The weather this spring has been very unpredictable, which is predictable here in southwestern Virginia. It keeps you on your toes, and for myself, I always pack my cold weather gear in spring turkey season. We’ve had temps in the 80s with an unusually very warm start to the season and the occasional rain shower, even some snow in mid-April. Since the birds seem to react to the climate, this makes planning the hunt somewhat difficult at times. That being said…goodbye April. Hello May! The warm air is back and so far, in the past week, teammate Adam Keffer has bagged 2 birds, and a friend of mine called me Monday with news of another gobbler turned in to lunch meat. I was beginning to wonder if my turn was coming soon. It seems like forever ago since Randy, Adam and I came so close on opening day.
With “Fearless” (Adam) tagged out, he had no choice but to get behind the camera. And to top it off, he showed even more selflessness by letting me do all the calling this morning. Thanks Keff! Well, having never been to this area before, I followed Adam’s lead along the path up and upgrade through the Jefferson National Forest. We were nearly to the top of a knob when Adam hooted with his homemade owl call. He cups his hands and blows through his thumbs, or something. We listened for a moment while we caught our breath to see if the noise had caught the attention of a nearby tom. After our lungs settled and another hoot, we heard a gobbler from the opposite side of the road, accross to another ridgetop. “Just my luck” I thought, as I looked at my watch already frustrated. The only bird we’d have a chance to hunt on this perfect morning was going to be much too far to call to before it was time to get back in the truck and head to work. Daddy was feeling down again.
Adam and I proceeded back down the mountain toward the road where we entered the woods, listening to the tom fire every minute or so until we got back to the truck. At that point, the bird had gone silent and we had almost made up our mind that we would come back the next morning to try to hunt this bird, not knowing if he’d fly down and be locked in on a hen by the time we could approach the area where he was roosted. About to pack it in, another loud gobble came off the mountain. We couldn’t resist, so we headed up the ridge toward him.
Once we caught our breath again, and settled in on a position with the camera rolling, I gave a few loud calls with my Cane Creek “Mr. Death” mouth call to let him know we were interested. It wasn’t too long until the bait was in his mouth. The bird quietly meandered through the brush still out of my view, but closing the distance. We sat still, waiting to see when the bird would appear. He gobbled twice more, still out of my view and so I gave two more softer calls to real him in. Finally Adam could see him and advised me to get ready. I still could not put my eye on the bird. At last, I saw his head pop out in between two saplings. As soon as I could thread the needle between the trees with my Mossberg, I laid the hammer down. By the way, the saplings didn’t survive either.
We got plenty of exercise. But, it was a beautiful morning, and a tag filled certainly made it worth the effort! Exciting, nothing short of exciting!
Weight = 15.5 lbs
Beard = 9 5/8″
Spurs = 1/2″