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04/21/2014 - Opening Day Check-in


BowhunterNJ
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Thought I'd fire a topic up for the opening day turkey reports for you guys hunting later this morning!

Can't wait to see how you guys do!  Feel free to throw your reports in here or fire up another topic if you prefer! :up:

Best of luck to everyone who hits the woods, I'm sure you're all tossing and turning in bed right now trying to get a few hours of sleep before you get out there!

Shoot straight! :)

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Zone 7 dirt nap.  I had about 4 gobblers going nuts on the roost all morning before light.  Then they shut up when they flew down across the road.  I only called a few times over the next 1 1/2 hours, and finally 2 gobblers came in silently.  The first was behind a tree and this one was behind him at about 35 yards.  Not my biggest, but a great start to me spring season.  It was also the first time I fired any gun since my surgery.

 

A lot of birds getting checked in at Simon Peter this morning!

 

Turkey feathers close up.jpg

Turkey beard.jpg

Turkey head close up w beard.jpg

 

Thanks to my childhood buddy, Jimmy Schaffer at Oak Ridge Custom Calls, for his great calls.  I combined these two this morning, one slate and the other aluminum.

Turkey w calls.jpg

Edited by Bucksnbows
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It was a great morning to be in the woods and watch as they came alive this morning.  Song birds fighting over mates and territories, squirrels gathering food, crows making loud noises, and a doe that stared me down for 10 minutes before resuming feeding her way off beyond me as a few hens walked past.  

 

I'll be back out during C week in the same location.  I heard one distant shot at about 6:30 am and that was it until my bird showed up with a friend.  

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Didn't kill anything but had a great day in the woods.Took a buddy out trying to get him his first bird. I had to work 9-5 last night but was lucky and got out at 4:30. So I hurried to Hampton from Bethlehem Pa(Sands),made great time.Meet him at our spot,I've never been on this piece of property before so I knew nothing about it. We walk down the road and he told me where he heard them gobbling about 7:00 last night,I said ok,then they are going to be roosted right in there.,I was right.I made a few soft calls and the birds fired up,I whispered to him "they're already on the ground,sit by that tree" I start calling to them and they keep answering,but not moving,I'm like wtf? Here's what I didn't know,I thought we were on level ground,but where the birds were it dropped down,so they weren't on the ground they were still roosted,eventually they flew down(to my surprise).as soon as they hit the ground they went silent,I'm doing some calling trying to coax them my way and a hen is answering me,I've talked to hens before but I never had this happen.She mocked me note for note,if I let out 5 yelps,she let out 5 yelps,if I let out 5 yelps, 4 cuts then 5 yelps,then she did the exact same,no matter what sequence. I was having fun with that.Eventually she stopped,I figured she either saw us when she circled around or noticed there was no other hen.After she left we stand up and talk about it,this is when he decided to tell me that he had a great view of one of the Toms every time he answered me.I said to him "after I tell you they're on the ground you let me continue to think they were,and not still roosted"? ...lol..I turn around and see 4 birds coming down the dirt road,I tell him to get behind the tree,I let out a couple yelps(in hindsight I should have just shut up).The birds stop and are looking our way,I glance over at Bob and hes trying to look around both sides of the tree,I whisper "STOP MOVING",but it's too late,I knew the game was over,they turned and went away from us,the nice Tom stood there staring our way for a little while longer, then he followed the other birds.So after they left we decide to walk towards the area where the birds "were" in the morning,thinking they were gone,nope,after walking about 50 yards we kicked them up and they flew away.(another wtf) So we continue down the dirt road calling occasionally,we hear one fire up,he thinks it's one direction,I know it's another.So I fire him up again,we head into the woods,I said to him,"were getting this bird,as long as you're not a jack in the box"..ha ..I have him sit by this one tree and I go behind him to call.I get to my tree and look up,I see him trying to move a branch(another wtf),then as he goes to sit down the bird comes in,sees him and flies up in a tree not 20 yards away from us,he sits there for about 15 minutes just looking around.He's a young bird so I figured he is just doing what his mother taught him to do when there's danger.I got tired of waiting this bird out so I stood up and walked to Bob and the bird flew away. I said to him "and did we learn yet another lesson? What were you doing with that branch"? he said that he thought it would be in his way when he shot,it wouldn't have been..Ha... We hunted until around 11 and the rest of the day was uneventful. I have to say,this was a very unique and memorable hunt,and I enjoyed it a lot,I always tell people,some of my best hunts I've had I didn't  kill a bird.Fun was had and lessons were learned,what more can you ask for? And it was a beautiful day to be out there,watching all the other wildlife.Sorry this is so long but I wanted to tell every part..ha

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Condensed version. I heard a spit ton of gobbles but couldn't seal the deal.


 


 


Long version:


 


I arrived at the parking area just after 4am. No one else is here....Good.


 


Make my way to where I put the birds to bed last night and start setting up my blind and decoys. Wait in the pitch dark until the first gobble...5:16am. Man, I can't shoot for a while still, so I elect to be quiet. I also realize at this point that I missed my mark. The birds were further ahead of me than I thought. I thought I had gotten just above them, maybe 60 yards away. Turns out I was over 150 yards away.


 


I contemplated moving but it's too much stuff to move through the dry crunchy leaves. Forget, it, this is a good spot.


 


No more gobbles until about 5:30. At this point I start talking to them. They like me...a lot. I can now hear what sounds like 4 birds down the hill. After working them for a good 15 minutes, I hear a real hen join in from my left. They are on their way to me, but now she is intercepting them. I tried copying her and cutting at her real hard, but it only fired up the gobblers and she took them back down to a field that isn't part of the wma.


 


I go silent for a bit....then I turn it up and somehow I get three birds to break towards me away from her. They are coming fast and loud....They came to within about 50 yards, but couldn't see the decoys and hung up just over a small rise. I could only see heads once in a while. They were fired up but wouldn't close the distance. Tried soft purrs and leaf scratching, spitting...They wanted me to go back down the hill with them and they weren't going to break over the rise. I tried going silent, but that didn't work either. 


 


About this time, 6:20ish...a truck comes up the nearby road, calling out the window. All the birds went dead quiet as soon as the first call came out of that truck. I could see the vehicle way down the hill. Pretty funny that the birds know not to answer those calls.


 


 


After the truck drove off, gobbling started picking up again maybe 10 minutes later. All the birds had reconvened. Even though I couldn't hunt where they were, I thought maybe I could slip around to where they will probably be willing to go. They must have heard or saw me sneaking around though because they suddenly all went quiet and wouldn't respond to anything I did. 


 


I decided to slip back out to the truck, dump the extra gear and just run & gun.


 


It was now about 7:15 and I was down the trail near where I have seen a lot of sign. I found a good spot to setup and hit the call. GOBBLE!!  Hit it again to get a better listen. GOBB...GOBBLE!!! Two birds.


 


Get everything set, call again, GOBBLE..GOBBLE.....going away from me. These birds aren't stupid, they want me to go to them.


 


I can't slip in front of these birds because again, they are going over the border of the wma. Oh well. I sit tight and wait. It's not long before another truck pulls into the parking lot. I can see it about 400 yards away. The guy gets out and calls...hears nothing and leaves. At least he got out of his vehicle.


 


 


It's now about 8:30 and I haven't heard anything, so I hit the trail again. Move down to another area that looks promising, hit a few calls and after the third one, I hear a gobble over the hill. It's a long ways, but I close the distance. Set up, start calling, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble.....answering everything I say. Closes the gap to about 60, big bird, I can see him, but he hangs up and then starts gobbling as he heads off.


 


This time I'm not playing that game. I just go silent. He disappears for about 50 minutes...then returns to the same spot and starts gobbling. This is when I messed up. I should have stayed quiet, he might have come further just looking for me. Instead I answered him like a dummy. He did the same thing. Went away gobbling.


 


I messed with this bird until about 11:48...but couldn't close the gap enough to pull the trigger. He was still gobbling when I got up at 11:58...At this point there wasn't enough time for him to come back.


 


All in all, a great morning. TONS of action...just couldn't make it happen. Got a little too aggressive, which is not usually my style, but I wanted to take some chances. Maybe tomorrow....


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