Friday, April 11, 2014

Turkey Hunting 4/10/14

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Turkey hunting has been a recent hobby that I have picked up. I think I went turkey hunting one time as a child. Not that I don't enjoy it, just that we didn't have turkeys around to hunt. But, there has been a recent resurgence in the population.

The real reason I like it is because the hunts (at least ours) are relatively short. So, I can hunt in the morning and still get to work by 9. And, I can do it day after day.

I also like the active hunter element of turkey hunting, though I admit that my dad does all the work. I just sit in the blind. But I do video....

Anyway, we decided to make the run to our family land in Tennessee instead of hunting locally. But, I had comp time to burn....

So, up at 3:30AM and uphill we went. We arrived a little later than we wanted, but we were able to get setup before dawn.

We setup in a large field on top of the foothills of Fly, Tn. The few times I have hunted this spot, we have literally set up right underneath the turkey's roosts. Today wasn't any difference. Shortly before dawn, we were able to look up in the trees and count the number of turkeys we could see. Of course, that would be "big dark shapes" in the tree. Though we did notice one was bigger than the rest.

One by one the turkeys fluffed themselves out and glided down from their roosts. All but one, which I kept trying to get on video. That bird flew the other way.

Almost immediately we had turkeys in range. As the sun peaked over the trees, we counted several Jakes among the few hens. They preened themselves and grazed in the cow pasture, just outside of the blind. IT made for good video, or at least as good as the old Flip camera was capable of taking.

We talked quietly about what we planned to do. We figured that the big bird that had gone the other way was the local gobbler. We hoped that he didn't see us setting up, though we admitted that it was a very real possibility. I could shoot the jakes easily at this range, even take my pick of them.

I had this one crazy bird picked out, who constantly was humping the ground or beating a rhythm with either his foot or wings, constantly. (I got that on video as well). About that time, we heard the gobbler calling from the distance. With several hens and jakes already around us, we decided to wait and see if he came within range.

We waited as the local turkeys played. They seemed intent on staying local to us, circling the blind.

From across the field we spotted another turkey coming towards us. As it approached, we identified it as a hen. We could hear her cluck and carry on, but as luck would have it, it wasn't a greeting. It was a call to get moving. She was the bellcow of this group of turkeys. Slowly, the turkeys made their way towards her. When they joined together, they made an about face and headed back towards where she had come from.

Occasionally we would hear the gobbler, but he remained in the distance, obviously aware that we were there. Dad things he has probably become a wise old bird from being shot at.

Oh well, we got some video, watched the hens chase each other, and even managed to catch a few fish at Humphrey Lake before we left!