First time Turkey Success

kroppr77

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2020
Messages
21
Location
Wisconsin
2020 is my first spring that I actively tried to get a gobbler on the ground. I would see turkey throughout the fall while bow hunting and they never really captured my interest. I would hear the toms in the woods come spring time, and that always made me wonder. I was mainly unable to hunt turkey the last 4 years due to playing college football, and have spring ball all through turkey season. I wrapped up my last season this last December. This year was the first year in a long while I was free to roam the woods.
I listened to two podcasts one day at work that got me very interested; a recent one on The MeatEater podcast, and “Turkey: the 25 pound elk” from the hunt Backcountry Podcast which goes pretty far back in their episodes. They both really got me interested in how fun the hunting can be when they are gobbling, how tough turkey have it just to become adults, and all the small things that go into a successful turkey hunt. I decided this is the year, I purchased a turkey tag for my home state of Wisconsin.
I had high hopes off the bat with multiple toms being on our trail cameras, constant gobbling in the mornings, and random sightings in our field of toms but nothing predictable. The first couple of mornings I went out we would see hens and hear gobbling, but wind or probably my lack of knowledge shut them down. The last few days I decided to shut up and let the birds do their thing. The first morning I decided to do this was after we had 3 toms strutted out on our camera, and one bred a hen. Getting to my sit in the morning I heard the normal gobbling from when they came down, watched the deer make their rounds, and saw the woods come to life. Nothing happened for the most part until I heard the gobbling get closer, I then thought if I call a little I can get them right in...didn’t work that way. Two toms came working down a narrow field with oak and cedar woods on both sides, one of which I was in. 3-5 hens came right into me at about 15-20 yards, but the toms stayed in the field strutted out not coming closer than 45 yards with clear shot, or being covered by brush. They worked a half circle around me responding to my calls for a half hour; constantly gobbling and searching. A hen then left calling, the toms quickly followed. That was the action of that sit, very action filled and fun but it just didn’t happen.
That night I planned to sit in a field that two toms would come into feed every evening. I didn’t have much for cover, so I was in a make shift blind in a fallen down tree on the field edge. I was in the probe position waiting for about 2 hours before they would come. I thought it would be a good idea to have a decoy easily visible in front of me...but bad idea, deer hate it. Roughly 10-15 deer come to feed in the field every night, and immediately were on edge with the decoy. The deer showed up on time, but were investigating the decoy and were constantly checking the wind. They had no idea I was there, frequently coming with 5 yards of me, while I was basically in the open just lying prone. This was easily one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in the outdoors, it made bow range seem like long range! Hearing the deer chew, see all their muscles move, and how yearlings and mature deer acted different from that close was amazing. The time was slowly passing while I was watching the deer in awe, but I knew the toms had to be on their way. The deer kept running around until one blowed, and I heard wing flapping come out of nowhere. I looked up and saw a turkey flying and another running, only about 15 yards away. Here they were, but they were on the other side of my cover and I had no idea they were there. I watched the toms run off into some thick pines, as I don’t want to push anything. It was an amazing experience, but I was ready for the next morning.
Morning came and a hard frost was in the field. I was set up in a shadow hunter blind and waited, I told myself not to call at all. I heard gobbling right around the time I expected, but it was a little more distant and less frequent that usual. About 30 minutes passed and here comes a couple of hens down the trail. I watched them for about 5 minutes, hadn’t heard any gobbling, and wondered where the toms could be. A few more hens came in and I noticed one was a small jake, but I waited. I scanned the field to the left of me and barely saw some movement through the trees. Then I see the distinguishable shape of a tom strutted out, and then see two more strutted out! They were actually coming in unlike the last few days, the no calling strategy was paying off, especially with their complete lack of gobbling. All three toms were working towards me, but turned and went about 100 yards away from down a trail parallel to the one I was near. There was a lot of doubt in this moment, and to make matters worse there were only a few hens in front of me and no jake. What seems like forever to me, eventually passes when I see movement in the thick pine tree ahead of me. I see on tom working his way on an angle to me but flattens off at about 35 yards on the trail ahead of me. This tom was a little smaller than the other two and was very rough looking from sparring with other birds, I then saw a tom following only 10 yards behind. I immediately put my browning maxus up on the shooting window. The tom slowly cleared his way out of the pines and he was right at 37 yards. I clicked the safety off and put the bead right at the base of his neck. Down goes the tom! I shot heavy strut tungsten, in 3 1/2 inch; all I have to say is wow! It hit that bird like a ton of bricks. He was done immediately. I highly recommend this shell to anyone, it perform flawlessly. I watched the turkey run off, but one tom came out of the pines only to attack the downed tom. He was spurring and jumping on it, and then began gobbling. It was truly something I won’t forget, watched him for a couple of minutes before retrieving my bird.
I couldn’t be more happy with this harvest, and it pretty much has me hooked. I might have to purchase a leftover tag to go get the one that attacked the dead bird. The tom had a beard of 10 inches and spurs of just under an inch, incase you’re wondering about that. I don’t know if that’s good, I’m just extremely excited to get a tom. I’ll be posting more pictures to Instagram, you can follow me at kroppr_77
Hope you enjoying reading this, I had a blast. Good luck to all of you this spring!
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MegaMoose

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2020
Messages
13
Location
Culpeper VA
I've always said turkey hunting was the most fun you can have with your clothes on! Congrats man! Many more to come, I'm sure....
 

LeftSlope

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2020
Messages
28
Location
Colorado
Well done! Turkey hunting is an easily acquired taste and is a highlight of my Spring. I look forward to chasing thunder chickens every year.
 
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