Saturday May 2nd
Started out Saturday morning hunting with 6 freinds between 3 farms ..
After relocating from my 1st choice position ( bumped into another hunter from the adjoining farm ) ... I decide to go up a new tree stand we put up earlier in the year , thinking I'm only going to get wildlife pictures now ... I worried it is too late to get moved again without being spotted by roosting birds ..
My luck was good though , at first light I hear two gobblers sound off approx 300 yards South of me ... I quickly decide to come down from the tree stand and sneak approx 100 yards across a plowed field using the fence row tree growth as cover to set up for the 3rd time of the morning ...
I watch the sun come up behind the bush to the East , and wait for enough light to see what's going on around me at the new location ...
It's about 6:20 am now ... I get to watch a shaggy doe spend 10 mins stomping around trying to figure me out ( picture quailty isn't great because of the low light available . ( I'm facing South with the sun still rising above the bush to the East )
Long story short ... The doe bugs out .... I do a quick session of hen clucks to let the two roosted gobblers know where I am ( turns out to be two jakes ) ... I get to watch the two birds fly down and work their way to within 10 yards of me ... ( they walked approx 150 yards across a meadow then another 50 yards across the plowed field that seperated us )
That was sooooo coooool !
My heart was racing ! I was watching them come in over my gun barrel ... when I saw they were jakes , decided I wanted to pass and use my second tag on a mature tom , so I switched to the camera ... hopefully they would make it to next season and grow a little .
I took one last frame as they walked East towards the property border ...
I see no other action up to approx 8:00 am , and try a few more spots with locate / contact calling trying to find a willing tom ...
Rob H. hunkers down while I try another brief calling session ... no luck .
On the way out , I get one last frame ... a group of wild flowers growing in the creek ..
Rob and I head back to the truck and wait for Randy to walk out of the hardwoods , before heading to breakfast to meet the rest of the crew.
Turns out Randy had an exciting morning as well ... surrounded by three gobblers that wouldn't come in close enough for him to " close the deal "
We all meet at a local resturant ... go over the morning event's and plan our midday hunts ... Pretty well everybody had action at their locations but not all had shot opportunities ...
Vern however did get his 1st bird of the season ... Vern showed us the bird at the resturant ... he made a good shot but it rolled into the creek , looked like a drowned rat .... still a beauty bird and some good eating ahead !
Randy , Rob , and myself spent the rest of the day driving from farm to farm in my truck , searching for mature toms , with no luck ...
Only thing that was plentifull , was the number of nested geese ..
Randy ends his day at Skips farm with some groundhog reduction activities ..
Rob and tried one more farm late afternoon ( a farm I had missed a beauty tom on with my Y25 Relayer earlier in the week ) We did get a locate but he didn't cooperate any further , and gave us one last " goodbye gobble " as we headed out for the day ..
Still a great day to be out ... with the rain coming only after we were out of the bush ..
Page break ... Sunday May 3rd
Spend the day with my family .... chores etc. After lunch , my wife and I dropped off my daughter at the local park with her boyfriend .. I did get a few shots of the park flowers and waterfowl .
Then we headed North to see a friends pups ... I had my hunting gear with me just in case any opportunity arose ~
A litter of three Mini Daschund's that our dog Spike sired ...
After our visit , my wife dropped me at the farm that Rob H. and I had worked a bird on Saturday ... she headed out for some groceries ... I had only 1.5 - 2 hrs to hunt .
Long story short ... I lucked out again ! As I walked to the back of the property , I saw a tom walking into the hardwoods heading North near the bottom of a corn stubble field ... with the field elevation as my cover , I hussled into a funnel area near the river where I missed a tom earlier in the week and approx 85 yards from where Rob H. and I had encountered him yesterday ..
For the next 35 mins I see nothing but squirels ... relocate about 50 yards further South and call ... no response ... next 20 mins , nothing .
The I think I hear a light cluck ? then see movement across a lower flooded area to my left ... it's a single hen .... then movement again ! ... A thunderous gobble and I nearly jump out of my skin ! My heart races as I see the tom coming , about 30 steps behind .
He comes in to approx 25 yards and struts ... when he turns , I get my Y25 up and watch him thru the Lumizone .. the hen sees me move and starts to run ... the tom stops and looks towards her ... I hold a " low 30 " on him ( dont want to shoot over like earlier in the week ) and launch a 2216 at him ... gaaaaammmmmmeeee oooooovvvvveeer !
He does the crazy flap dance for about 5 yards and settles into some tangled cover ... the camera is in the truck with my wife , so I hike back to my favorite picture spot ( an old shed on the property ) ... when she picks me up , I get her to take a shot of me with my last bird of the season !
My old faithfull 2216 with 135 grain Wasp broadhead on board ! ... Arrow is still straight with only a minor fletch tear , but the broadhead is pooched ( when I pulled it out of the ground , I see it must have hit a rock , cause the tip is missing and bent )
One happy hunter ! just glad I passed on the jakes yesterday !
I'm at home now ... It's approx 8:40 pm , a quick measure up , he weighs approx 20 lbs with a 9 inch beard and 3/4 spurs ... I take one last frame of the sun going down to the West ... heading to bed for 1 hour sleep before my 1st night shift of the week ...
Today , I took the carved meat portions of the bird and made up some quick tastey treats for work ...
My wife made stir fry's for herself and my daughter ..
And by now , you all know my limited cooking abilities I did my standard brazed portions with tangy plumb dipping sauce ...
Of course , I couldn't help shaving some thin slices for soup and a turkey sandwhich .
Good luck to all that are chasing longbeards this week ... have a safe and successful hunt !
See Ya. ... R.J. > " Remember , Trophies are measured by the time and energy expended to get them , not the size or quantity of the quarry "