The Year of the Double: Part 1
Spring of 2010 was by far the most awesome turkey season I have ever hunted. It was just one of those magical seasons when there were lots of turkeys and almost every hunt seemed to go as planned. In my home state of Mississippi, I was fortunate enough to be directly involved with three doubles during that epic 2010 season. The state allows each hunter to harvest three adult gobblers in the spring and it was pretty awesome that all three of mine were involved with a double of some kind. Each one of these doubles is a little different; however, each one of these ended with two turkeys being displayed for the camera. These stories will be told to you in a three part series. I hope you enjoy them at least half as much as my hunting buddies and I did bringing them to you.
Kill Number One of the First Double
The first story begins before daylight on timber company land that is part of our hunting club lease in East Central Mississippi. It was a mature track of pine timber with rolling hills and deep hollows. I knew this block of woods was loaded with turkeys. Some creditable Intel of a gobbling bird in the area added to the anticipation of the morning hunt. As the woods began to come alive with the sounds of spring, my friend and I listened carefully for that first gobble. We had just driven two hours and walked another twenty minutes to get to this spot, so our eagerness to here a gobble was definitely higher than normal. Finally, a distant gobble was heard! Listening even more intently, we focused our attention in that direction in order to hone in on the exact location of the gobbler. Minutes went by, which seemed like forever, when another gobbler fired off only a couple hundred yards away. This was the bird we were looking for! I knew the exact location of where the roosted gobbler was, so my friend and I quickly made our way down a logging road that twisted its way through the block of timber.
Quickly but quietly, we got into position on top of a ridge where I could see down the road to the left and my hunting partner could see up the road to the right. Basically, the logging road ran east and west with the turkey a hundred yards or so directly to our north. There was a major pine thicket to the gobbler’s north so I felt like he had to come south, therefore coming out somewhere in the road on which we were setup.
The turkey was not gobbling much, so I kept the calling to a minimum and added some scratching in the leaves for realism. After about thirty minutes or so the gobbler finally flew down in our direction. I quickly shouldered my 20 gauge and put my thumb on the safety anticipating him to immediately walk out into the road in front of me. After not seeing or hearing anything for about fifteen minutes, I made a simple yelp from my mouth call. Bam! He gobbled just fifty yards away. He sounded like he was going to walk out in front of Rob, my hunting partner. I turned my head slowly and looked his way so I could watch him shoot. Again, fifteen minutes or so went by and nothing. I made another simple yelp from my mouth call and Bam! He gobbled again, this time only forty yards away and straight out in front of me! I quickly shouldered my 20 gauge and pushed the safety off this time, knowing that he was about to walk out in front of me. Almost instantly I could hear the crunching leaves of him walking straight towards me. If the bird made it to the road he would be in point blank range from my setup. Fortunately, I saw him in the woods before he made it to me and I put him on his back at only twenty yards. It was what I like to call a 20-20, which is killing a turkey with my 20 gauges at 20 yards or less. That was kill number one of the first double.
Kill Number Two of the First Double
After Rob and I made it out of the woods with my bird, we met up with our hunting buddies, Chris and Austin. We checked out my kill and talked turkey for about ten minutes or so. They had heard some turkeys that morning but just couldn’t get on one. I told them that we had talked enough and it was time to hit the woods again. As we quickly threw out potential hunting locations, we decided to hunt a block of woods that was family land of Austin (my cousin) and I. I had been on a gobbling bird in that block of woods earlier in the week at midday and just could not close the deal. The plan was to do some team hunting and hopefully one of the other guys could get a shot.
This property was primarily hardwoods with two big fields in the middle. After parking the truck, we walked up a timber company land road that bordered our family property and stopped on top of a hill where a small logging road intersected. I told the other guys to listen as I made some calls in hopes of getting a response out of another gobbler. As I was making a series of cuts and yelps the guys pointed their fingers all in the same direction. A turkey had fired off somewhere toward the back field. We walked another hundred yards or so toward the field and I made another series of calls. The bird gobbled right back and confirmed his location to us. We eased up to the field and could see him about two hundred yards away all by himself. We quickly eased back into some cover and devised a plan. Chris and Austin would approach the gobbler from the direction where we had last seen him, while I took Rob around to the backside of the field were we would make our approach. These two setups would put us in the two best ambush locations along this field. As Rob and I were moving toward our position, we could here the bird firing off at Chris and Austin’s calling. I remember jokingly telling Rob as we were walking, “Those sorry jokers, they are not even going to let us get into position. They will have the bird in shotgun range before we can get setup.” The gobbler sounded like he was slowly moving closer and closer to them and away from us. By the time we got into position, we had just enough time to watch the long beard turn a flip as Austin pulled the trigger. This was team hunting with friends at its finest! We quickly made our way to the lucky hunter and all four of us exchanged high fives, lots of laughs, and talked a lot of smack. Austin had just lain to rest kill number two of the first double.
Posted by Mark Newell