Opening Day Turkey

Opening Day Turkey

I absolutely live for the opening day of turkey season. The temperatures are climbing, the snow is melting and the birds are becoming vocal! This year was no exception. We lit out the door at 4:30 on opening day. It’s about 1 ½ hours from our door to our hunting grounds and we wanted to ensure we were the first ones to the area to stake claim. We had been scouting the area for the month prior and had a good idea of where we wanted to go. We typically find birds in the area, so catching them where to bump off of private land was key.

We successfully beat everyone into the area. (High fives!) Dawn was just breaking and we had plenty of time to gather our gear and get into position. As we were working our way through the timber, we let out a quick owl call and were immediately rewarded with numerous shock gobbles from nearby roost trees. (More high fives!). The roost trees were indeed located on private ground, so we had to make some determination as to where we thought they might move that morning.

After numerous decision changes and an hour of watching them strut around in a local farmer’s field, we agreed that we felt the birds were going to bump off the private ground down into an adjacent ravine that was public land. It looked to be a probable thoroughfare that would take the birds between various tracts of private land. We worked our way down the ravine and decided to hold up under a tree to take a listen and gauge where the birds were.

Once in the ravine bottoms, we found a TON of signs and feathers. (Even more high fives!) We literally found their master bedroom. Now all we had to do was draw them down. As we sat listening, I threw out a few yelps. We were immediately answered with vigorous hen yelps from across the ravine. In fact, the vocalizations were more aggressive and sustained than any we had heard before, leaving us to think it could be another hunter who was overcalling. We sat silently for a few minutes as the yelps continued across the ravine. Eureka! Three gobblers fired up in different directions and all started working their way into where we were set up.

Might as well let that hen do all the work! I decided to challenge the hen across the ravine with some equally aggressive yelps. I know this isn’t always a great idea as it can push a hen to pull the toms away. She aggressively yelped back at us, and again we weren’t sure if it was another hunter as we had not heard that sort of response before. We could soon hear her working her way up the ravine away from us toward one of the gobblers. I became worried that she could pull the other gobblers off us, so we decided to work on some of the same yelping patterns.

It quieted down. We waited it out a bit and began to discuss moving out of the area to let it rest. Lo and behold, a gobbler set off about 50 yards behind us. He had worked his way off the private land we were watching above. I set off a few more yelps and he responded immediately. (High fives yet again!) We could hear him just behind us but we could not yet see him. We
gave it a little time and I hit another quick set of yelps.

Then he finally decided to make an appearance. He worked his way around some deadfall about 20 yards above us. As soon as he hit the clearing I was able to take my shot. It was a good shot and he hit the flop right away. The noise from the shot caused two other shock gobbles not too far from our location. We let the bird lay as we worked a few yelps. We got a good response as one of the gobblers began to pull closer from the other side of the ravine.

We let off a few yelps and purrs. The gobbler was definitely interested. As typically happens, that aggressive hen began making her ruckus from the top of the ravine and soon the gobbler worked out of the area and silence ensued. I went and gathered my bird and he was a beauty. I am always amazed by the size of these birds and how much fun they are to hunt. This hunt was indeed different from others as I had never heard the birds in the area be that vocal. It was fun to play with the call and get such a great response from both hens and toms.

moss-Opening Day Turkey

Photos were taken, and we loaded up and hiked out. Another great adventure and another pile of delicious, organic meat stacked in the freezer. Until next time…

About the Author

Kirstie Pike

Kirstie Pike is the founder and CEO of Prois Hunting & Field Apparel for Women, the leading edge for women’s performance hunting gear for nine years and running.
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