I meant to post my story sooner but I've been busy.
I started hunting the spot where I killed it about 10 days ago. Every morning I kept seeing a few birds and always in the same general area so I started setting up on them. They always showed up between 6:30-7:00 in the morning and always out of range. The area had a nice woods with a 40 acre hayfield between it and another small strip of woods. On the other side of that was a freshly planted corn field running to the next woods. The birds were traveling back and forth from one woods to the other and crossing all that open area when they did it. I noticed an area in the narrow strip of woods that was pretty open and allowed the birds to see from one field to the next before entering. Pretty much an hourglass funnel. Since I wasn't having much luck calling them to me I decided to ambush them in the narrow funnel. I set out a hen decoy and a strutting jake and concealed myself in a brush pile. The plan worked perfectly. The tom came from the south across the corn field and entered the strip of woods. When he popped out into the hayfield he spotted the decoys and came in. The rest is history. Good sized bird with a beard just over 10", one [email protected] 1/8" and the [email protected] 1".
Well let's try this again. I had this all typed out and went to post it and it got deleted. Sorry for the length, this is my favorite time of the year.
This turkey season has been my favorite one yet. The new season structure has given me a lot of time to just sit in the woods and relax. We are in the middle of several big projects on the house and the extra time spent listening to birds gobble has been much needed. As I mentioned earlier, my biggest goal for this year was for my wife to get a bird. She has hunted with me the last two seasons but this year she really took it seriously. She practiced with her gun a lot prior to season and felt very comfortable with it. She was always ready to go in the mornings and even woke me up first one morning!
Opening weekend we had a lot of very close calls. We had the same tom within range twice. Both times he was in thick brush and did not offer a shot she felt comfortable with. I was very proud of her for making that decision. We also had another bird sneak over a ridge to us but he disappeared just as she was getting ready to pull the trigger. The following weekend we went to a different property which was covered up in turkeys. Right off the roost we had two beautiful toms skirt the decoys and put on a great show, which Taylor really enjoyed. We moved a few hundred yards and set up on some new birds. No sooner did we get set up and let out a few calls and 3 toms came sprinting right in. She folded the largest at 12 yards. I rushed a one handed shot one of the others and missed clean. Looking back, I'm fairly certain he would have given me plenty of time had I been patient but such is life. This was her first time killing anything, which was very hard for her. Seeing the respect and admiration she had for the animal was really cool. She was on cloud nine and couldn't wait to call her dad who is an avid hunter but is battling ALS. He was a beautiful bird, 10" beard, 1-3/16" and 1-1/8" spurs and is currently at the taxidermist.
Since then I have hunted quite a bit. I have had a ton of birds in range and a lot of really close calls. As LoBrass noticed, yesterday morning I decided to bring my Winchester Model 12 20 gauge. It was built in 1913, has been refinished, and has a crack in the stock but man is it fun to hunt with. It almost felt wrong to have it out of the safe, almost. I set up on some birds early and had a close call right off the roost but they followed some hens out of range. Mid-morning I set up on the edge of a field in some thick brush and sporadically called. Suddenly I realized I could hear drumming but could not see him. this went on for 15-20 minutes when he finally cleared the field edge and offered me a 30 yard shot. The 2-3/4" #6 game load found its mark. I would love to know how much game this gun has taken over the last 107 years. One thing is for sure, it will certainly go on another turkey hunt! My bird had an 8" beard and both spurs are a little over an inch. I'll get official measurements posted soon. A couple buddies still have tags so I will be out here and there. Good luck guys and stay safe.
Im still out there. I got my regular work hours back so haven't been going weekday mornings.. I went after work on Mon & Tues with no luck. Had a hunting trip planned for this weekend but a situation came up that I wont be able to do that. I will get out as much as possible over the weekend locally. It's been really tough around here this year though. I just can't seem to pinpoint why though. Good Luck All.
Actually had a pretty good hunt this morn. About 8 had 3 jakes come by. They hung around quite a while chasing each other in circles. A bit later 3 more jakes. These were different birds with after watching them thru the binos for a bit one was a tom with about a 6-7 in beard. Couldnt really make out spurs. Thought i would take him if the chance happened. It didn't. Around 10 I had one gobbling behind me for quite a while. Some sweet purring finally brought him out. Another jake lol. After the way things have been going they should consider themselves lucky! It was good to have some action. They wont be so lucky in another week or so! I will be out in the morning again if its not pouring. I will get on the board this year! Good Luck All!
I successfully turned what should have been a "15 minute, take your pick of two 10" bearded toms" hunt and turned it into a 5-hour frustrating hunt with a big nothing to show for it.
Went out Saturday morning at o'god-thirty to set up a blind and dekes in the middle of a field. Why the middle? Because you never know what side they are gonna move on and the middle is a bit higher and dryer.
Just get set up and I hear two gobblers in the trees 300 yards away. Told myself right then I should move to that edge, where a two-track enters the field. But i didn't. Sure enough, a bit of light calling had two strutters on that two-track at the edge of the field in short order. Unfortunately four hens came along and drug them back into the woods.
I told myself I should stay put because they would be back in a bit. But I didn't. I grabbed my stuff to setup closer to that edge and just when I get there one of the toms had circled back to check out my dekes. We gave each other a shocked look, and he went along his way.
Needless to say, four hours later I hadn't seen or heard anything else.
A trip back out later that evening found 3 toms following those same four hens 1,000 yards away and two fields over.
I waited a couple of hours but they went to roost in the other direction.
I'm gonna give them the week and try again this weekend. I think we all know where I will be set up this time... obviously in the wrong spot of course.
So fellas, my primary hunting grounds are about 2 miles below Sanford dam along the Tittabawassee River. You may have heard of some issues there. Currently my fields are about 6-8' under water and it's getting deeper. Not sure if it's going to dry out in time. My secondary fields are cut off due to bridges collapsing over aforementioned and other riverways. Gonna be a tough season to close out.
A forum community dedicated to hunting and fishing enthusiasts in the Michigan area. Come join the discussion about safety, gear, tackle, tips, tricks, optics, hunting, gunsmithing, reviews, reports, accessories, classifieds, and more!