Thunder No More, A Turkey Hunt.

Discussion in 'California Flyway Forum' started by Johnny Ringo, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. Johnny Ringo

    Johnny Ringo Elite Refuge Member

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    My buddy Sam and I have been at it for a few weeks now. We've been defeated more times this season, than any previous season that I can remember. Our last hunt out there, about two weeks ago, every time we had a working bird, a hen would run in yelping and steal him away. One tom in particular, flew down from a ridge above, crossed a fence line and was heading straight towards us, when a hen came out of nowhere... he stopped in his tracks about 100 yards away, ended up breeding with her and Sam and I couldn't do anything but watch. We were hopeful that our hunt on Sunday would be different, and it was... but not at first.

    Sunday morning, we decided to sit in an area that we've always talked about hunting, up on the hill. Birds always cross there and the hill ties into a big ridge line on an adjacent property, 1000's of acres of open land. As we're setting up the decoys and the blind, birds are lighting up the rolling hills and California oaks all around us. We count about 10-12 birds, and we're thinking... today is going to be the day. When the birds hit the ground it sounded like we had a group of 3 working our way, but then we heard a hen, once again... deal breaker. The morning would continue like this, hens all around us and no sight of the toms. They were there, definitely in the area, though they went fairly silent about mid morning. We heard a hen behind us, before we knew it, we could hear her purring right behind the blind. I peaked out the window, couldn't see her due to all the brush, but I thought, man.... she sounds like she's right there. As the morning continued, we finally had a single bird working in from the big property. Closer and closer he got, until I caught movement out of my side of the blind, there he was... but he was about 70-80 yards out and running for what seemed like, his life. He certainly was, because right behind him was a cow chasing after him. I kid you not, and it's actually not the first time we have watched one of them cows run a tom off. Anyway, so it went... about 10:00 o'clock, we decide to get up and stretch the legs and take a look around. As we exit the blind, that hen we heard real close behind us... she hops up about 3 feet from me and takes off. I just figured she liked to listen to me call, while she naps.

    Up on our feet, I glass up five toms with a few hens, at one point in time, these birds were right below us... but I was looking at them from a great distance at this point and they were on another property. We heard a few birds sounding off in the southern portion of our property at first light, so we decided to move that way in hopes that one of those birds was still in the area. About noon, we called it... heard one bird gobble off in the distance and had two hens sneak in for a peak... but that was it. We packed up, went and talked to the landowner... He found it quite funny that we hadn't killed anything yet. Me, not so much.... anyway, as we were pulling out of the driveway, I look off into the distance and I see birds moving towards our property. They are way out there, but I look at Sam and say, dude, I think they're going to cross back. He was ready for some lunch, but I had a feeling. Thankfully, he trusted me. Sam grabs the blind and the chairs, I grab the DSD upright hen and off we go.

    We set up in a really tight, choked off area... as I tried to get us as close to the birds without them seeing us. We setup the blind, I put the DSD out and set her up high. I called and got an answer, he sounded like he was still a couple hundred yards out. I called again... nothing. We waited. I would periodically let out some very quiet yelps, but we just sat there, waiting. Finally, I caught a glimpse of him out about 80 yards behind some brush, but then he ducked down into the tall grass. We waited some more, nothing, then Sam sees two toms poke their heads up from the grass, same direction we saw the single tom, they're silent. We keep looking at the last place we saw the two birds, but we haven't caught any movement in awhile. Then I catch something out of the window on my side, the pair, but they are moving behind us. I softly yelp, we get an answer, but he's on Sam's side up on the hill behind, but close. Moments later, I see him. He's casually walking, feeding. He still hasn't seen the decoy, but he is moving towards it. He clears a tree and has a perfect view of the DSD, he goes into full strut, and slowly moves in. I grab my camera, and I tell Sam to get ready. Just as I am about to call the shot for Sam, we hear two birds sound off right behind us. Sam, let's down. I still want him to kill the bird by the decoy, but Sam is certain the other two will come in. He peaks out a window behind us, and says, they're running in. I drop the camera, grab my gun... seconds all three birds are together... we pull up, they catch our movement. They run, one bird on the left, the other bird on the right, the third bird pulls away completely... Sam and I pull almost at the exact same time. Thus, thunder no more...

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  2. Red foot

    Red foot Elite Refuge Member

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    Damn, not everybody has such experiences! Nice to be in an area with so many available birds!
     
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  3. Calikev

    Calikev Elite Refuge Member

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    Nice story Aaron. Congrats on some hard earned toms! They sometimes make us pull our hair out as they seem to most often have other designs on where they want to be and that isn't where we are! Your persistence paid off well and Sam owes you a beer for the convincing act. I screwed up royally this weekend on a tom and didn't trust my turkey hunting instincts like I should have. I blew a hard earned opportunity on public land and haven't been able to stomach not closing the deal correctly. It happens to all of us for sure from the rookies to the seasoned veterans who spend a lot of days in the field.

    Relish in your success and hopefully you are back out again soon to do it all over again!

    Kevin
     
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  4. Dakillaofnada

    Dakillaofnada Senior Refuge Member

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    great hunt and even better story! Stick and stay make em pay!
     
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  5. mudhen

    mudhen Elite Refuge Member

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    Good story brother!!
     
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  6. Mean Gene

    Mean Gene Elite Refuge Member Flyway Manager

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    Finally in a free state.
    :tu:tu:tu
     
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  7. OGblackcloud

    OGblackcloud Elite Refuge Member

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    Great write up and congrats to you both :tu
     
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  8. DkKiller&Max

    DkKiller&Max Elite Refuge Member

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    I Like IT!
     
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  9. Johnny Ringo

    Johnny Ringo Elite Refuge Member

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    This is the truth, Kevin. Hunting with my buddy Sam, who's fairly new to hunting... I see the anxiousness in him that I used to have. The impatience during a sit, especially, when there are no birds talking, and you haven't had any action for quite some time. The instincts you talk about, I believe those develop the most through failures. I've had some easy hunts on public land and many on private, but I would say more times than not, things rarely go as I would like them to or had planned... the difference maker now, and perhaps why I am more successful these days than past, is the instincts that I have developed through all those failed hunts and wrong moves. Knowledge is a powerful tool.
     
  10. Dan Mallia

    Dan Mallia Elite Refuge Member

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    Strong work, nice story.
     

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