Spring Gobbler Success

My spring gobbler success story will not include a picture of me holding a big old tom, because I did not shoot one.  I did experience many types of success during my first year of hunting wild turkeys during the spring gobbler season even though I did not deliver a kill shot to a gobbler.  I am going to share my success story with you.

May 3

I was awake before the alarm clock went off on the first morning of spring gobbler season.  I did not oversleep – spring gobbler success!  My husband, Ed, and my nephew, Drew, woke up and the three of us quickly prepared for a morning in the woods.  Gail, my long-time friend and fellow pro-staffer, was on her way to go hunting with us.  Gail arrived and I rode with her to our hunting grounds, filling her in on our plan on the way.  Ed and Gail would hunt up at the hut, a long time favorite hunting spot of my family, and Drew and I would hunt out from the big turn.  Ed and I scouted the area for turkeys and we knew that the hut would be an excellent place for an opportunity to kill a spring gobbler.  Opening day was the only time that Gail would be able to hunt with us and I wanted her to have the best chance at killing a spring gobbler. 

Ed and Gail gathered their gear and I wished them luck as they prepared to make the short hike to the hut.  Drew and I jumped into the truck and I drove to the big turn.  We arrived and walked out the old logging road to the spot where Ed had set up our ground blind the day before.  It was almost 5:30AM as we put out the decoys and settled into the blind.  We were ready – spring gobbler success!

Drew and I heard a tom gobble below us.  Drew grabbed a slate call and did his best impression of a hen coaxing the tom to come our way.  The tom gobbled back and we waited anxiously for him to head our way.  The conversation between Drew and the gobbler continued but we could not see him.  We heard a shot!  Gail sent me a text message to see if it was us shooting and we figured it must have been our neighbor that shot.  A few minutes later Gail sent me another message saying that she heard a hen.  I messaged her back and told her to tell that hen to go get her boyfriend.  We heard another shot!  Gail messaged me that she had shot a tom – spring gobbler success!  Gail's Spring Gobbler

Drew and I continued to try to coax the tom that we heard towards us, but he wasn't having it.  He headed down into the hollow.  I messaged Gail and told her that we were going to walk in to see her turkey since the tom that we heard headed the other way.  We met Gail and looked at her spring gobbler.  He was a nice sized bird with spurs over an inch long!  His beard was ten inches long!  What a wonderful turkey for her to take home – spring gobbler success!  Sharing that moment with one of my best friends – spring gobbler success!

A tom started gobbling while we were talking to Gail,  so she headed home and we went back to work.  We hunted the rest of the morning and did not see any turkeys.  We could hear them, but they would not get close enough for us to see them.  We had a great day even though we did not catch a glimpse of a turkey.  Drew and I had went deer hunting together before, but this was our first time turkey hunting together – spring gobbler success!

May 5

Five has always been my favorite number, so I felt really good about waking up on the fifth day of the fifth month at five o'clock to go spring gobbler hunting.  Ed and I headed to the hut and settled in with hopes of being able to repeat Gail's first day performance.  Ed began calling and a tom answered!  The gobble came from towards the power line, and I knew from scouting that he was on the wrong side.  The turkeys we watched while scouting always traveled towards the power line, then moved down the mountain and headed for the fields below.  I sat tight hoping that Ed would be able to coax him to come our way.  The gobbles were getting farther away instead of closer.  Ed walked down to the hut and told me that he was going to circle below the power line to see if he could see him.  He told me to stay in the hut and keep watching.  I waited anxiously while Ed made his way through the woods.  BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!  Three shots rang out at 7 o'clock!  I sent Ed a text message to see if he shot the gobbler.  He missed.  I crawled out of the hut and made my way down to the truck where I met up with Ed.  He told me that he saw the gobbler at the power line but he shot and missed and the gobbler flew away.  He saw one to take a shot at – spring gobbler success!

We planned on hunting until 10 o'clock since we had to go to work that day, so we drove out to the big turn and walked to the spot where Drew and I had hunted on Saturday.  Ed found a spot above the logging road to call from and I went on up towards the foot of the mountain and found a place to sit with a good view.  We sat there until 9 o'clock and nothing was going on.  Ed asked me what I wanted to do and I suggested riding up the mountain and looking down over the power line to see if we could see anything. Power Line

We pulled over, I jumped out of the truck and looked down over the power line.  I saw four deer making their way across and I clapped my hands so they would look our way.  Ed and I were talking and watching the deer when something caught my eye down by the towers.  There were turkeys down by the towers!  We jumped in the truck and took off down the mountain!  I told him to stop at the one pull off where we had seen the turkeys cross the road when we scouted before the season started.  He pulled over and I jumped out of the truck to load my gun.  Ed stayed in the truck and I walked down into the woods towards an old logging road.  Ed called from the truck, a gobbler answered to my left!  I motioned to Ed to let him know that I heard the gobbler, but he was not paying attention.  The tom made his way across the road and I could see him, he was too far out, but I saw him – spring gobbler success!

May 7

We got home from work and went to bed to take a two hour nap before the alarm went off at five o'clock.  We woke up and got ready for another morning of spring gobbler hunting.  We set our decoys out on the side of the power line where the turkeys cross.  Ed found a tree and settled in to call.  I found a tree and settled in to wait.  A tom let out a gobble before six o'clock, he was on the power line and heading our way!  Our plan may work!  Ed used a slate call and coaxed to the tom to keep Bear at 17 yardscoming our way.  He gobbled again!  I had my eyes on the power line as I heard a noise behind me, I though it was just a squirrel so I did not turn around.  The turkey gobbled again and he was getting closer!  The noise behind me sounded as though it was getting closer also so I turned to see what was behind me… A BEAR!!!  A big old black bear was walking right towards me!  I jumped up and got behind the tree!  I yelled "BEAR" to Ed and pointed to the bear, my hands were shaking as I raised my gun in case he decided to charge.  The bear finally saw me and skidded to a stop.  He ran back a few steps and then looked my way to see what was going on.  He ran down to the road and stopped again, looking my way.  A truck was coming up the road and scared the bear, he ran past us, heading up the mountain and not stopping.  Ed told me later that no sound came out of my mouth when I thought I yelled "BEAR".  I calmed down and we sat back down to see if our gobbler was still in the area.  Nothing, no more gobbles.  Our tom must have taken off during all of the commotion with the bear.  A few hens and a jake came through a few hours later, but no gobblers.  A deer made her way up the power line, but no gobbles.  It was a great plan, but today the success belonged to the bear!  The bear was seventeen yards away from me when he stopped and turned around – spring gobbler success!

The Remainder of the Season

We work from 5PM until 1:30AM, Monday through Friday.  We get home from work at 2:15AM.  This shift is nice because if gives you the opportunity to go hunting every day if you are willing to sacrifice your sleeping time!  On May 8th, Ed was not willing to make that sacrifice so I headed to the woods alone.  I did not go to the power line because of the bear.  I went out to the big turn and walked into the woods cautiously.  Gail and I sent text messages back and forth as I slowly overcame my fear of the bear.  I eventually moved down to the power line and made my way up into the woods.  I did not see any turkeys, but I did not let my fear of bears stop me from hunting – spring gobbler success!

I had twenty days available for spring gobbler hunting from May 3rd until May 26th.  I made it to the woods eleven times – spring gobbler success!

I became very familiar with loading and unloading my Remington Versa Max over the course of spring gobbler season.  Always make sure to unload your gun before jumping into your vehicle!  I unloaded every single time that we drove to a different spot – spring gobbler success!

Hunting in the spring is very different than hunting in the fall.  I enjoyed watching the woods come alive and turn green as the season progressed – spring gobbler success!

I learned how to use a slate call.  The first time that I called and had a tom gobble back is a memory that I will never forget – spring gobbler success!

My Dad has tried to get me to go turkey hunting in the past.  He would always ask me if I would like to go, and I always answered, "No."  I was talking to my Dad during our Memorial Day picnic, and I told him how much I enjoyed spring gobbler season.  I never believed him when he told me how exciting it was to go turkey hunting.  I never believed that hunting a turkey could be as exciting as hunting deer.  I never even wanted to try it!  I will never forget the look on my Dad's face when I said to him, "Dad, I get it now.  I finally get it.  When you hear those turkeys gobble it makes you go crazy inside!  I finally understand why you love turkey hunting so much!"  My Dad smiled one of the biggest smiles I have even seen when I said those words to him – spring gobbler success!

Some people may think that they are only successful when they make that kill shot and fill their tags.  There are many more other ways to find success in hunting other than being successful in harvesting an animal.  I may not have filled my tag, but my first spring gobbler season was filled with success! 

 

 

 

 

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Amy Sward

About the Author:

Hello, my name is Amy and I have lived in Central Pennsylvania all of my life. I was born into a family of outdoorsmen, hunting and fishing have always been part of my life. My dad started taking me hunting with him when I was a little girl. He also taught me how to fish for trout in local creeks. The first day of deer season and the first day of trout season were like holidays in our household. My grandfather enjoyed trapping and as a teenager I often went along with him to check the traps. Raccoons, red fox, and grey fox were harvested from the traps in the woods and muskrats were harvested from the traps by the Juniata River. I have many fond memories of trapping with my grandfather. I have enjoyed hunting small game and hunting whitetail deer in rifle season over the years. This year I am branching out and trying some new things. I went duck hunting in January and enjoyed it very much. I went spring gobbler hunting in May and loved it! I purchased a crossbow and will be entering the woods for white-tailed deer during archery season for the first time in October. I enjoy sharing my love of the outdoors with my family. Camping and kayaking are popular activities. I love to hunt and fish with my three nephews and my grandson. My two granddaughters enjoy fishing and hopefully they will show interest in hunting in the future. They love to go spotlighting for deer, and hopefully someday they will love to go hunting for them also.
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