The Longley awaited day had finally came, the opening day of spring turkey season. It was a last minute decision, whether or not to make it back to school or hit the woods in the morning. I decided to stay and hunt Monday morning. I got out of bed about 5:00a.m. Grabbed something to eat, and got geared up. My longtime friend Zach Slinker was going to be running the camera during this hunt. We got everything ready and got set up on the edge of the hay field where the long beards usually fly down.
It was now about six o’clock and we had the decoys out and the cameras set up. It was one of those mornings when the turkeys were silent. We waited for awhile and finally heard a gobble, which was across the road on the neighbor’s farm of course. It took about an hour and finally a bearded hen came out into the field and came straight at the hen decoy I had out. I was thinking in my head, should I shoot her or not because I have never harvested a bearded hen before, let alone one with an 8 inch beard. I had my gun up and the bead was on her neck, but I decided not to take her and wait for a long beard.
After the bearded hen went off the feeding, another hen came out. I figured she would be bringing along a gobbler but nothing followed. We got a little footage of the hens picking around and decided to get up and try another spot where I had seen long beards strutting before. We packed up and headed into the woods.
We got close to where I thought the birds might be, I let off a few yelps and nothing. We continued to get closer to the area. Just before we reached the peak of the hill where I thought the would be I yelped and cut a few more times, this time immediately 3 long beards hammered back. We had to set up fast; they were only 30 yards from us on the other side of the hill. We had no time to get the cameras set up, which is a bummer because it was an awesome hunt.
I hid behind a tiny honeysuckle bush and Zach sat a couple feet to the right of me. Within a few seconds the first bird came strutting right at us. I did not see the other 4 long beards that were with him at the time. He came in strutting, spitting and drumming every step. I let him get clear of all the trees, and at this point he was 9 yards from the barrel of my Mossberg. I put the bead on him and squeezed the trigger, and down he went. I got excited and then seen the other birds still around the area. I sat down and began to cut and try to work them back in.
I got the attention of 2 more long beards and they started coming back to us. The birds came in strutting right next to the bird that I shot, not paying a bit of attention to him. He gave me the sign he was ready to shoot and put one on the ground. We jumped up and celebrated high fiving and hugging. It was an amazing hunt, getting set up and harvesting both birds took no longer than 3 minutes after we moved locations.
It would have made great footage but unfortunately we did not have time to set up the cameras. But I am looking forward to getting a couple birds with fellow Huntinglife Prostaffer Mitch Strobl in the upcoming weeks.