Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Gobbler down

Nathan and I hunted most of the day today and I finally put the "swahili" (a redneck term for a quick, clean, kill) on an old gobbler. I say "finally" because there are only 3 days left in the Kansas turkey season and they get tougher to hunt this late in the season (getting shot at for 6 weeks can make a creature a bit skittish). The Eastern/Rio hybrid turkey was a 3 year old with a 10-plus inch double beard. I have never harvested a double-beared tom before, he's definitely going on my wall somewhere. Wild turkey meat is very good eating also. Heat up the frying pan!

The hunt unfolded in classic afternoon turkey hunting fashion. We hiked wooded ridgelines calling in to draws until we got an old bird to gobble at us. At 1:35 we struck a lonely tom and knew we had a shot at calling him in. We set up the decoys and got ready. It was Nathan's turn to film, so I was up to shoot. As things go when hunting on cattle land, right when I was working the gobbler and getting him fired up, the whole herd of cattle decided to feed through our position. I thought we lost the tom. Then, five minutes after Nathan chased off the cattle, we heard our gobbler again. Sure enough, instead of coming the direction we had hoped, he came in behind us, from the thick wooded valley. We slowly turned around at the trees we were set up at and right after I called from that position, my turkey let loose with a fierce "gobbbbbblllllleeeeee". Very cool. When they are close enough to hear the rattle in their throat, you know it's almost showtime.

I finally caught a glimpse of his red head (when they are excited, their heads fill with blood and they look bright red-it's supposed to impress the ladies) as he made his way toward our position. It turns out he wasn't alone. He had two "satellite" gobblers hanging out with him (big toms often will have a couple lackeys trail them all the time). Nathan saw one of the other gobblers and put the camera on him, thinking it was the one I was going to shoot. He didn't see the big boy I was aiming to put the smack on. Anyways, I fired and killed the gobbler while Nathan had the camera on one of the smaller birds. He thought I missed, and kept telling me where they were running so I could take another shot (the other birds started running away after I shot the lead bird). I told him I crushed the gobbler, then he realized he had the wrong bird on film! It was no problem, that's the way filming a turkey hunt goes, it's very tough. We still captured the essence of the hunt. Great fun to watch later.

Tomorrow were going to a different place to try and call a lovesick tom in to shotgun range. My turn to film, Nathan's up to shoot.


JDogg said...

Where are you hunting?

M. Jay Bennett said...

Awesome! I'm going to send my dad a link to this post. He'll love it like I did!

Any chance the Bri-man might be up for another movie post?

AJF said...

Brian and I are discussing future film endeavors...he is an up and coming Quentin T for sure.

JDOGG- we were up behind your old house, basically just West of the powerlines.

Frontier Forest said...

Wow, that ole’ tom looks like about an 18 pounder? The tail feathers all look perfectly fanned and in order so you must have dropped him immediately? I love a good story and all them words about the kill made for some awful good gobbling! Beautiful prize and I hope Nathan gets a grand one tomorrow too!

AJF said...

Unfortunately, we got rained out this morning, so Nathan couldn't connect. We had two gobblers coming, then the heavy rain came in and shut them up. Have to wait til next year.

My bird was probably more like 20 lbs. He went down right away. Painless.