After two solid days of rain, daylight last Wednesday broke clear and frosty. Hunting partner Marty Cormier and I managed to get on a bird before fly down (he’d seen the longbeard walk up into some nearby woods at roosting time the night previous) but the tom wouldn’t play fair. Enter “The Ass” as I came to refer to turkey No. 2.
We first heard him across a greenfield and down in a beech bottom about an hour after first light. He gobbled well, had a few buddies with him and we moved in. After swapping calling stations a couple of times, he just signed off. Nada…nothing…silence. Certain that he (they?) had a couple of hens with them, we went to find a bird that would work. At the truck, I gave one last box-call series. He gobbled—from exactly the place we’d just left.
With the greenfield out in front of us, Marty and I decided to set up with a single hen decoy. I called and he gobbled. I called and he gobbled. Yet he’d never close the distance. After switching calls and pulling out everything in my vest of tricks to yank him in, I decided to shut up and play hard to get. I just knew that we had him when he gobbled on his own after 10 minutes of silence on my part. Lo and behold, he did cut the distance—quickly—but came in from behind us. I could clearly hear him drumming, but there was no way for Marty to get turned for a shot. The bird moved off—game over.
I was ready to move on, but Marty was not.
“Let’s try to get around him,” he said. “Maybe that’ll work.”
Leaving a gobbling turkey to find another gobbling turkey is pure folly on the best of days so I agreed. We struck the bird again.
This time, however, my calling strategy would change. I planned on somehow getting the adult gobbler fired up and then I’d quit calling completely.
I pulled three different box calls out of my vest and hit him hard. The bird double and triple-gobbled with every series and then I shut up. As he did before, though it took at least ½-hour, the tom closed the distance. When I heard drumming, I knew that we were in good shape. However, even though the woods were completely open, neither Marty nor I could see the bird. As per usual, the longbeard inched his way up a bench trail behind the only two beech trees that could hide his approach.
From my vantage point over Marty’s shoulder, I could see the bird. Marty could not. I whispered instructions until he finally spotted the bird step out from behind the big beech. Hammer time.
Marty’s bird was a stud (the one on the right in the accompanying photo) and acted like it the whole morning. Great hunt. The bird was an ass and I hated him from 7 a.m. until after 10 a.m. when he was shot. It’s like I’ve said—we hunt them cause we hate them. Oh, the bird on the left? Stay tuned for Part III—Gerry Bethge