The Year of the Double: Part 2
Kill Number One of the Second Double
The second story takes place on my good friend’s family farm in Northeast Mississippi. The property is made up of mature hardwoods, early to mid-staged hardwoods, pine plantations, and fallowed fields. My friend, Scott, had heard two turkeys gobbling across the creek in the mature hardwoods for the past three days. He tried calling them across the creek into one of his food plots, where he had game camera pictures of them earlier in the year, with no luck. That night we devised a plan to cross the creek well before daylight and make a big circle through the young hardwoods. This would put us on the back side of the big timber and right in the middle of where he had been hearing the gobblers.
We left Scott’s house walking a good hour before gobbling time and did exactly what we talked about the night before. After we made it across the creek and through the young hardwoods, we sat down on the edge of the big timber a good twenty minutes before what normal gobbling time would be. Only ten minutes had passed when an owl opened up with his classic call. To our surprise a gobble followed! It was still black dark! The bird was about two hundred yards away, so we moved out into the big timber about fifty yards and then turned and eased up to about a hundred and twenty yards or so to the gobbling turkey. We positioned ourselves in front of a big oak that was up hill of the bird. The spot also had good visibility with good cover, which made it the perfect set up.
I waited a few minutes to let us get settled and to allow it to lighten up a little before I called. After about ten minutes I opened with a few tree yelps and some soft clucks with an immediate response from the gobbler. I turned and whispered to Scott that we were in the money. One of us was going to get a shot. I waited about five minutes or so and repeated the series of calls from the time before. The gobbler we were setup on hammered right back and to our surprise another gobbler fired off only fifty yards from our position! Wow! How did we get this close to this bird without him seeing us? I guess since it was so dark when we were approaching the other bird we slipped in unnoticed.
I whispered again to Scott and told him not to move, one of the gobblers was right there. The next fifteen minutes was a gobble fest between the two birds. They gobbled back and forth to each other at, crows, owls, and pretty much anything else that made a sound. I decided to make one more light series of clucks and yelps with both birds cutting me off. Then suddenly the closest bird flew out of the tree heading straight for us and glided right over our heads close enough to feel the air off his wings. As he flew by I swung my gun around, and as he landed ten yards away I laid him out with my 20 gauge. Kill number one of the second double was on the ground and another 20-20 accomplished.
Kill number Two of the Second Double
Knowing that my bird was not going anywhere, we sat tight and waited to see what would happen with the second turkey. Come to find out as I was pulling the trigger on my bird the other turkey was in mid-flight. Instead of landing on the ground, he lit in a tree about eighty yards from our position. The gobbler was obviously spooked by the shotgun blast so I waited fifteen minutes or so before I started calling again. My first series of calls was quickly answered with a gobble. I thought we were in the money again! The bird responded well to my calls for the next twenty minutes but seemed afraid to fly down.
In the mean time, I could hear some hens approaching from behind us. I eased my head around the big oak we were sitting by and could see several hens and a couple of jakes headed our way. They walked up to where the turkey I shot earlier was lying and walked around it making all kinds of crazy noises. One of the jakes even took the liberty of pecking the dead gobbler’s head for a minute. As I was watching the show behind us, Scott was keeping an eye on the gobbler that was still in the tree. I just knew all the hens in the area would make him fly down. Stubbornly, he remained on the limb. Suddenly, I could here another turkey walking behind us. It was another long beard headed towards us! As soon as he saw the hens, he immediately went into full strut. I told Scott to try to ease his gun around the other side of the big oak. This gobbler was only twenty yards away. All Scott had to do was slowly maneuver around the big oak and pull the trigger. Well this was easier said than done. You see, Scott is a pretty good sized boy and stealth is not one his strong suits. In the process of him getting into position, one of the very close hens saw him moving and alerted the flock. Her alert sent them all fleeing up the hill and into the edge of the young hardwoods that we walked through earlier. When the turkeys were about a hundred yards from us they calmed down. The long beard even started gobbling and strutting again. Finally, the gobbler in the tree flew down and joined the party only to be met by a little opposition from the other gobbler. They never really got into a fight but they chased each other around for a bit until one chased the other out of sight into the young hardwoods. What a show!
I told Scott I did not believe that we could call the birds back to us from this location. So we picked up where we were and made a fish hook maneuver up the hill and in the direction of where we had seen the turkeys last. I positioned Scott a few yards in front of me in a nice spot. We just sat tight for about thirty minutes before we started calling, which allowed things to calm down again. I made a few series of calls with no vocal response from any of the turkeys. I waited ten minutes or so and made another series of calls with still no response. Just as I was beginning to think that both of the long beards had left the county, I noticed a turkey silently walking towards us. It was one of the long beards from earlier headed straight for us. Once the gobbler made it into range, I told Scott to shoot him. Bam! Kill number two of the second double had just been cut a cart-wheel at around 40 yards.
Posted by Mark Newell