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Ellie's Turkey Quest


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#1 Tuffdaddy

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 05:11 AM

Well, her season came with lots of practice with her bow, and practice with our new Big D call, but unfortunately, no birds gave us a shot.

My buddy shot a heavy gobbler the day before we got up there, and this seemed to push the Tom's across the road to a different farm.

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Day one, we woke up at 4am and made coffee and hot chocolate, ate a quick bite to eat, and headed out to the blind to beat the birds down from the roost. We were greeted by robins singing, blue jays, and "yoo-hoo" birds as we were greeted with a beautiful sunrise over the farm.

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We didn't hear any gobbling, so I figured they went quiet. No worries. After an hour of silence, I started with some clucks and soft yelps. Not 5 minutes later, we had a pair of hens slide in for a look. Ellie was looking for a bearded hen, but neither were. Both were close enough for a shot, but since she couldn't shoot, we enjoyed the show.

After a good 3 hour sit, Ellie needed a break, so we went inside to regroup. Now it was time to get serious. So we put our boots back on and headed back out to a blind near where the Tom's had been strutting the prior week, in the late morning.

My masterful make up artist decided that it was time for a face paint job. So of course we did a Facebook "live" video for the masses from our blind.

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We tried to get things fired up with some excited hen yelps and clucks with both the slate and diaphragm calls, but no responses. You could tell Ellie was starting to get antsy, so even though she was shooting her bow, we decided to get mobile and try to find some birds back in the woods.

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As we walked quietly and slowly, we would call occasionally to try and get a response. Nothing responded and after about 45 minutes of searching, we headed in for lunch and a good break for her.

We headed back out in the evening to try and connect with the birds heading back to their roost, and had a Tom and a few hens headed our way initially, but they jumped the creek and headed to the neighbors land to roost for the night. Good problem I thought, and we snuck out to intercept them in the morning off the roost.

Still with me? Lol.

The next morning, after going through the same routine, we headed back to a blind we had set up the day before, that was a few hundred yards from the roost. As we sat and listened to the woods wake up again, we awaited that confirmation that the turkeys had also risen. That confirmation never came, so I let out a flydown cackle to try and persuade the Tom our way. It was a no go, but Elwood did sneak in a good nap.

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Ellie didn't last quite as long this morning, and was starting to think more about visiting an old school friend who now lives close to our hunting grounds. We headed back in to rethink our strategy, and we're greeted with the good news of gaining a new property to hunt.

After a quick bite to eat, we headed to do a quick visual scout of the new land, and to set up a blind based on our intel. It was just after lunch when I lost her. She hung in and really hunted hard the first day and a half, but her desire to visit her buddy overcame her desire for a bird. We decided we would do one more stalk to try and find the birds and do some scouting.

As we made our way down the trail we had set on, we tried to gain a response from the birds. With nothing being vocal, we continued on to a potential roost site. As we worked back into the pines, we found a turkey feather, and another, and yet another. A definite roost! This was Ellie's find for the weekend, and she was happy to call it quits on her end with her trophies.

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After I dropped her off at her friends house, I headed back to pick up my buddy as we were going to try and ambush the turkeys as they headed to their roost. We sat in the blind for a 4 hour sit, and as it was getting dark, we new we should have seen something, so we decided to get on foot and find them.

It didn't take long, and we saw movement to our right. We instantly hunkered down and watched two jakes and a hand full of hens working their way back to their roost. My buddy let out a few soft clucks, but the turkeys didn't seem to like that and hung up. We backed out to try and get behind them, which turns out to be a mistake. They ended up walking right past where we were originally set up. We new more turkeys we're around, so we waited and watched where they set up to roost, planning on hunting that in the morning.

We got up early the next morning, and set up next to a few trees about 150 yards from their roost. The sun gave way to one gobble, then another, and another. There were 4 different birds gobbling, and hens singing softly back to them.

I waited sitting painfully against my tree, trying to forget about my old man back that didn't agree with my current position. We had a feeder hen, half strut Jake, and an upright hen set up 25 yards from our position, on a T in the trail.

The first bird glossed down from the tree, then another. We watched two hens head into the woods, then we saw the motherload! However, they did NOT like our decoys and would walk down the trail and around the decoys into the woods.

I started doing some soft yelps, to which a hen was responding to. We bantered back and forth and I really got her worked up. She didn't like this competition she was hearing, and was coming to investigate. I had hoped she had her Tom in tow.

After about 5 minutes of getting her fired up, she appeared on the trail in front of me. I brought my gun up hoping her beau was not far behind, and alas.....her sister popped out behind her. Just then about 40 yards to my right, I saw 2 Tom's working towards us. Knowing they were not liking our decoys, I knew I'd have to take about a 40 yard shot. However, the shot never came. I couldn't get them to separate, and knowing at that distance, I would likely hit both of them, I had to sit idly by as they worked away from me.

I had one other bird gobbling back at some yelps, but not over them. He let us know we were there, but never came out of the woods for a look, no matter how pretty the purrs were.

All in all, it was an intense start to the day, however we were out of time as I had to pick up Ellie and make our way home. I just wished she was here to see and hear the morning excitement.

I'm hoping to have here shooting a 20 ga. by next season, but if not, we at least have some new land to hunt.

She gets her first chance to bow hunt white tails this fall, so hopefully we can get it done then.

I'm glad she sticks with me on these hints as both of us learn. Wouldn't change it for the world.

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#2 prairiewolf

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 06:42 AM

great write up and story, too bad neither of you connected. but thats not all that makes a successful trip. You and her had fun together and thats whats important.


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#3 sneakygroundbuzzard

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 06:45 AM

great write up,felt like i was right there with you

 

turkeys can be a bugger to figure out,but persistence pays off 

just keep watching them for next year

 

by the looks of them feathers she found,youve got some good sized birds there

 

just remember 

if it were easy everyone would be doing it and then it wouldnt be any fun


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#4 hassell

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 07:19 AM

Great write up and thanks for sharing.



#5 glenway

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 02:40 PM

Very enjoyable read.  Always good to be with the young'uns outdoors.  That was a lot for a youngster and it's understandable why she would pursue other priorities.  But, my guess is she'll be looking forward to next season before long.  And, yeah, the 20 gauge.  Some good ammo out there for those, too.



#6 Tuffdaddy

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 05:19 AM

She's a trooper for sure.  She's been coming with me from the start (3 years now), and has seen some pretty cool things out in the woods between deer hunting and turkey hunting.  She is still looking forward to next season and says, she'll get her bird.  It was another learning season with some cool experiences (including trying to name as many birds we heard singing from the blind).  

 

I'm thankful that she loves to do this with me and look forward to many more years of spending time in the woods and blind with her.  Now to get her comfortable with the noise from guns.  She comes trap shooting with me, and has been close on several occasions, to wanting to shoot (she has to compete with her younger sister, who is becoming quite proficient with the 22).  Hopefully by next season, she'll be proficient with the 20 ga.



#7 glenway

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 07:36 AM

No hurry.  That's smart getting her into bird identification.  A great way to pass the time and to get acquainted with wildlife.  Many people I know never hear the birds, but even with my failing hearing, I can still tell them what birds are around us without looking.

 

Good going, my friend.



#8 azpredatorhunter

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 10:22 AM

Good Job Tuffdaddy 👍
Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

Benjamin Franklin




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