Sometimes luck is a little better than skill when it comes to turkey hunting. After having a very successful, and somewhat lucky Maryland turkey season, one in which I have already harvested two very nice birds, I headed to New York with a turkey high. I have a good friend that owns 400 acres up there, and it is loaded with turkey’s. Going to his place in the spring is now one of my annual traditions, as turkey hunting doesn’t get much better than there. Of course this weekend was a little slow except for the showing of my boy DB whom I named and shot.
We left for New York on Thursday, and got a later start than I had planned, and not long after we crossed into New York a major, I mean major thunderstorm came across our path. We were only about an hour from our destination when we hit this thing, but I was determined to get to my destination so I didn’t let it stop me, even though my wife really wanted me to pull over. We finally made it through the storm, and back up to speed we were, of course later we found out the storm had followed us, and blasted the area we were about to hunt that next morning. I was a little disappointed, since I’ve never had good luck with the birds after a thunderstorm.
The next morning came real early as being that far east, first light was about an hour earlier than it is for me at home, but none the less we were pumped for what the morning could bring us. As we made our way into the woods the anticipation was growing, and growing, I don’t know what it is, I just really live to hunt, the thrill of the hunt, all that good stuff. As we were setting up the blind the first gobble rung out, so I looked at my wife and of course she had that big grin on her face I love so much. We got all set up, and settled into the blind, camera rolling, and ready for action. The turkey’s were gobbling pretty good considering the conditions the night before. I worked a few on the roost but after fly down, the ole boys went quiet. The first turkey we saw was a hen of course as she came by about 30 yards away, walking and yelping, it’s always so cool to hear a turkey do their things. Then at the top of the field, I had one answer my call, so the game was on. He finally made it to the field, strutting his stuff, gobbling, but still wouldn’t come into the decoy’s. I worked him for about 15 minutes, as he never did get close enough for a shot, it was quite an intriguing experience. As we watched him walk off, so did our morning as that was the only action we really had.
Later that evening the wife and I went to pick up dinner, and on the way back we were introduced to the double bearded turkey, or DB as we named him. It was about 6:30 in the evening and this ole boss Tom was in the field strutting his stuff for five hens without a care in the world. I have never seen a turkey so pristine, so beautiful, a true monarch of the New York turkey woods. We watched him all evening, and finally watched him as he faded into the woods for the nights roost. So of course the next morning we set up about 50 yards from the woods edge where he went in the night before. That morning was just like the previous, gobbling non stop from the roost but complete silence after the birds hit the ground. It was hard to believe how quiet the turkey’s were after they flew down, considering how vocal they were on the roost. It turned out that most of the Tom’s were henned up, and just didn’t have a need to come see me. We did see a few hens that day, heard a few gobbles later in the morning, but again the day proved to be pretty much uneventful.
Just like the night before, we headed down the road for the evening show, and there he was, ole DB was at it again. This time he had made his way down to the field at 4:30, and was joined with four hens as he displayed for them all night long. Again we watched him do his things as he strutted, gobbled, and just flat out amazed us, what a brilliant turkey he was. I payed close attention as he left the field that night, carefully marking the spot where I hoped to make my ambush the next morning. Well, the next morning came and went, and nothing but the same results as the previous two. My wife unfortunately wasn’t feeling well at all, and decided to head back to the house at 7:30 the last morning of our hunt, so it was up to me to come home with the bacon, or turkey that is. The turkey’s had gobbled their best this morning, and still nothing, as they flew down, got quiet, and I got frustrated. Now instead of losing my mind I thought for a minute, thought about what the birds do, and put a plan together. I figured the birds would go one way in the morning so I decided to go the other to let them get settled, and maybe I’d get lucky on the other side of the property. So I was off to run and gun as I call it. My journey didn’t take me to any long beards, but I did have a couple of some really remarkable experiences with hens. One in particular, I called in, and I mean she came to with five yards of me sitting in the open on the dirt road, and this hen just looked right through me, talk about one amazing experience. She came up yelping, clucking, and purring, like a lost soul in the dark, she just wanted a friend.
Now it was getting to be about 9:00 in the morning, so I decided it was now or never and I began making my way to where I believe the gobblers went in the morning. I walked and called my way back to the sweet spot as I call it, and again the woods was absent of any gobbling. As I neared the far side, getting ever so close to the property line, I finally heard a gobble, finally I had something to work with as time was counting down fast. I set up and began calling, to only get responses and no action, as this bird wasn’t about to leave the field he was on. I got up and slowly made my way down the trail until I could finally see him through the woods strutting on the field. I quietly eased my way toward the field, and set up under a pine hoping this was my moment. Everytime I called, he gobbled back, strutted, and gobbled some more, but just flat out refused to make any ground toward me, only to move away and out of sight. Well as far as I was concerned game was on, and he wasn’t getting away from me. I got up, and again eased my way to the field edge, called out, and this time no answer, had I scared him I thought. I continued to move in the direction he went calling softly as I went. Now that I was in the field, I cautiously moved from pine tree to pine tree scanning as I moved. As I started making my way around the third pine I got too, I noticed something black in the brush across the field. It moved, holy cow, it was him, I couldn’t believe it, he was strutting, and hadn’t seen me. I stood there in disbelief for a few minutes watching him thinking of what I could do to make this happen. I scanned the field, there were plenty of pines, and as I made my way back around my pine, I lost sight of the bird, but realized he was behind this brush pile about a foot and a half wide by four feet wide. Could I do it I thought, can I really sneak up on this bird. Last day, last hour and a half, nothing to loose at this point so I went for it. I took one last look of the terrain, got down on all fours, and off I went. I crawled up to the next pine tree, peaked up to see he was still there, and made my mind up the time is now. I lined him up with the brush pile, got down on my stomach, and began a belly crawl of at least 100 yards. As I drug myself across the field, I hit wet spots, stickers, mud etc, but I was determined to get my bird. I moved as quick as I could, but the few minutes it took me felt like hours, as I had no idea if my efforts would pay off. I finally made it to the brush pile, took a minute to catch my breath and eased myself up enough to see my bird was still there. Instantly my heart pounded, as I knew I was going to get my chance, I just had to play it smart. I separated the branches in the brush pile so I could see him and waited for my moment. As I watched this bird in all his glory, he had no idea what was about to happen to him. Seconds later, he went into full strut, turned and his back was to me, I immediately exploded to my knees and was just about to charge, but then I noticed a hen that I hadn’t seen. I stopped just as she did when she saw me, we stared each other down, and I thought, what the hell, go, go, go. On my knees I charged the Tom until the hen finally putted at me, and at that instant, I stopped and raised my gun at the unknowing long beard. This poor bird that had no idea what was about to happen to him turned around to see what all the commotion was about, and definitely not what he was expecting. I paid no attention to the hen at this point, I waited to see that snowball head, lined up my sites, and pulled the trigger. This ole boy went right down, now I’ll be the first to admit, I hadn’t made the perfect shot, I was tired, I was shaking, and the adrenaline was surely pumping. After his initial fall, he went crazy, like most turkey’s do, but then kinda got up, and tried to flap and run away. At this point the only thing I could notice was the double beard hanging off him, OMG, it was DB, I had no idea, I couldn’t believe it, I had shot DB. I exploded to my feet, and off I went running, actually I was sprinting to the bird, and when I finally got him him, ring the bell, the wrestling match had started. I was so jacked up the first time I grabbed him he slipped through my hands, but I kept after him and finally secured him and put his lights out. I had done it, I got DB, the legend turkey, my biggest ever, and the most spectacular bird I’ve ever seen. I was tired, covered with mud, but I had just done the unthinkable, I was still in amazement of the feat I had just accomplished. I’m please to show you DB.
So here he is, ole DB, one of the best trophies that mother nature has ever given me. I can’t thank god enough for giving me the opportunity to have these opportunities in the wild. It brings me great pride to be able to share this story with you, and I encourage you to do the same, please share your great stories me, and I’ll post them for you for everyone to see. I hope you enjoyed my story, and sorry I went on and on but it’s easy when you’re writing about something you truly love.