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 I Turkey Hunt
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Can you tell I love to hunt Turkey's? After all I started this website in order to promote the sport and to help others enjoy it. Would you believe that today, April 15th 2005 I shot my first Turkey. I have been hunting this elusive bird for 3 years and never killed one and only taken 2 shots prior to this.
Patience finally paid off.
The morning started off the way it normally does for a Turkey Hunter. The alarm went off and I said to my self its WAY too SOON for that.. but I rolled out of bed any way. Put on the requisite camo clothing, loaded the calls and decoys into the vest, grabbed my Federal Mag Shok Shells and my Bennelli Nova and headed to the farm.
I have a spot I hunt near the Salt River in Kentucky. The farm is on 3 levels. Top level, is 2 flat areas that drop about 90 feet into a valley that has a creek that bisects the property and flows into the river. A shoulder that runs down both sides of the valley, and the creek level.
I started out on the top level. The farm next door has a soy bean field I have hunted with the neighbor, that I know the Turkeys like to feed in very early. I set up with 2 decoys out and like most Kentucky Hunters, I gave 5 minutes of silence and cogitation to the Turkey and the man who brought it to Kentucky, George Wright. George died of a Heart Attack last month and the hunters in the state decided to remember George with no calling or hunting the first 5 minutes of the season opener today. (Read News Release About George Wright)
I started out calling with a mouth call. A few putts and an occasional louder putt with a yelp. After about 5 minutes of no response, I moved up to my Box Call. A few good yelps and a I heard a distant gobbler one time. I waited patiently and a hen moved in about 75 yards away. I could see her through some dense brush, but she did NOT like my decoys and worked her way back into the woods towards the bean field after about 5 minutes of strutting back and forth and coming no closer..
I then decided to move into the bottoms. I made some crow calls, (I had lost my owl hooter someplace in the last few days and was not happy with using a crow call that early) As I worked my way down a farm road towards the bottom I heard some hen putts about 150 yards off, but never did see or get a response to the calls. I continued to work my way down the road crossing the creek at a shallow spot, to a clearing where there is a power line road. I have called several birds very close here and always get a response from one or 2 gobblers.
I set up one decoy, a hen and left the jake out of the mix this time. I used my box call and from the same spot as the last 2 years a gobbler answered from near the river. He started out to the front left of me and as I called every few minutes he worked his way directly to my left. Finally he was within about 70 yards but a couple of loud Hawk Calls spooked him and he took off. I never saw him.
I decided to look for an area that was not as open to avoid more hawk problems, and worked my way back to the creek which bisects the property. As I did this a couple of geese worked their way down the valley honking all the way. Geese are GREAT Shock Gobble makers.. and I heard a gobble about 200 yards away. With a 15 foot drop from the property into the creek and the ridgeline coming right out and pinching off this piece of land I had previously not attempted to hunt this area. As I walked up the creek I decided to try my box call and a LOUD gobble was returned. I knelt beside a couple of trees put out the hen decoy about 2 feet from me and waited.

Where I shot my first turkey. Red S is where the Turkeys
came around the point. White X is where I took the shot.

I saw the Herd of Toms round the end of the bluff and head towards the river. I picked up the box call and gave it a couple of yelps and they adjusted course. A couple of encouraging putts on the mouth call and they were 25 yards or closer across the creek. The group started to work their way up the point of the bluff and I picked out the largest of 2 Turkeys that were drumming as they came in. My first attempt at pulling the trigger met with quite a bit of resistance, I had in my hurry to get set for these birds forgotten to take OFF the safety. A quick adjustment to my aim and removal of the safety and I fired a Federal Mag Shok #6 directly into the brain of a 20 pound turkey.

My First Turkey                         Turkey and spur

NOW the problem was crossing the creek and getting up the other side to get the turkey. I found a place where deer were crossing, and made my way down the bank. I took my Arrow I was using to put my hen decoy on, and used it as a hand hold as I worked my way up the mud bank. About 5 minutes of work and I had made the 25 yard trip across the creek and was looking at my first Turkey. The trip back was tougher, trying to hold onto the turkey and work my way down the mud bank. A trip and a run and I had literally run into the opposing bank. I tried to go back up where the deer were crossing, figuring that HAD to be the best spot, after all deer aren't stupid? Well I just could not get up, but 5 yards further down the bank was a gully that came in at a lower angle and I walked right out. Dumb Deer I thought... working up the almost vertical bank when this gully is right here only 5 to 10 yards away.. I chuckled at my luck.
Tom Turkey is now at Mike's Custom Taxidermy of Louisville. The meat was skinned and 2 beautiful breasts and a couple of soup legs sit in my refrigerator. I am boiling the skeleton for soup stock with onions and a little white whine as I write this.
Well that was my first Turkey Story. I think a 11 and 1/16 inch beard and a 1 1/8th inch spur and a 1 3/16th inch spur for a first Turkey is pretty good. Total Score according to NWTF is 64.25 which places my bird in a tie for 81st place in Kentucky. I am having Mike Mount the tail on a plaque with the shell casing and the feet, with the beard hanging from the bottom of the plaque. I have decided that I will save mounting a bird for that time when I can get one that weighs in at over 25 pounds.

Jim Dicken


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