Perseverance Pays Off

Smoke Armstrong

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It was Saturday 23 April 2011 a couple of buddies of mine and one of my buddies daughter planned to turkey hunt together at our deer hunting club. The weather had a different plan for us as I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to a torrential rain storm. It being early in the season and with plenty of opportunities that remained I did what any fair weather turkey hunter would do and made my way back to bed.

As it turned out everyone else headed back to bed that morning as well. At about 8:00 a.m. one of my buddies called and woke me up to see if I was interested in chasing some birds since the rain had come and gone. We only had four hours left to hunt for the day and that included whatever time it would take me to get myself together and get to the farm. I arrived at the farm about 9:30 a.m. We decided to do some tag team turkey hunting. I recommended we head down to the field I’d seen some birds in the last few days with no success. Not sure where everyone else hunts but where we hunt birds tend to migrate to the fields the closer it gets to noon.

We walked down a hedge row that led to the field we had planned to hunt. I stuck my head out and saw two birds down the field edge about 100 yards away. We decided to close the distance by circling back through the woods to try to get the jump on these birds. As we snuck closer to the field edge it was apparent the birds were no longer there. I’ll explain later in great detail what happened to the birds.

At that point we went another 50 yards where I stopped and set up on the field edge. My partner planned to continue down another 200 yards and set up on the field edge. We planned to sit and wait for a while to see what happened. About 10 minutes after I got set up a red fox pup came running up the middle of the field. I grabbed my binoculars to see what the commotion was about. I didn't see anything at first but at second glance I saw two hunters/trespassers walking along the back of the field. I immediately picked up the phone to call my buddy, which I then realized he had been calling me multiple times over the past few minutes. I finally got through to him and found out he had seen the two hunters/trespassers and starting making his way towards them. I had about 300 yards to cover until I could get on the scene. When I arrived the trespassers had ran off the property and were no where to be found.

Here's where the perseverance comes into play. After making the long walk back to our hunting trailer and cooling down for awhile we decided to make one more attempt at a tag team field hunt on another part of the farm. It was 11:00 a.m. with one hour of hunting left to go.

We drove out the lane to the field we were going to hunt. We didn't make it 100 yards from the trailer when we saw about 15 birds out in a different field. All were jakes and small hens so we stuck with our original plan. My hunting partner dropped me off on the far end of the field. This field was secluded by woods and I had to walk through the woods about 75 yards before I got to the field edge. The plan was for my partner to go to the other end of the field and see what would happen over the next 45 minutes.

Smokes Spring Turkey 2011 As I snuck through the woods I scanned the wheat field for birds. As I got closer I saw two hens and a tom doing their thing in the middle of the field. I immediately call my buddy and directed him to the part of the field he needed to be to tag team this bird.

We got in position and waited to see if the birds were going to do anything without some coaxing. We gave it about 15 more minutes and I gave my buddy a call to implement our field tag team plan that worked many times before when we caught birds in a field out of gun range. On each occasion when we catch a gobbler in the field with hens, one of us would do the calling and on this day my buddy did the calling. Just like clockwork all three birds stretched their necks out in the direction of the call and just like in the past the lead hen read the script and proceeded to walk in the opposite direction off the field which happened to be about 10 yards to my right. I let her walk on by and you guessed it Mr. Tom followed right behind. I didn't let him get too close. At about 25 yards I put the smack down on Mr. Long beard.

It doesn't work every time but has in the past and did again this past Saturday. As all of us know that have spent a lot of time hunting, perseverance and good luck can play a role in bagging the big one. This tom had a 10 ¾” beard, 1 3/8” spurs and weighed in at 25 pounds.

Probably the coolest thing of this hunt was that I bagged this bird with my grandfather's, great grandfather's 95 year old Winchester Model 12, 12 gauge.

Posted by Smoke Armstrong under Field Journals on April 27, 11 10:42 AM | Permalink

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