Queen Julianne’s First Gobbler

Hunting turkeys was something I had just really gotten into the previous year; up until then I had pretty much stuck to just deer. I had fallen instantly in love with spring gobbler though the very first time I went out. What a thrill my first season was – full of strutting toms, brightly colored heads, and gobbles that could pierce the silence of the morning while at the same time make your heart race and beat just as loud as their call. I had a lot of action that year and even though nothing except hens ever came in range for a shot (and in my state they aren’t legal in the spring unless they’re bearded) sometimes the best memories ever made are during hunts that you never fill your tags.

In 2015, I just had a better feeling about my luck. We had placed trail cams early on to watch the deer grow their antlers and happened to be catching a flock of turkeys several times a week with various jakes and long beards in the mix. Confident this would be “my year” we decided to choose that location as the spot to sit at on opening day. There would be three of us – my fiancé, his dad, and myself – but I knew they both would secretly be holding back in hopes to see me get a bird.

Opening morning came, and like kids on Christmas we were up and out eagerly to our posts before day break. By around 9am we had seen a few hens, heard a few fly down from the roost, and heard some gobbles in the distance, but it was a no-go for seeing any toms yet. Right as we were about to go in for breakfast along came one lone long beard. I pulled up, took the shot, and down he went! I racked another shell into my gun but as I was doing that he was somehow able to get up and fly off into the neighboring woods. We tried to track him down but never had any luck. When we went back to where I shot to see what could have went wrong the only thing we could figure was some of my pattern must have gotten soaked up by a few green briars that were in front of him.

Though it was slightly disappointing to have missed my dream bird on opening day I didn’t let that break my spirits to what the rest of the season might have in store. I knew those birds traveled that area so I was back up and at it again Monday for round two! This time, however, it was just my fiancé and I who ventured out and we decided to mix things up by taking our bows and sitting in a blind. That morning we set some decoys and literally were just getting settled in the blind when Ryan heard some movement. We peaked through a hole in the blind behind us just in time to see a hen with a jake walking our way! I quietly got my bow up, my heard was racing, and right as I drew back my stabilizer ended up bumping the blind. The hen quickly noticed and took off, unfortunately with my jake following her. We only saw one hen for the rest of the day but no gobbler luck again.

Day three was just the two of us again; we were back in the blind but this time brought the guns. It was another quiet morning and the birds were practically silent as usual – a few gobbles off in the distance was all we heard. By mid-morning we were getting a little restless and thinking about going in for breakfast. Ryan had decided to stand to stretch his legs when suddenly he elbowed me. As I turned around to see what was going on there were two bright red heads of a pair of jakes standing directly in front of us, they had traveled there just as silently as all the others we had seen. This was my moment and there was no time to waste! I threw that 12 gage up as quickly and quietly as I could, found a clear shot, and pulled the trigger…turkey down!

This time, luckily, the bird I shot stayed down and I was able to walk up and hold him for the first time; he was beautiful! Not only was he an awesome trophy for my wall but also provided me with quality organic meat and a story to last a lifetime! I also collected every wing and body feather that was on the ground (as well as clipping a few more) to put into my bouquet I’ll carry down the aisle when I get married this October.

Looking back it’s funny to think that what started out as a “loss of a long beard” turned into days of fun, memories, and the harvesting of my first jake, a bird that I will probably always cherish more than any amount of long beards in my whole lifetime. It just goes to show whether you get an animal or not, in the end there is no such thing as an unsuccessful hunt!

Jun 01, 2016 | Category: Blog, Turkey Hunting | Comments: none


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