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Rhino

Crazy recovery!!!

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Wednesday was, to say the least, a very memorable turkey hunt going for the last of my 3 gobbler limit in MS.  I didn't get on a cooperative gobbler that morning but a friend of mine bagged his 1st bird of the season.  That afternoon me, my buddy Skip, and Paul (killed the bird that morning) decided we'd all go set up in a place near where Paul killed his bird that morning.  With a lot of pig sign there from falling water in the Big Black River that had flooded this 70 ac. field, they were looking for an opportunity to cut into the pig problem while I turkey hunted.  I set up my DSD decoys and we set out our portable turkey blinds with 3 turkey hunting chairs.  After about an hour Paul says "is that a turkey on the other side of the creek".  There's another 12 ac. field across a still flooded creek ~400 yards N of the 70 ac. field we're we set up.  I glass...yep...2 mature gobblers.  Paul and I start calling and to our surprise both birds fly across the creek and slowly start working toward us.  In business.  As they are working toward our front left side they are suddenly spooked by something SW of us where we can't see.  They hit the air and touch down somewhere inside the timber ~80 yards from us.  I whisper to Paul & Skip...they didn't spook from us so good chance they'll be back.  About 20 minutes passes when they ease out at ~80 yards.  Paul and I crank up clucking and purring.  Both birds start slowly coming in.  When they get to what I that was about 35 yards but behind some thin dead weeds growing though a disk in front of us (you can see it in the pic) I felt like I had a good open shot in a thin spot though the higher part of the dead weeds.  It ended up being 43 steps.  I roll the thicker bearded gobbler over there.  He gets up and hits the air.  I knock him back down with my 2nd shot.  His partner hits the ground with him and breaks into a strut with my wounded bird that gets back to his feet.  When a clear 3rd shot is offered my gun misfires...panic mode now...I reload and it doesn't fire again.  Now I slam a new shell in as both birds head toward the timber.  The unharmed bird leaves 1st.  My wounded bird is slower since he's real sick.  When I have a clear shot I knock him down again flopping just inside the timber.  Paul and I do a high 5 and then we go over to recover him.  Now...what happens next is going to sound unbelievable but I promise it's true and fortunately I have 2 witnesses.  When we get to where the bird was flopping inside the wood line, he's not there.  This is at the base of an extremely steep ridge.  I start climbing the ridge slowly looking for my bird.  Suddenly, there he is about 10 yards above me...standing up.  I freeze and point.  Paul says you found him.  I respond...he's still on his feet.  Paul...WHAT!!!  I point to the bird and Paul eases to his right below me to where he sees my bird.  Now...I made the mistake of leaving my shotgun in the blind, convinced my bird is dead.  Wrong thing to do.  My gobbler has his head up and turns to his left and I can tell he's left eye has been knocked out.  Yep blinded on his left side.  I opted to do what is probably a bad decision (hindsight) but in the excitement of the moment I figure I can get him right there.  I ease up 1 step at a time.  With each step the bird turns his blind eye toward me and I freeze after each step until he turns his head away.  I finally get within a yard of him...one step at a time.  This ridge is so steep he's at eye level now when I'm that close.  Now...I know my only chance is to grab both legs of this standing up bird at the same time or he's going to tear me up with the spur on his free leg.  I lean forward and quickly snatch hold of both of his legs.  Now the bird starts beating me with his wings.  Paul's hollering...stomp on his head.  I'm trying to but every time I do I start slipping down the side of the ridge off of him.  This goes on through several attempts until Paul gets up to me to stomp on his head for me.  Paul looks at me and says...if you had told me that story I would have said there's no way that happened but I saw it with my own eyes.  Then he said someday I'll be telling my grandkids about this and they're going to look me in the eye and just say...come on pop!  My 3rd MS gobbler has a 9 5/8" thick beard and 1" spurs...along with a flattened out head.

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LMBO at you Martin...yep...that was a 1st and will be the last time I EVER do that.  BTW...talked to Redbeard, he laughed and shared one of his stories when he snatched one by the neck that was standing like a flamingo (on 1 leg) behind a big oak he'd shot.  As usual, a funny Redbeard story.

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