First Successful Turkey Hunt

Chris Pulchny

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I have already written about taking my first deer, and since turkey season isn't far I’m going to let you all know the story behind my first turkey harvest. I had been turkey hunting for about four years and had never had a real “great” hunt or opportunity to put my tag on a bird. A close hunting buddy Nathan Coulter and I, had watched videos all winter/spring and talked to veteran turkey hunters; gathering every bit of information we could to try to make this spring different than the others and put a bird on the ground.

I had several spots to hunt that held good numbers of birds however one of them seemed to never be very productive when it was windy. Into the second week of season we started getting pounded with stout winds. On an evening hunt we decided to switch properties and hunt one that we hadn't pressured. We would hunt near a winter roost site in a low creek, bottom, and oak hollow- out of the wind. About every twenty minutes I would let out a dozen or so loud yelps on my Lynch “fool proof” box call that I still carry to this day. It was nearing the end of shooting time and I looked up on the ridge top and there was a bird silhouetted against the cloudy background it took a step and I seen a beard swing! I whispered over to Nathan that there was a “shooter” coming! I don't, to this day know what I meant by a “shooter”. A Jake at that point in my career was as good as a long beard! The bird couldn't see our single decoy from his location. So I kept telling Nathan as I shook to just “give him something short and sweet” on his slate call it was evident he was as nervous as I was. He kept squeaking out the most un-turkey like sounds imaginable but for some reason the bird liked it and he headed our direction. Then we heard something neither of us had ever heard; the bird started spitting and drumming about 45 yards out. I was clear for the shot but was using an old shotgun that was never predictable in its pattern. I asked Nathan if I should, shoot. He said let him come closer. The bird took a step or two and I asked Nathan should I shoot now? He said no let him come closer. The bird took another few steps and I began to ask again if I should shoot when my sentence was interrupted by the blast of my gun! The bird flopped and rolled on the hillside and I was on my feet ever ready to have my hands on him! I got to the bird and he had a good ten-inch beard nice one 1 ½ inch spurs and his wings showed great proof of lots of strutting and dragging them on the ground. He may have been the dominant tom in the area.

As we stood there realizing what had just happened all we could do was laugh at my long shot and Nathan's calling, we were both so nervous when the bird was coming in you would think we were making a life changing decision, and in reality we were. We got the bird checked in and registered and now it was time to tackle the task of figuring out how to clean a turkey! This was an interesting endeavor to say the least. Most of us turkey hunters breast out the wild bird and that's about it, but I wanted to keep the whole thing; for some reason! I still can't say why? All I know is that I did. We removed and preserved the tail fan, beard and spurs. Once the bird was in the freezer we headed to meet my parents for a late dinner. When we returned home I was heart broke the family dog had gotten into the garage and destroyed the tail fan, beard and the spurs were never found honestly if my little brother wasn't there the dog wouldn't have been seen again either. I don't even have a picture of my first turkey anymore I’m not even sure they were taken, the only picture I have is that mental picture in my mind of the bead at the end of the gun glued to his head. Ever since then my turkey hunting has changed. There isn't a season that goes by that I don't at least have my chances or put my tag on a bird.

I’m thinking this season if I run into a windy day I may have to go lean up against that old oak tree that I sat beneath for my first turkey. To the rest of you good luck this spring and let the 3 ½ inch shells fly like they are meant to hard and on target! May god guide your bullets and arrows making them fly true!

Posted by Chris Pulchny under Field Journals on March 13, 10 07:40 AM | Permalink

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