This story begins with my friend Chris (mentioned in Part 1 of this article) and I doing some team hunting on a turkey we called Crazy, back on my home ground of East Central Mississippi. The “Chronicles of Crazy” will have to be for another article or maybe even a book with all the stories my hunting partners and I have to tell about him. However, Chris and I were separated during the hunt for Crazy and ended up on two different turkeys. After not having any luck with Crazy I returned to the truck and text messaged Chris to check his location and the status of his hunt. His reply was short and simple, “I am on one.” It was still early, and not knowing exactly where Chris was, I decided to leave that area and go check out another piece of property I could easily access. Chris and I had gotten on a bird in this area the week before and had no luck with him. Maybe things would go my way this time.
This property is made up of about 100 acres of early growth pine plantation, or in Mississippi words a “pine thicket,” and about one hundred acres of mature mixed pine and hardwood. This is one of those hit or miss spots where turkeys do not stay in all the time. Hopefully I could catch a mature gobbler hanging out in the big woods looking for a hen. I parked the truck in an old logging road in the pine thicket and walked toward the front corner of the big woods. I stopped fifty yards from the open woods and put my mouth call in. I made only a few calls when a gobbler sounded off just eighty yards away from me. I was standing only twenty yards away from a public gravel road. This was unbelievable! After quickly getting my gear ready, I moved towards him ten yards or so and sat down. I made another call or two and a second turkey gobbled across the road behind me. This bird was several hundred yards away and on the other side of the road, so I paid him little attention at the time. I called again with no response from the bird I was set up on. All kinds of thoughts started going through my mind. “Did he see me since I was so close to him? Because I was so close to the road, did he go the other way?” After pondering these things for about five minutes, I made another series of calls with an immediate response. He gobbled only forty yards away! I quickly turned my gun into the direction I heard him last. I was sitting on top of a big hill. Instead of the bird coming up the gently sloped ridge I was facing, he came up the steep hollow to my right. I could only see roughly fifteen yards in that direction, so the turkey would be right on top of me when he popped out. Seconds later I could hear him walking and then drumming. He was just under the hill, and all I could hear was DRUUUMMM, DRUUUMMMM. With all of that drumming so close and not being able to see him, my heart was about to jump out of my chest. Finally, his full fan popped over the hill as the gobbler was strutting his way straight towards me. All I could see was the top part of his fan as the bird eased up to about twelve yards directly behind a tree in front of me. I took a gamble and shifted my 20 gauge to the right, hoping that was the direction he was going to go. Well, he went left, but only for a second and he quickly turned right and walked out in my shotgun’s line of fire. He never knew what hit him. I had just taken the third of my three-bird limit, all of them being 20 yards or less from a 20 gauge. This was the first of the third double.
Kill Number Two of the Third Double
Well, do you remember the second turkey I previously mentioned I heard across the road? As I was waiting for my turkey to come into range, I could here the second turkey gobbling his head off at a distance. I quickly checked out my bird and made my way back to the truck. I headed back to where Chris and I started that morning, just in time to see him walking up the road toward me. I told him, “Get in the truck, we’ve got to go!” I told him about my hunt and about the other gobbling turkey across the road. We quickly drove the short four miles back to the other property and parked again where I was previously. We listened for a few minutes, hearing no gobbles. I made a couple series of calls and still no response. After blowing crow calls, owl calls, and more turkey calls with no answer, I was starting to think the bird had left the area. I told Chris the last time I heard the gobbler was toward another road that runs down the east side of the property. So we pulled around the public road and parked in the mouth of the other logging road. We walked down that road about a quarter mile or so and made a series of calls. We instantly found him! The bird was in the middle of a two-year-old cutover. We moved quickly yet quietly through a ten-year-old pine plantation, and settled in a couple tree rows shy of the cutover. After a minute or two, Chris and I both talked sweetly to the gobbler with some soft clucks and yelps. As the bird gobbled back, he immediately popped into view about two hundred yards ahead in the cutover. I thought to myself that this might take a while. He could strut out in that open cutover for hours and still not come close enough for a shot. After watching him a few minutes, the bird went out of site behind a brush top. I could not tell which direction the turkey was going, so I made a few calls with no answer. A minute or so later Chris made some calls and again nothing. Suddenly, the bird appeared in front of us only forty yards away! How he got there that fast without us seeing him is still a mystery today. The bird strutted up to about thirty yards and Chris laid him out with his 20 gauge. Kill number two of the third double was also Chris’s third bird of our Mississippi limit taken that year. Again, what a year!!
The spring turkey season of 2010 will not soon be forgotten. Not only were things great in Mississippi that year, but in other states I hunted as well. A preacher friend of mine tagged out on Merriam’s in Wyoming while visiting a missionary friend of ours. Also that year, two of my hunting buddies, Chris and Austin, and I killed five turkeys in Kansas; one of mine being a Rio Grande. Three out of the four that make up a slam is not bad in one year. Hopefully the Lord will allow me the opportunity to go to South Florida and hunt an Osceola to complete my slam. That is my dream. However, I will take a season like the one in 2010 over one hunt in Florida any day.
I hope you will enjoy a turkey hunting experience this up-coming season like the one I had in 2010. If so, we at Tecomate would love to hear about it on our Facebook page. Please feel free to share your turkey hunting stories and pictures with us and the rest of our followers. Personally, I am counting down the days, which is now down to single digits by the way, for our season opener on March 15. The turkey forecast looks good around here, but you never know. We will just have to see how the cookie crumbles.
God Bless and Happy Hunting.