MARCH 26, 2005 VIDEO HUNT #1
LOCATION: WILKINSON COUNTY, PRIVATE LAND
CALLS USED: SMALL ROHM SLATE, TRIPLE CUTTER DIAPHRAGM
DESCRIPTION OF CALLS: YELPS, CUTTING, CLUCKING
DESCRIPTION OF HUNT: AM HUNT CALLED IN 2 GOBBLERS - VIDEO
On opening day I again traveled to Jasper County to hunt with Nelson and Tyler Cullum in hopes of getting Tyler his first turkey. There were no gobblers to be heard. After about 3 hours we just felt we were wasting our time. It was just too early in the season to be in the mode of hunting birds that werenít gobbling. I left and met my Dad and we traveled to the Toler farm for an afternoon hunt. After setting up on a large field we had called only a short time when 3 nice gobblers appeared. There was some obstruction between Dad and the gobblers and there was also some between me and the gobblers. We waited until the birds were clear but they began to get nervous, so when my Dad said he could shoot, I attempted to cutt to make my bird which was on the right side come out of strut. When I did my Dad shot but before I could shoot and my bird appeared to catapult forward. My shot was behind the bird. Before I could take a second shot, the bird was running fast and becoming airborne. The second or third shot connected but was not enough to bring him down. I immediately ran to where the bird entered the wood line and started to look for him. He had stopped up in a tree and when I entered the woods, he flew away. There were several drops of blood under the tree. I desperately ran through the woods so I might hear where the bird stopped. We searched for about an hour before we gave up. Itís really hard to say in every situation, but in this situation it would have been better to have stayed in the blind and waited for the bird to possibly die. Dadís bird about 17 pounds had a 10 inch beard and ĺ inch spurs. See this hunt on my 2005 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.
Dad and I would hunt with Jimmy and Johnny Davidson this morning in hopes of getting Johnny a good gobbler. Jimmy had seen the birds the day before in the field and knew they were not far from the field when they roosted. We made it to the blind well before first light and set up as quietly as we could. We placed the decoys between 25 and 30 yards and settled down for first light. As day began to break, we were startled when a gobbler sounded off at about 50 yards behind us. After a few gobbles I felt the urge to call but knew it would be too early and too unnatural to call from the position we were in. I elected to wait until the birds flew down. When it was time for the birds to fly down, they flew right over the decoys and landed in the field in front of us. As Dad recalls, Johnny was very nervous as he prepared to shoot and he may have let him shoot a bit early. The bird was in range when he shot, but the pattern was well low and most of the shot never made it to the bird. Iím not sure if placing the decoys would have made a difference but it seemed that it all happened too quickly to really plan the shot location. See this hunt on my 2005 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.
Mike Carden invited me to hunt with him on this hunt on some private land he had leased. Mike had hunted a couple of times here and had pretty much patterned the birds. He had two areas he would expect the birds to have roosted and as we waited for daylight, one of the birds gobbled exactly where Mike had expected. We had only one setup that would give us a decent calling position and also prevent the birds from coming in behind us. We completed our setup and started the series of calling starting with some tree calling. When the bird gobbled again there were two. At this point I told Mike that we needed to count up to three to prevent duplicating what I had done on opening day. After a short while the bird had flown down and sounded farther away. Mike insured me that the birds would not go in that direction because of the swamp they would have to cross and that they normally come across the big field that we were hunting. We had heard no hens, so we felt they should come to our calling. After a few more minutes it sounded as though they were headed our way. In a short time, the birds came out into the field about a hundred yards below our setup. I called softly to keep the birds interested and hopefully for them to see our decoys. As the birds approached we readied our guns and planned to shoot when they reached the decoys. A few yards before they reached the decoys one of the birds became nervous and turned away. At this point I started the count up to three. The birds were close enough that one shot could have possibly killed both of them and our shots were almost simultaneous. A good hunt and some pretty good video. Mikeís bird weighed 18 pounds and had a 9 Ĺ inch beard with 1 inch spurs. Mine weighed 18 pounds, had a 9 ĺ inch beard and 1 inch spurs. See this hunt on my 2005 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.
Dad and I made our way back to Nebraska to hunt a Merriam and hopefully duplicate the previous year. We arrived in the late afternoon and didnít get to scout prior to the first hunt. We had planned to hunt on the first morning in the same area as we did the year before. We awoke the next morning to thunder and lightening. Against our better judgment we decided to make our way to the blind hoping the storm would pass around us. It was raining when we made our setup but I got my umbrella set up to cover the camera. We sat for about 15 or 20 minutes and the lightening only became more intense. We left as much of the equipment as we could and made our way back to the SUV we had rented. We thought while it was still early we would attempt to move the vehicle closer to our blind while trying to keep it hid under a hill between us and the blind. We were able to park about a couple of hundred yards from the blind. As the storm passed we made our way back to the blind and it was no time we heard gobblers off to our right and across the river. We knew from the previous year the birds should have no problem making their way across the river to the side we were on. The first birds to come in approached us from the front but all three were jakes. We had some fun with their eagerness to gobble, but let them make their way to us and then back. We could hear the other birds gobble occasionally across the river but it didnít seem they were going to come. I left the blind to make my way to the hillside overlooking the river and other side. I could hear the gobblers but could not see them at first. We decided we would change our setup and walked back over to the river edge to see two hens, a jake and three nice gobblers. We watched and captured some video for about 30 minutes. They worked their way back down the river and started flying across to our side. Although they were quite a ways back down the river, we knew our chances just improved tremendously. We tried to find a different setup so the birds would not come in behind us. After spending about 30 minutes we finally set up directly in front of where we had been, so that hopefully the birds would come in front of us. I had made a couple of series of calls before I heard a gobble, but knew then that they were on the way. It wasnít long before they appeared, but they had come farther to the left than we had expected. It had now started to rain again. When the birds made it to the decoys, they became nervous and I waited for the birds to separate so we would only kill two. My opening day miss again crossed my mind. I counted up to three as the birds separated and our shots were almost simultaneous. Perfect, but for a second it looked as though I was going to hit both birds as my shot was awful close to the second bird. It was right at 12:00 when we had made the shots. Dadís bird weighed 21 pounds and had a 9 1/2 inch beard and 1 1/16 spurs. My bird weighed 19 pounds, had a 10 inch beard with 1 inch spurs. See this hunt on my 2005 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.
Dad and I would make our way across the road on the second morning but only heard birds back across the river where we saw them the first day. We spent a little time hoping one would gobble in our direction, but finally decided that we would benefit more from hunting birds that were vocal. We elected to enter across the river from where we were the day before. As we moved along the river edge we could hear a couple of birds gobbling on the opposite side of the field. We slipped as close as we could without being seen and set up. The birds had flown down by the time we had completed our set up and as we glassed the field, we could see several turkeys and could tell that there were at least 4 or 5 gobblers. As these birds moved back away and out of site, we elected to move to a better position for video and calling. The first birds to appear were three jakes. These seemed to be the same jakes as we called up the day before. We had set up a silhouette gobbler decoy hoping it would intimidate a gobbler and give us some good video, but the decoy moved very erratically in the wind. The birds seemingly knew this was unnatural and would not come in closer than about 60 yards. The birds seemed to make their way back to the other birds which had now moved out of sight. There had been no gobbling in quite a while so I stood up to get a better look. I could see the birds feeding across a hedgerow that came right past where we were at. I sat back down and eventually we saw the birds slip through to our side, but as soon as they saw the gobbler decoy seem hesitant to come any closer. One of the birds was a jake, but the other was a nice gobbler. He stayed back a little farther and we could soon see why. There were two hens that were with them. They made their way past us out of shooting range and we tried at this point to call the hens up. We were successful, but as soon as they came close enough to see the erratic decoy, they too became nervous and made their way across the field the way they had originally came. This would put the path of the gobblers almost identical to where they too had crossed. Continuing to call, after the gobblers crossed they seemed to lose sight of the hens and became nervous that they would lose them. For whatever reason, all the birds changed their direction and made their way again back toward us, but again would only pass within about 60 yards. Dad felt he could kill the bird with the Benelli and Hevi shot pattern he was using, so he decided to try the bird as he came back by. At the closest point I tried to stop the bird by cutting, but it didnít really work. Dadís shot hit the bird but apparently low. The bird turned and flew back across the field and landed right in the middle. We could see the bird with our binoculars and although apparently wounded, it didnít appear fatal. We watched for a few minutes but I told my Dad he would have to try and get close enough for a second shot. I would watch the bird closely and signal if he moved. Dad made his way to within about 40 yards and made a final killing shot. The bird weighed 19 pounds, had an 9 Ĺ inch beard and 3/4 inch spurs. See this hunt on my 2005 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.
After taking care of Dadís bird we made our way to some new property to scout in hopes of getting my second gobbler. Upon scouting a field corner I could see the tail tips of a strutting gobbler. We made our way back to get my gun, camera and other equipment. We moved back and setup inside the wood and fence line. After some soft calling we could see several birds including two strutting gobblers. The birds were intent on staying in the corner. After a couple of hours it seemed the birds would leave the field and since we couldnít see them felt we should back out and make a set up in a field behind us. We sat for about a half hour and no bird had shown, so we slipped back down to the original position and saw the birds back out in the field. We crawled back to our original set up and would now wait them out. I made several more series of calls and eventually one of the gobblers broke away and made his way along our edge of the field. The bird was almost too close at about 8 steps when I made the shot. As I panned the camera he caught movement and paused long enough for me to make a shot at a semi-still head. The bird weighed about 19 pounds, had a 9 inch beard and 1 inch spurs. See this hunt on my 2005 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.
Upon returning back to Georgia I made my way back to my hunting club. As I made my way to my set up, a bird gobbled a very long way across the field in front of me. I set up with the thoughts of taking quite a while to get the bird in. The bird must have hit the ground running as it took no time before I saw him coming my way. I quit calling when the bird was more than a hundred yards out, but he had my position pinpointed. He made his way directly to me and when I didnít make a sound he gobbled twice as if he was upset with the hen who had now became quiet. As the bird slipped around the edge of the field at only about 5 steps, he cleared some brush and was directly in view with nothing between us. He must have seen the camera lens because he got nervous and started to run. As he left, I was lucky he didnít stay on his original path. My shot was at about 10 yards but fortunately he was moving away instead of left and right. The bird was a fair gobbler weighing 17 1/2 pounds with a 9 ĺ inch beard and 1 inch spurs. See this hunt on my 2005 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.
Dad and I made our way to a small tract of land close to home. I was trying to get my third Georgia bird with the bow. At first light we heard a gobble across an abandoned dirt road along the edge of a pasture we had thought of setting up on. We would now have to settle with our choice and try to get the bird go come in. After about an hour the bird had closed and was now walking the road. He would come into the field about 125 yards from our set up. He looked intently and started strutting. We thought he was strutting at our decoys until we turned to see two hen to our left. The gobbler would come to within about 50 yards, but well out of my bow range for a turkey. He left and followed the hens across the field as we could not call any of the birds in. This hunt can also be seen on my 2005 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.
I was still eager to get my third Georgia gobbler with the bow and what better place to attempt it than at the Cullum property. I had not hunted this property since opening day and it was now almost the end of the season. I set up at the usual spot but now the grain was so high it was going to be tough getting a bird out of the woods into this high grain while it was so early and wet. At good daylight there were 2 birds gobbling and both in front of me. After a while the closest bird seemed to get farther and the farthest bird seemed to be coming my way. The first birds to appear were jakes and came out into the field far to my left seemingly where the grain was not so high and much thinner. There were two jakes at first and then three more that followed. After seeing that they were all jakes, I felt the bird I had heard was still to be seen. When I heard the gobble however, I could tell it was a jake that had made it. My thoughts at this point were that there were no gobblers around other than the jakes. If I wanted a bow kill it would have to be a jake since there were only 2 days left in the season. I gobbled to see if that would get the jakes attention and hopefully get them to come in. The three gobblers turned and made their way back into the woods. I felt they would come more easily to my calling through the woods than through the wet high grain. My attention was focused primarily to my front for the next 20 minutes and I had not noticed that the first two jakes had slipped through the high grain and were now only 15 yards away standing at my decoys. I started the camera rolling and started inching to get my bow in position. I had a tree directly in front of me that allowed me to draw. My first shot would be to the right side of the tree. By the time I had drawn and took the shot, the birds had inched farther away and my shot was a little low. As it turned out the shot may have also been deflected slightly by the grain but had struck the bird at a glancing blow through the wing. The bird didnít go far then stopped and was alertly watched as the other bird was putting. I slowly reached and nocked another arrow. This time I drew and shot from around the left side of the tree but the bird this time was about 8 to 10 yards farther. My shot was even lower and hit the bird through the legs but he appeared to go down. As I approached the bird, he attempted to make his way to the wood line across the opposite side of the field. As I failed to catch up with him, I made my way back to the blind and retrieved my bow to use for the finishing shot. It wasnít real pretty, but I guess it could have been worse for a Friday 13! See the hunt on my 2005 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.
The season was now about over and I was still looking for more video and not quite ready to close the season. I talked my youngest son into going for the last weekend of the season and he was amazingly eager to go. The first location we tried was the same small tract of land close to home that my Dad and I had hunted earlier in the week. This time we would setup across the dirt road and hope he had roosted in the same location. Unfortunately he had not and we only heard one gobbler that was too far to call in. We left about mid morning and as we drove past another tract of land that we could hunt, we spotted a strutting gobbler with a hen. We turned around and made our way around the back side of the property. We quietly made our way toward the field to set up as close as we could. We were fortunate to get as close as we could because there was a hill in the field which was between the gobbler and us. We set up within about 150 yards of the gobbler. I could stand up and see the hen that was with the gobbler, but I couldnít see him. I assumed the birds were still there and continued calling. Heath whispered that there were two birds coming and I watched the field but couldnít see them. They had come in from our left and were within 15 yards when I saw them. They came to the decoys and then made their way back across the hill top toward the gobbler and hen. Heath asked about shooting, but I felt we still had a shot at the good gobbler so I told him to wait. When the jakes reached the hill top, they started running toward the other birds. We hadnít been able to see the gobbler and hen but felt this was a good indication that they were still there. We were patient and continued calling and I decided to get a little more aggressive. I made a sharp cutt and finally I heard a gobble. This was the first gobble that had been made. At least now we had his attention. It wasnít long the two jakes, gobbler and hen made their across the hill top toward us. The hen would have led them too far for a shot, but when they saw the decoy, they came toward us. I told Heath I would let him know when too shoot, but there was some brush between him and the birds. Finally they were clear but his first shot missed. The second shot found its mark and we ended our season with some excellent video and a nice gobbler. He weighed 17 Ĺ pounds had a 10 inch beard and 1 inch spurs. See the hunt on my 2005 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.
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