Sunday, June 12, 2011

Linda and Ashley's Turkey Hunts

My husband, Bob, and I had been rolling out of bed long before dawn, off and on, for a week. It was the end of Maine's opening week of spring turkey hunting 2006. Bob had already tagged out on a nice Tom two days earlier, which he had called in while I was toiling away at work. Now it was Saturday and it was my turn to go after an Eastern Gobbler of my own.

We thought the birds would be roosted in the tall trees adjacent to one of the fields we frequently hunt. This had been one of those seasons when the turkeys just didn't want to cooperate and roost in the same area two nights in a row.

We set up our decoys in the field and concealed ourselves in a hedgerow along the edge. As dawn approached, the first gobbles of the morning echoed down the ridge. Unfortunately, the gobbles from the roosted birds were coming from a long way off. As time went by, it became obvious that, no matter what calls Bob made we were not going to entice these gobblers to come looking for love.
After what seemed like an eternity, Bob whispered "Are you up for a hike?" I quickly agreed, as I knew that there was a farm road that would allow us to approach the oak ridge where the turkeys were gobbling without spooking them.

We eased along the old dirt road and approached the area where my husband had taken his Tom earlier in the week. We stopped and listened, as we started to move along again, turkeys started to gobble. They were close... real close! Bob motioned to me to look for a place where we could set up our decoys and plan an ambush. As we looked over a small crest in the road, we could see a bright red head of a strutting Tom in the middle of the dirt road about 50 yards away. We both dropped to our knees, but we knew the bird had spotted our movement and listened for the tell tale putting of an alarmed turkey as he left the scene. To' our amazement, we never heard a putt.

We peeked over the small crest in the hill and, to our surprise; the long beard was coming toward us. Bob motioned to me to get down and to lay flat on my belly next to him. We were lying prone in the middle of the road as the Tom crested the hill. I had my 20 gauge Mossburg up to my shoulder and ready. To our increasing surprise, as the Tom spotted us in the road, he began to run toward us at a full gallop.

We were totally camouflaged and we think that he may have thought we were other turkeys. We also realized that, in our haste to hit the deck, the decoy Bob had been carrying was now lying in the road. It is possible that the approaching Tom thought that a more dominant bird was injured and he was coming in to get in a few licks of his own.

Whatever the reason, the Tom kept on coming at full speed. When I thought he was within range, I whispered to Bob "Now?" "Not yet?' he replied. I waited. "NOW?" "No, not yet: he replied again. "NOW?" I insisted. Bob finally gave me the green light. "Take him," he whispered loudly.
I had my front bead low on the bird's chest because as he was running, his head was bobbing around so much that I was having a hard time keeping him in my sights. As I squeezed the trigger, the shot toppled the Gobbler over backwards as if he had been run over.

It was at that point that I noticed he was being followed by a group of Jakes. Bob told me that he had seen them the whole time lagging behind the Tom. I had been so intent on making a good shot, that I hadn't even noticed them.

We hugged and admired my second long beard in two years of turkey hunting. The bird weighed 16 pounds and sported a 9-inch beard. While my Gobbler wasn't quite as big as Bob's, the hunt was one of the most exciting we have ever had.  Congrats Linda (Sunshine)!

Ashley Elliot, 11,
from Mount Vernon, Maine
with her first turkey, a Jake, weighing 15lbs.
My Congrats to you also Ashley!  Like Daughter like Mother!


  1. How great, just 11 and her first bird! :) And it is really big birds to.

  2. It is a big bird...Ashley is about 15 or 16 now. And thanks so much for your visit. She's also a deer hunter and just posted one she got a few weeks ago on my other site at: