- Nov 19, 2012
- Reaction score
In Illinois, we have 5 short seasons, one after the other, in order for everyone to get a chance at the turkeys with fewer hunters in the woods. The permits are issued by lottery drawings. The first season ended Friday. I had hunted the first two days without a chance at a gobbler. They were around, but would not respond to calls. Friday I went out well before first light to set up. I really didn’t have much confidence the hunt would be any different, as for the past several years in my area, the gobblers had little interest in any of our attempts at calling or decoying them in.
Friday was the exception, however. The gobblers and hens were very vocal in the trees near my spot. I didn’t call at all at first, and I didn’t set up a decoy. I waited to see where the turkeys would go when they flew down. They gathered just below the ridge I was on, and were yelping and gobbling constantly. It sounded like there were at least 6 gobblers and several jakes.
When it appeared the flock was working away from me, I started calling softly with my homemade Osage orange box call. I got an immediate response from several gobblers and in minutes, I could see gobblers strutting-just out of range down the hillside. They just wouldn’t come close enough for my flintlock 12 gauge. I kept calling softly and a hen answered and came in close. She walked back and forth, putt-purring until a jake walked in to see what was going on. He hung up at 30 yards, which was at the limit of what I wanted to shoot. Also, by then, my arms were shaking from holding the gun in position for 10 minutes. I pulled the trigger and the bird rolled to the ground, with feathers flying from his neck and body. However, he flopped right up again and flew up into a tall tree. I quickly reloaded, and walked up to finish him off. In Illinois, we can’t shoot a turkey out of a tree before 7:30. I checked the time, and it was 7:37, so I dropped him out of the upper branches. He looked about to fall out anyway.
When I plucked him, it appeared my first shot had only put a few pellets in the neck and breast.