Managed to harvest another bird today!! Crazy - last Saturday it happens in the pouring rain; today it happens in a heat wave! Polar opposite weather, but the birds cooperated.
I was at this same location yesterday afternoon and I ended up calling in a hen. I figured, well, where there are girl birds there has to be boy birds! So I decided to go in before first light this morning.
Sure enough I hear a few Toms gobble off in the distance after I had let out some calls. I heard about three of them, and you can tell they were on the move but none would come in towards me. I figured there must be hens around.
The gobbles seem to have grown fainter by 7:30am and I stopped calling. Even though the birds went quiet, I figured I know they heard me, so I'm just going to wait them out and see what happens. Well, 8am rolls around and directly in front of me about 50 yards out I see three birds casually stroll in! Two were definitely hens; the third I couldn't quite figure out what it was (oh, no, not again!!) Looked like it had some red in the head, but I saw some blue, too. Too far out to see beards or spurs. So I just decided to watch, and at least enjoy the scene.
The hens were just hanging out. Watched one perch on top of a log and preen herself. The other sat down next to first. I couldn't see the third, too far out - dammit! What is that one?! I think it was a Tom, but I can't be sure. Well, sure enough, after 5 minutes, I saw the tail feathers fan out as this Tom starts attempting to impress the ladies. But just like a dorky teenager failing miserably to try and impress two mean-girl cheerleaders, these hens just ignored this poor Jake (once the tail feathers fanned out, it was clear this was just a Jake - the middle-feathers had the telltale sign of being longer than the others). This Jake would circle, look at one hen, when she ignored him, he'd turn and look at the other. They were just not having any of it.
After a while he gave up and stopped his strutting. His head lifted straight up, he took a few steps which opened up for me a perfect broadside look straight ahead of me, and I pulled the trigger when he was 35 yards out.
Again, he was a jake, so nothing big (14 pounds), but I'll take it! It was a fun show and I got to take home a bird for more wild turkey dinners!
After I saw a few of you folks post cool pictures of the bird hanging, I decided to try it myself. Came out OK, I think, even though it's with a crappy dumb phone. Note to self - next time, don't have branches sticking straight out toward the camera - screws up the picture a bit. But all in all, I think it came out pretty good for my first attempt.