The evening before the hunt, I put the birds to roost in hopes of sneaking in close the following morning. I found them in the same place where Kevin and I had gotten on them opening day before being sabotaged by the local tenant. We had three gobblers coming in hot at only 70 yards when out of no where, some guy came busting up the mountain, spooking the birds out of the area and away from our setup. After discussing the matter with him and explaining our 30+ years of permission, I was eager to get back after them and get one in the bag.From my vantage point that evening atop the ridge, it sounded like the birds were lower down in the hollow right in front of me. The next morning, my father and I went in on the birds and started up the ridge to the left side of where I thought the birds were roosted. I set up in the hollow straight below where I thought they should have been.
It was after daylight and I hadn’t heard a sound from them, so I knew something was amiss. However, Dad and I were communicating via the radio when he said that he could hear the birds much higher on the mountain above us. So he and I both moved up the mountain and we finally met up right below the gobblers, which had roosted near the top of the mountain, about 250 yds above us.
We were squeezing this hunt in before work, so we didn’t have much time. Neither one of us were optimistic about the prospect of calling the birds in from that distance in the hour we had before needing to abandon our efforts and leave for the office. However, knowing that anything was possible, we moved into position on the edge of the ridge where we could see into the hollow from which we expected the gobblers to come.
We soon realized that there were actually three birds roosted together and boy, were they fired up. I gave the initial call with my Cane Creek mouth call without a response from the three birds we were pursuing. Instead my call was cut off by yet another gobbler about 500 yds out the mountain to our west. Since we could barely hear this bird and the other three were much closer, we continued to focus on those birds and called to them periodically. However, the bird to the west was the only one responding to the calls.
It didn’t take long before the distant gobbler began to get louder, 300 yds, then 200 yds, and finally he gobbled at 150 yds on the ridge directly across from us! Finally, I managed to pick the bird out strutting around the ridge toward us. With the hollow between us being wide open hardwoods, the bird locked up on the ridge, waiting for the hen to come out in the opening where he could see her. Knowing that the bird would likely continue to stand there, out of range, and waiting for us, if we continued to call to him, we decided not to call anymore and test the birds patience for a change. It only took about 20 minutes before he couldn’t take it anymore. He broke from strut and marched the last 150 yds in mid strut. At approximately 45 yds, the bird picked us out but it was too late. At the sound of my Mossberg 835, he was on the ground without so much as a flop. After a quick review of the bird, we headed off the mountain to work (we weren’t even late).