Put the hammer down on a jake Sunday and have been itchin to get a better bird. With good weather today, headed out to test my luck.
Here's the story:
Had one of the most adrenaline filled hunts this morning. Was doing the typical drive, stop, call routine when a tom gobbled behind me and below the road. He wasn't far away and there wasn't much cover. Trying to separate myself from the truck, I walked a short way down the road looking for a good set-up. While sneaking, the bird's movement caught my eye. He was about 100yds away and feeding. Without proper cover, I laid down on the road and rested the shotgun over the bank. I let out a few yelps and received a flurry of gobbles and yelps in return. The tom worked in front of me, but stayed well out of range. He stopped behind an oak and started drumming. By now my adrenaline was through the roof. I was thankful he was out of range so that I didn't attempt a shaky shot. Minutes later, I caught movement to the left as the flock came into view. Jakes and hens worked just below scratching in the leaves. A few more calls from me got everyone talking. I let off the call because nothing was coming in closer. As the flock fed away, the tom kept drumming from behind the tree. I considered repositioning in front of the feeding flock, but my success with this has been limited (aka never works). So I decided to let the flock go and try to call them back by the drumming tom and hopefully draw him in. With a few soft yelps, the flock responded with clucks, yelps, and gobbles. They swung back and feed in my direction. With several hens within 30 yards, I just held still. The largest jake came to investigate the call. He came within ten yards and looked hard for the "hen." With my face pressed to the road bed, I decided to tick off the hens with a series of fighting/challenging cuts. Out of the corner of my eye, the jake continued to search for a hen. The woods exploded in noise as the hens responded vigorously to the calls. The old tom finally broke strut and began working up the hill to his hens. As he neared, the jake finally turned away allowing me to reposition the gun. With the tom finally in range, it was time to try out a new round. Boom-pow it did the trick, bird down. A nice 20 lb Rio with 10 1/2 inch beard.