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Ive yet to harvest my first Turkey and it seems that whenever I go turkey hunting it always ends up with me shaking my head and talking to myself for at least 6 months afterwards...but damned if it aint fun!

My (should have been) first turkey happened on my very first turkey season back in 93 or 94. I didnt get the bird but I did gain another addiction for life. Went down to Switzerland County in Southern Indiana with a couple buddies to hunt turkey. The first day of Spring season was spent with my "supposedly" expert turkey hunting buddy "Bo" who I later found out never killed a turkey in his life...and I soon found out why. He couldnt stay in one spot for more than 30 minutes. I dont know how many turkeys he spooked after calling them in only to get up and try to "put the sneak on em".

The second day I decided to go out on my own. I set up at the edge of a picked bean field in a depression with my back to a fallen tree. I had picked this spot cause from the field you could only see a person sitting here from the shoulders up. Figured this would cut down on the turkey spotting any movement. I got settled in and sent out a few yelps, and got back a booming gobble from another small patch of woods off to my right.
So began about 2 hours of waiting for the big tom to show up. I had finally givien up cause the bird had shut up and I figured he had moved on to better prospects. My butt was wet, numb, and the rest of my body stiff so I decided to raise up and sit on the tree behind me to stretch out a bit.

After leaning my gun on the tree trunk I pushed myslef up into a sitting position on it and had a good yawn and stretch...and was about to stand up. Thats when I seen the gobbler about 100 yards out. :shock: He was making his way across a depression in the field comin towards me and I hadnt been able to see him. His beard nearly drug the ground and he looked like a pot bellied stove with feathers...at least a 25+lb. bird. I froze, with arms in mid stretch as the gobble had turned slightly towards me...I figured it was over, busted, he'll see me now for sure. But he didnt. What he DID do was decide to stop and strut for about 20 minutes while I sat there frozen like a statue with my arms stretched out in mid yawn. Finnaly after what seemed like an eternity...he slowly turned away from me still in full strut.

I slid back down and let out some soft yelps after gettin my gun ready...and he slowly started coming in. My gun was patterned with #6 shot at 30 yards and I had full confidence that I was bringing this bird home. After waiting for this leary old gobbler to come within range for another 1 1/2 hours....he decided to hang up on a small rise in the field about 45 yards out. And there he stayed and would not budge. Out of frustratiopn and impatience I took a bead on his neck and sent a load of #6 shot his way. Well...thats when i found out old gobblers are pretty tough. That #6 shot rolled him like a bowling ball and he come up off the ground like a cruise missle...he flew about 350-400 yards to the end of the field and hit the ground runnin.

I walked down to the spot where he had landed but found only a feather and some scuffed up ground...no blood at all. I learned the hard way (and lost a fine first bird in the process) that heavy shot is the way to go for tough gobblers. Thats been 9-10 years ago and still no turkey to my credit due to bad spring weather fouling up hunts, lack of funds to go on the hunts, and flat out gettin skunked sometimes....but i gotta tell ya...that first gobbler hooked me for life on turkey hunting...even if he DID win that first encounter.
 

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My first turkey.

This took place almost twenty years ago now. I drove up to the mountains with 3 other guys.

It was the first day of spring turkey season. I knew this because we were late. We were always late the first day of spring turkey. You see, in this state, the state motor vehicle department had taken the decision to have all car registrations expire on the same day of the year. This lead to endless lines, bad tempers, etc. Truck all registrations expired the next month on the same day as the start of the turkey season. My friend was not someone to put off things until the last minute, he always sent in his paperwork it on time to get his new registration, the trouble was that he didn't remember to put on the stickers. Until, that is, we were always half way to the mountains in the wee hours of the morning. Then he would turn around, get the stickers, put them on, and we would start back to the mountains with considerably more illumination.

This happened year after year until the motor vehicle department, in it's infinite wisdom, decided that staggering everyone's expiration date would be an exciting change of pace.

This particular year we arrived and were walking in with the sun well above the ridgeline as usual. I was bringing up the rear because I was unusually slow for my age even then. I was thinking that I would probably end up blundering into someone who'd been setup a hour before dawn and wouldn't be too happy to see me come crashing through the woods.

About this time I saw a red fox go off on a trail which broke off of the one we were on. I signalled to the rest of my group that I was going after the fox and started following it up a hill. I didn't think I had a prayer of tracking it and kept going until the trail came to a large flat area that had been clear-cut some time in the past. With no sign of the fox, I stopped to answer the call of nature. While I was in mid-stream, so to speak, I looked over to the edge of the clear-cut where it met some woods and watched a gobbler stroll. I did a double take.

I quickly reached the decision that I should immediately raise my shotgun and leave my other business unfinished for the moment. I aimed and shot. The gobbler's head seemed to flail and it rolled away from me and out of sight.

I ran after it, while simultaneosly zipping up with my free hand. I came to the edge of the clear-cut and found that the woods were on a slope. The gobbler was no where in sight. I made a few zig-zags and but didn't find anything. Several minutes had past and my friends showed up. They thought I had shot the fox. I explained that I shot a turkey and they joined in the search.

After 20 minutes or so, there was still no sign of it and these guys were beginning to doubt I'd hit it at all. My friend who was driving mentioned something about "that guy and his son". I said, "What guy and his son". My friend said that there was someone hunting with their son on the edge of the clear-cut when they came up after hearing the shot. I was beginning to wonder if they had claimed my turkey.

My buddies were about to give up helping me look. I told them, "I'm going to keep on looking until I find it because I know it's on this mountain".

I finally expanded my search to about 25 yards from where I shot it and found the gobbler lying dead about 45 degrees from where it figured it would have gone if it rolled straight downhill.

I obviously broke it's neck and it ran around a little afterwards. Either that or it had help getting to it's final resting place. I'm not sure.
 
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