Nathan dropped me off near my location and I trekked about a mile to where I set up right at 5:30 AM. I set my decoys up, found a comfy tree, waited for it to get a bit lighter, hoped no ticks would find me tasty, then started calling as if there were three hot hens just yelling out for an old longbeard to come take'em on a date. I called off and on for the better part of an hour with no audible response from a turkey. The wind was blowing around 15 mph so it was difficult to hear for long distances, likewise it would be difficult for a marauding turkey to hear me calling. I usually like to move around on foot and locate a bird with an owl or crow call and set up on it, but given the weather conditions, I decided to set up in a big draw that had a creek running down the middle. I knew a gobbler would check that spot for hens eventually.
At 6:51 AM I heard a faint gobble a good distance away, but it got me energized to start a new calling sequence. Right around 20 minutes later I heard the shuffling of leaves and branches behind me and to the left a bit. I slowly moved my head around to see what it was, sure enough it was two big ole' toms with their gaze cast beyond me and squarely on my decoys (I had a young gobbler decoy with two hens...old gobblers get very jealous when they see such a set up). I knew they were committed to coming down the hill to put a smack down on the young turkey who had stepped in on their girlfriends. I couldn't see which gobbler was bigger because of the leaves and such, one gobbled at the decoys as he puffed himself up to intimidate the intruder- very cool. I waited right until they got just feet away from my decoys, then I picked the lead gobbler and pulled the trigger. He dropped immediately when the #5 shot hit him in the head and neck. The other tom initially ran away, but wasn't too sure what had happen. He actually hung around within shooting distance, but I elected not to take him as I want to save my tag to take my oldest son hunting next week when he's out of school for the summer.
My gobbler (which is an Eastern-Rio hybrid) had an 11 inch rope (beard) with the longer spur being a little better than 1 1/4 inches. He's most definitely a 3-4 year old bird, just what I was looking for. I got about 7 pounds of breast meat from this big boy. I'll provide a post showing the process of preparing, cooking, and eating my wild turkey in the near future.