. I knew where they were headed but I wasn’t sure if I could sneak in on them for a shot. I decided to put out the Delta hen decoy and try coaxing them my way to no avail. At this point I needed to make something happen.
All the conditions were in my favor. The rain quieted the leaves and the thick fog hid my movement for the most part. I quietly snuck along the hemlock trees which lined the field. As I glassed with my Nikon’s, I could see a longbeard feeding in my direction. I crawled to the base of a large oak tree and settled in. As he fed my way, I ranged him at 46 yards with my Archer’s Choice rangefinder…close enough! I settled the bead on him and let the 12 gauge rip. He went down in a heap! Out of nowhere another longbeard appeared and starting pummeling the downed bird. He pecked and kicked him for a few minutes as I watched. As it turned out, there were three hens, a jake, and two longbeards in the field that morning. I sat and watched just taking it all in until the rest of them walked off. What a satisfying morning! Nothing like doing your homework, sometimes it pays off!