Well to say the least my turkey season here in Oklahoma opened with a boom! By- laying out the first bird in Payne county Oklahoma, USA. And well since then there have been sporadic booms and even a few arrows that have went thud. Well I took on the challenge of taking a new comer to the spring woods actually more like two or three. The first tagged his bird; a bearded hen 30 minutes into the hunt with any bearded bird being legal for harvest I quickly told him to shoot! this in the long run would be better for me, one less hen to hang up Gobblers later in the season. We all agree right?
Well that was the end of the tagging success so far this season with me around. The next evening another buddy and I went out and managed to fire up a few birds without ever seeing them, but we did put them to “bed” so to speak. The next morning we headed out; me and the same buddy and a lady friend (Monika). We went in and the birds sounded off right where they were the night before we moved in as close as I felt comfortable. And set up the bird Gobbled over and over but as the time for him to fly down came near I heard something I didn't know was there. Hens! They were everywhere, I almost thought about breaking them up like a fall style hunt but that hadn't worked well for me in the youth season so I decided not to. 15 years of turkey hunting and you still learn lessons.
As the birds flew down and walked in the opposite direction so did the gobbles. The “shooter” (Monika) for the morning was disappointed to say the least. Here I am wearing a shirt that says “prostaff” on the back and I can't outwit a few dumb turkeys?! So we decided to move and circle around the birds and cut them off and go and ambush them to at least get some kind of shot. Well this never happened we bumped the birds no less than two times more like three times; thinking back. We all had to be back in town for nine o’clock classes so we had to head out it looked like I’d be sitting in class face paint and camouflage, the whole shebang.
We worked back to our original setup where we had left the decoys and I instructed the other two to stay low there very well could be a bird in our set up we hap hazardly left standing. As I peeked over a ridge- there very well may have been the largest Rio I have ever seen strutting seventy yards in front of the decoys. I turned and the back “hunter” was still standing and I told him to drop! Monika crawled up beside me and I said look at that bird give me 15 minutes and he will be on your shoulder. Looking back the bird was gone then I seen his head peeking over a pond dam in front of us. How had he seen us!? I turned back around and hunter #3 was still standing I once again told him to hit the ground but by that time the old long beard was running for the next county.
Well in an unprofessional fit of rage I threw a few things, dropped some harsh fowl words and to say the least I was frustrated at myself and crew. I headed to the decoys to pick them up and go home. About half way there I hit the ground again! There was another strutter 100 yards out walking our way this time all three hunters hit the ground. I accessed the situation and the terrain would allow us to move 50 yards closer or so. So I and Monika began our belly crawl to the inside of the pond dam, and #3 stayed back to video the outcome. As I peeked over the dam he was still 45-50 yards out. I let out some soft purrs and he was walking our way I handed the female shooter my Mossberg 835 loaded with 3 Â½ inch shells she had never shot and told her I would tell her when to shoot. I personally have tagged a gobbler with this gun at 71 yards however I don't advise it to be done.
There was a fence about 40 yards away between us and the bird. He appeared to be a young bird with only a 7 inch beard but she didn't care a first turkey was a turkey. So when at 40 +/- 5 yards he hung up and started acting spooky I told her to shoot. Well I wish the end result would have been a dead bird but instead it turned into another bird heading as far away as he could get, I even fired the last 2 shots at the running bird with no dead bird on the ground. Just in case you’re wondering we made it to class after a dash across campus plumped down in our seats breathing hard and removing ticks the whole hour! Ugh.
The video revealed that she had mowed the grass down only about 6 inches to the right of the birds head! Even with the poor outcome of the morning Monika is hooked asking when we are going to hit the woods again every chance she gets! The arrows I spoke of were not fired by my bow but by that of the owner of the outfitter I guide for He harvested a great Eastern on the ranch and a few days later another good friend of mine managed to harvest a great Rio-Eastern hybrid both with well placed neck shots! I wish I could have been there for that! I know that there are many hunters that are “anti” high fence when it comes to hunting but with turkeys they have the option of just simply flying the fence to other properties. Also Monika's season isn't over there are still a few weeks left and hunts planed if I have anything to say about it she will tag a bird before the season wraps up and hopefully it's in time for me to put my other two birds in the freezer!