Last Friday marked the opening day of turkey season in Madison County. It also marked the first day since white tail season that I’ve stepped in the woods with my bow. Using tips and techniques learned from Ken during our turkey hunt last year, countless YouTube videos, and other online resources I think I have what it takes to be successful. Now getting a shot off with the bow may be a different story. But, I digress.
With the ground blind situated at the corner of family property and decoys placed 22 yards away my season had officially started. The first call sequence was a series of loud yelps. The intent was to encourage a nearby male to gobble. After the 2nd or 3rd sequence a figure emerged from the thickets. Standing a comfortable 120 yards away was my first turkey of the season. I watched as the turkey stood at attention for 10 minutes or better. Eventually it let its guard down and began preening itself. After the 3 or 4 minute grooming session the turkey took several steps and picked up the decoys. It studied them for a while before committing to gaining a closer look.
By this time my heart had jumped in my throat and to be honest I didn’t know what to do. Should I call in an attempt to elicit a gobble or should I simply stay quiet? Ultimately I decided to make a few soft calls. No response. I knew better but I was determined to get this bird to gobble on camera. I finally decided to shut up and let this thing play out. That decision turned out to be the right decision.
The turkey positioned its body towards the blind and started walking down the dirt road that separated properties. Along the way it stopped momentarily to feed. The sun glistening off its back highlighted earth tones that can only be found in nature. Before long it had cut the distance to 80 yards. It was then that I was able to definitively identify it as a hen. I would not be honest if I said I was not a little disappointed. However, the sentiment was short lived as I focused 100% on capturing video. Using the diaphragm call I executed a few soft putts. She continued to follow the path.
Once she hit the 30 yard mark she veered off the trail and into the adjoining winter wheat field. The field offered an endless buffet of insects while the saturated soil made worms readily available. With her appetite being satisfied she zigzagged her way back onto the dirt road. Finally she stood a mere 15 yards away. Her putts became more and more distinctive with each step. At 10 yards, she started to pick up the pace a bit. Maybe the blind was a bit too close for comfort. As she walked past the blind I removed the camera from the tripod, open a side window on the blind and attempted to record through the mesh. By this time she was literally next to the blind! Predictably she continued down the road and out of my view. I sat there amazed that the decoys did their job and my calling didn’t send her running for the hills. I also spent a bit of time trying to figure out where the other turkeys were.
After another hour or so I tore down the blind, gathered my flock of decoys and packed everything out of the area. The next opportunity to hunt the coveted Eastern Turkey would be on Sunday morning.
Feel free to check out the High Definition video here.