A shared bird
My turkey season was sure not what I was hoping it would be. My first one out of college, with job, house, and hunting land all close enough that before work hunts and especially after work hunts were feasible, I had big expectations. I won't bore you with all the details of why it didn't work out, but it consists of working my first tax season, trying to keep up with the six yards I mow, a lingering tired feeling from my radiation treatments last winter, and most of all, studying for a cpa exam. Add on to that, the turkeys seemingly never roosted on my main land for the first time I can remember, and my season pretty much sucked. I don't have an exact count of hunts, but I think I made around 8, which is much lower than normal.
Saturday morning, April 13 was the only exception. It was the first and would end up being the only time that my dad and I got to hunt by ourselves all season. The walk up the listening hill was halted with the sound of distant gobbles. Some 500 yards off of our property line we estimated, right where the birds on that side had been most of the season. We decided to ignore them in hopes that something on us would gobble. Our decision was rewarded, but to make a long story short, those birds were roosted on the other property line, flew down into the adjacent cutover, and proceeded to gobble at our calls for the next hour as they marched away.
We headed back, I was honestly ready to go to the house and catch a few more hours of sleep, but when my dad asked if I wanted to see how close the other birds were I agreed, mostly hoping to find a shed or two in a food plot that direction. As we neared, we let loose a yelp, answered by a hen cutting and followed by a gobble on our land. We drew up a game plan to circle the food plot and dip down into a creek and go from there. Once down the creek, a few more gobbles had let us know that we were probably stuck there, and a quick peak over the edge confirmed that. The bird was strutting back and forth about 100 yards through the hardwoods.
I stood on my toes to the left of my dad, he shoots lefty so my plan was that he would shoot any bird that came into the right and I'd get one to the left. After 20 minutes of a lot of calling and a lot of gobbling(we hunt a little differently; he cranks out the yelps and cranks them out often, I'm much more reserved.... he's much more successful), the bird broke strut and began a slow meandering walk toward the ditch. I had the visual on the bird as a tree was blocking most of my dad's view. As he neared, I took my safety off and shouldered and beaded up on the head, but he cut my dads direction hard at that point and my window of opportunity was gone. I whispered to my dad what had happened, and watched as he slipped his call into his pocket, shouldered, and shot(I couldn't see the bird).
On the trigger pull I expected a laugh or him to turn and say something to me, or quite frankly, anything other than what I got. He just stood on his tip toes(we both stand around 6'2" and the ditch was at least 7 ft in that spot) with a confused look on his face, and finally said "I think I stunned him." That sent me into a panic, up the hill, and beaded down on the bird running straight away at about 40 yards. The nitro did its job and the bird went to flopping that time.
To my dad's defense, he was shooting through a good bit of briars. Still funny to mess with him about having to bail him out. Guess you would say that it was truly a "shared bird".
10" beard, right at 1" spurs.
I figure God only gave me so many sunrises, I might as well not miss one.
Realtree Hoyt Fraternity Member #2