My dad and I have only been chasing turkeys since last season. Avid Waterfowl and Upland game hunters, but never really tried to put a gobbler down.
We had a great opportunity at success on two long-beards on opening day in the Sequoia National Forest last season. That opportunity was cut short by a road hunter.
The rest of last season was spent learning new areas and scouting.
Opening day on our property didn't yield too much success. In the prior day scouting, we had found 7 birds that moved into the valley. 5 hens and 2 Gobblers. We roosted them 400 yards from the blind on the property over. Strong gobbling on the roost opening morning, but after fly down they shut up pretty quick. We called it around 11 determining that they were pretty henned up.
Last Friday we hunted the property without any scouting the day prior. Not knowing if any new birds have come in, or if the roost had shifted. At first light I let out a soft yelp and got some solid gobbles back 300 yards away or so. A few more gobbles throughout the valley let us know that some more birds were now using the area.
The first few hours were relatively uneventful. Flydown had happened and there was some intermittent gobbling taking place below us, 2-300 yards away.
Around 10, I push up against the property line and let out some cuts. A hen answers me right away with some yelps.
I hurry back to the blind and begin a dialogue with her. She's kee-keeing and yelping, looking for some hens for company. She heads East and then eventually emerges back to the west from the treeline infront of us. She heads straight to our decoys where she proceeds to preen, feed and stretch for an hour.
The gobblers had followed her to an extent, but did not go past the tree line and up hill to our meadow.
She eventually makes us after an hour and begins to putt just as 3 other hens enter the meadow. She meets up with them and they head up the adjacent ridge. We sat a little longer and decided to hike over to the top of the valley. On the way back down we hear some gobbling not too far from the meadow.
We make our way down to the blind, and I decide to press up to the adjacent ranch to try and get a shock gobble. This was a risky play, since every bird that came in that day came in silent. I push up to the section of fence with an open segment and hit the rest of the valley with several hard cuts and yelps. I get a solid gobble back 150 yards away.
I slowly make my way back across the meadow, yelping softly to give the impression of a hen moving away. I get to the blind, settle in, and hope for the best.
10 minutes go by and I'm keeping an eye out on the east side of the meadow where I had called from. Just as I was about to look away, a flash of red catches my eye. I had to look twice, but out of the brush came a gobbler. I tell my dad to get ready. He came another 15 yards and paused. He looks to his left and gobbler number 2 steps out. At this point my heart is racing! Are we finally going to connect?
They square up side by side and begin making their way over to our decoys. At 40 yards I shoulder my gun and they catch a little movement. A soft yelp on the mouth call and they begin their march again. I whisper to my dad to take the one on the right. At 25 yards they pause and I whisper 1, 2, 3..Kapow-Kapow. Flipped them.
My Dad and I were on those birds before we knew it. We couldn't believe we doubled on our first birds.
I believe in a 1 jake rule per season, and to be honest we'll probably rest the property for the rest of the season. There are a few Toms in there who'll have a little less competition now. These jakes weighed in around 15 pounds. What a blast!
We were blessed.