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Author Topic: Turkey Hunt with Family  (Read 864 times)

Offline Blocko

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Turkey Hunt with Family
« on: May 03, 2011, 01:42:38 PM »
This past weekend, I headed to Minnesota for a camp work weekend at my cousin Matt's property.  Those of us that deer hunt on his property, get together to get some things done for him and the property.  It's also another opportunity for us to hang out together.
Additionally, this year, Matt drew a turkey tag, so it was a great opportunity for me to help Matt try turkey hunting for the first time…and get some video footage of the hunts.  Matt’s dad, my uncle Wayne also took part in every hunt.
On Thursday morning, the 3 of us headed out to the turkey tent.  Matt and Wayne had placed the turkey tent next to a round bale in the middle of his 13 acre field.  Even though Matt had previously seen turkeys on his trail cameras, he was skeptical about our chances of encountering turkeys.
Upon setting up, I made a couple of calls with my Straight Creek calls and to Matt’s surprise, we immediately got a response from a tom in the oak hardwoods at the southwest corner of the field.  Within 20 minutes, the tom appeared at the edge of the field, about 250 yards away…although, it was tough to see him through the heavy snowfall that was occurring.  The tom started heading our way, but stopped a short distance into the field.  At that point, he was hung up.  Nothing we tried encouraged him to make the long trek across the field.  Eventually, he left the field back the way he came.
We developed a plan to move to that end of the field to make some calls to see if we could entice him again.  Unfortunately, we never heard from him again.  After walking around the property, we decided to head back to the camp to start on some of our projects.
For Thursday evening, we decided to sit on the end of the field where the tom came out, but without the tent…a tough hunt with 3 people and 2 video cameras.  As we got to that end of the field, I called and we immediately got a response from the tom in the same location as this morning.  We realized that the tom was near a small food plot that is located about 150 yards southwest of the big field.  We have always referred to this as the “turkey plot” because several years back, Matt planted it specifically for the turkeys.  So we hurriedly set up and got into position.  As I called, the tom continued responding, but he never moved from his location.  At one point, a hen began chattering next to us and walked upon us, but then she turned around and left the way she came.  There was also another hen that entered the field on the north end.  Regardless of what we tried, though, we couldn’t convince the tom to leave the turkey plot.  We concluded that the tom was probably with hens, thus he wouldn’t leave.  Eventually, we quit for the night and developed a plan for the next morning.
Our plan for Friday morning involved moving the tent to the south end of the field, near the location that the tom came out on Thursday morning.  Our hope was that he roosted near the turkey plot and that we could convince him to come out to the field edge again…only, we’d be there waiting this time.  So, when it got dark, we headed out to move the turkey tent to the new location.
On Friday morning, as we were getting ready at camp, I could hear the tom gobbling at the south end of the field.  We hustled to get to the tent.  Several times, we heard the tom gobbling.  Once we were all set up, I began calling to the tom and he responded.  I was certain that this setup was going to work for us.  Unfortunately, just like the night before, the tom never moved from his location.  Eventually, after several hours, we decided to shake things up by leaving the tent and relocating to another small food plot…in hopes that our calls from there would entice him to move.  Unfortunately, as we moved locations, the tom stopped responding.  It was later that we realized that the tom had probably seen some of the movement of us relocating.  After many attempts and moves without any response, we decided to head back to camp to get some work done.
For Friday afternoon, we decided to move our ambush to the edge of the turkey plot.  We were hesitant to take this approach, because it was obvious that the tom spent the majority of his time at that location and we didn’t want to scare him away, however, we were running out of time and needed to be aggressive.  Additionally, the wind was really blowing hard, thus we thought that there was a chance that we would be able to make it to the turkey plot without being heard.  So, upon setting up, we all found a spot against oak trees…Matt in front of me and Wayne behind me.  Because of the wind, I informed Matt and Wayne that the tom would probably not respond and would just show up.  As I surveyed the turkey plot, I realized that another challenge would be that we wouldn’t be able to see him coming from any great distance.  The turkey plot is only about 20 yards x 80 yards and is located on top of the ridge, thus, we would not be able to see down the sides of the ridge from our vantage point…and this turned out to be the challenge that would beat us on this night.  After about 1½ hours of sitting he suddenly appeared in the food plot.  I say suddenly, because all of us had been looking other directions at the same time…but nobody was looking at the food plot.  Just prior to the toms arrival, I had turned my head to look back toward the large field, when suddenly, Wayne whispered to me “turkey…right there”.  I expected that the bird was way on the other end of the plot, but as I turned my head around I realized the tom was right in front of us on the edge of the plot…about 30 yards away.  I whispered to Matt “turkey, 12 o’clock”.  The tom was in strut as I turned, but he saw my movement and immediately folded and began walking away…for about 3 steps and then started running.  Unfortunately, Matt was also looking to the side when the tom came into the food plot and had to turn his head when I whispered…and to make matters worse, he entered the plot right in line with an oak tree that was right in front of Matt…therefore, Matt couldn’t see the bird until he started running away…and that was it.  After the tom ran away, we all just sat there looking at each wondering what just happened.  The tom did exactly as we had expected…only, we weren’t ready for him.  We left the food plot disgruntled but encouraged that we had the perfect plan, just poor execution.
That night we discussed our elusive tom.  We realized that the tom spent the majority of his time around the turkey plot and roosted there every night…and had probably come back to the plot to roost again…therefore, if we wanted to get him, we needed to be there.  However, we were worried that our recent hunts might have changed his patterns.  Regardless, we decided to give it another try…so we began to plan our Saturday hunt.  Since the weather was supposed to be heavy rain and wind for the morning, we decided to catch up on some sleep and then, when the rains ceased, to focus on getting some work done so that we could hunt the afternoon. 
On Saturday, as we worked, we discussed our afternoon plans and decided that we would move the tent to the turkey plot for the afternoon hunt.  That afternoon, we headed to the turkey plot with the tent in hand.  We quickly got set up and ready.  Unfortunately, the wind was really howling…worse than Friday, so we knew the tom would come in silent again…if he came in.
After one series of calls, however, the tom responded to the west.  For the next ½ hour, we were all anxiously searching for him…but nothing.  Later, he responded again to the northwest.  It was then that we concluded that he had left the plot and was heading to the neighbors small food plot to the north.  It was possible that we scared him off the plot as we came in.
At that point, our mood became somewhat somber due to us all thinking that tonight wouldn’t be the night, but worse, we may have driven the tom off the property.  The tom had moved off to the north and we didn’t have any method of pursuing him in that direction.  Then, the wind began blowing so hard that, my cheap decoys began really blowing around…to the point that they were tilting in odd directions on the stakes and one actually blew off the stake and was rolling across the food plot.  This lightened our mood.  We were having some good laughs about the decoys.  The tent was also moving around a lot and we joked that it might blow right away from us.
Suddenly, the tom gobbled behind us, relatively close….Game On.  For the next half hour, we all kept waiting for the tom to show himself.  Every couple of minutes, I would slowly pull apart the side of the tent so that I could peek out the side and peer around behind us, hoping to catch a glimpse of him coming.  I kept thinking about the radical movements of the tent, the decoy that was blowing around the food plot and the cock-eyed decoys that were left…hoping that they wouldn’t cause the tom to be leery about coming in.  Suddenly, as I peeked out the side, there he was…right alongside the tent about thirty yards away…and he was walking parallel to the food plot.  We all got ready.  When the tom finally came into view at the front of the tent, he was about 35 yards away in the brush.  Matt wanted to wait until he got out of the brush.  The tom was very leery.  He stood in that one spot for over 5 minutes before taking one more step and standing there for another 5 minutes.  A couple of times, he fanned out and we thought he was going to commit, but then he would drop and just stand there.  Finally, he took about 6 steps to the edge of the food plot and was in the clear for Matt…and Matt put him down.  We were ecstatic.  We finally had him.  A big bird with a 10¼” beard and 1” spurs.
It was very exciting for all of us…especially for Matt and Wayne since this was their first time turkey hunting.  It was also a first for me too….the first time I’ve ever patterned a turkey.  All of the turkeys of my past came to the same food plots, but not like clockwork, every day.  It was always hit or miss.  But this guy was at this plot every day and roosted there every night...and we were able to take advantage of that.
So, we took a lot of pictures and video footage…and ended the night with video footage of Matt with his turkey over his shoulder, walking across that big field where the whole thing started.
It was truly a great end to a great hunt with family.
BIG THANKS to all the Great Sponsors!!!!!

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Offline yari

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Re: Turkey Hunt with Family
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2011, 02:27:58 PM »
congrats. it's been tough weather up here in the north for turkey hunting.
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Offline ordindy1

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Re: Turkey Hunt with Family
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2011, 02:31:11 PM »
Congrats to all of you.
Great hunt and a great story.
I don't think any of you will ever forget this one!
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Offline Split toe

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Re: Turkey Hunt with Family
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2011, 04:10:30 PM »
Congrats to you guys. Great story and a great hunting experience you guys will share for many years to come.... @--0--0133
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Offline ameshell

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Re: Turkey Hunt with Family
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2011, 04:27:13 PM »
 @--0--0123 Man, that sounded like an awesome time! Congrat's!
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Offline Flintlock1776

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Re: Turkey Hunt with Family
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2011, 05:52:10 PM »
Just awesome! -0078
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Offline Soft plastic guru

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Re: Turkey Hunt with Family
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2011, 08:50:09 AM »
congrats o the bird and great story
Hunt hard and take kids fishing!!!

Offline mac0823

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Re: Turkey Hunt with Family
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2011, 09:00:05 AM »
Congrats, way to stick with it - not many would have that stamina or desire

Offline DPD

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Re: Turkey Hunt with Family
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2011, 09:28:46 AM »
congrats, what a great hunt and story...thats how to do it be persistent and keep at it....its tough here in my part of NY rain.cold but its going to change soon and the turks are still there, we just have to be patient and keep at it like u guys..congrats again really great bird @--0--0118
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Offline BLUETOE

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Re: Turkey Hunt with Family
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2011, 11:07:48 AM »
AWESOME!!! story and bird one great hunt!!!! Do you feel fortunate? I know you do!!!
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