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Brad Eden

It wasn’t real pretty...

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Brad Eden

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The original decoy set. The Tom was up on left around a corner in another smaller field.

 

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Finally “caught up to him” in the woods.

 

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Decided to try a late afternoon hunt today. I rarely Turkey hunt past noon. Maybe that’s because for many years we could only hunt til 12:00 in Maine. Birds have not been gobbling lately so I decided to drive around and see if I could spot any huntable gobblers in fields. I threw on my faded camo overalls and boots and headed out the driveway at 4:00pm. 
 

Not more than a couple/few miles from home I spotted a bird way up high on a small hillside field near the tree line. I stopped and glassed. A nice Tom. He was going in and out of strut so there was likely hens around him that I couldn’t see. There was a larger narrow field below where that gobbler was strutting. I knew how to get to the end of that field undetected. I turned around, parked, geared up with 12 gauge for a change, vest/calls and a hen decoy and a half strut Jake decoy and walked a deer trail through the woods until I could cut into the end of the field. I found a good hide and put the decoys 20 yards out in front. I didn’t stake the hen decoy but put her lying in the ground. None of that attention to detail mattered...

 

My set up put me maybe 150 yards from that Tom who was up around a corner in that other small field separated by brush and swale. He hadn’t made a sound, and never gobbled despite a litany of calls. I still felt good about the hunt though. I just needed him and the hens to get curious enough to walk down to this field. As soon as he saw that decoy set, he would likely come in. I sat for an hour. That’s as long as my patience would allow. I had noticed what looked like a snowmobile or ATV sign on a tree across the field. I decided to walk the edge of the field towards where the birds were to see if there were any wood trails leading up to those other fields. I left the decoys where they were. I was doing more scouting for future hunts rather than anything else. I had given up on that Tom coming in.

 

The farmer was apparently clearing the woods back from the field and there was a 40 or so yard area of stumps and brush and rocks between the field and the wood line. I made it around the edge of the field and was coming close to those signs when I looked to my left at the same time the Tom was looking at me at 15 yards. He was coming in after all. He turned and started running towards the woods through that clear cut area. I swung the slinged shotgun off my shoulder and instinctively shot at the bobbing red head just as he was disappearing into the woods. Past wing-shooting pays off in these circumstances. He flew up crashing through the trees to my right and disappeared into the woods. It was a laborious flush and I thought I had hit him. I hurried down that ATV trail in pursuit and saw him on the ground floundering and running and scrambling away. I’m not proud of it taking me two more shots to anchor him after running through the woods after him. Bad knee and bad foot be damned. Not exactly the scenario I had in mind when I started this hunt. But he hadn’t gotten away wounded and then dying under a blowdown. 
 

What a nice heavy gobbler. Huge by Maine standards, or for around my area. 21 pounds, 10 inch bushy Beard and 1” Spurs. A 3 year old from what I can tell. I felt like a packhorse carrying him, the shotgun and the decoys back to the truck. I have the UJ Traveling Box Call arriving from MT any day now. I’ll use that to try and call in birds for JoAnn and friends.

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Millriver

A bird in the hand....right? He's a beauty no matter how you got him. I've often wondered if I could mount the gun and shoot one on a run like a grouse flush. I'm not sure I could.

 

I haven't heard or even seen a bird in a week, pressure will be on with a week left of our season, though I've had fun regardless. Looking forward to seeing the Travel Call posts. Good luck!

 

 

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WAGinVA

Congratulations Brad, I know exactly how you feel.

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hobbes

Congrats on a great looking bird.  I've got to get back after some Easterns in the next year or so.

 

Good luck with the call.

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Don Steese

Great story, well told!

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quailguy

Well done ! You got the bird and that is what counts.  

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RookieEP

Way to not give up!  I could have swung on a low flyer crosser but wimped out..  just regrets for me

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kgb
On 5/14/2020 at 6:50 PM, Brad Eden said:

 I didn’t stake the hen decoy but put her lying in the ground. None of that attention to detail mattered...

 

Nice story of success!! Sounded like you staged a murder scene, then I saw the decoy had been set as if resting on the ground.  

 

Although turkey guns and patterning are geared toward decapitation attempts, follow-up shots or as in your case with this bird shooting flying, I don't see much discussion of the best combination for the situation.  I imagine pheasant-type results are desired, a broken wing AND a broken leg are required to recover a bird that isn't killed immediately via shot into the vitals.  A relatively heavy round for head shots, but all you can put out there with nothing smaller than 4's or maybe 5's for any other shot?

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tut

95703453_2699586470320160_4182418210584264704_n.jpg

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Craig Conroy

Way to go!  That's a nice bird.

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Treerooster
11 hours ago, kgb said:

 

Nice story of success!! Sounded like you staged a murder scene, then I saw the decoy had been set as if resting on the ground.  

 

Although turkey guns and patterning are geared toward decapitation attempts, follow-up shots or as in your case with this bird shooting flying, I don't see much discussion of the best combination for the situation.  I imagine pheasant-type results are desired, a broken wing AND a broken leg are required to recover a bird that isn't killed immediately via shot into the vitals.  A relatively heavy round for head shots, but all you can put out there with nothing smaller than 4's or maybe 5's for any other shot?

 

I have seen a few discussions on turkey forums about follow-up shots. Most suggest 4's to do some damage to the body and bones of a wild turkey. A good combo of shells might be 6's or 5's for the initial shell followed up by a couple of 4's. Of course with all the various heavier-than-lead loads now the choices are much more variable. A lot of states do not allow shot bigger than 4 shot. 

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Auto-5

Congrats”! Sometimes it’s easy others you gotta do it the hard way.

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Dogwood

Boy at 15 yds a running bird is one tough shot with a tightly choked gun.  Good job.

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Brad Eden
1 hour ago, Dogwood said:

Boy at 15 yds a running bird is one tough shot with a tightly choked gun.  Good job.

He was 15 yards what we startled each other, and was more like 30-40 when I tripped the trigger.

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Dogwood
10 hours ago, Brad Eden said:

He was 15 yards what we startled each other, and was more like 30-40 when I tripped the trigger.

 

Still.  With a turkey choke probably 10" pattern max.

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