TURKEY HUNTING


VIDEO/HUNTS FOR 2006


BY

DEREK FOWLER


MARCH 25, 2006 VIDEO HUNT #1
LOCATION: BALDWIN COUNTY, PRIVATE LAND
PARTNER: CHASE
CALLS USED: SMALL ROHM SLATE, 3.5 REED CUTTER DIAPHRAGM
DESCRIPTION OF CALLS: YELPS, CUTTING, CLUCKING, PURRING
DESCRIPTION OF HUNT: AM HUNT CALLED IN/SEEN 1 GOBBLER AND 4 JAKES - VIDEO

On opening day my oldest son Chase and I traveled to our hunting club in Baldwin County. Chase and I were a little late getting to the creek bottom and decided to set up on the hillside food plot. At first light there was no gobbling activity. After about an hour we heard a distant gobble all the way across the swamp bottom on the other side of the club. I called loudly to hopefully get his attention and see how interested he was. He eventually answered me and started making his way down to the swamp bottom. About 30 minutes more and he had come as far as he would come. We could tell he was near a creek run and was traveling up and down it. We decided to move across the bottom slowly and try to work our way down the opposite side. We had made it to within 50 yards of where we wanted to set up when we spotted him. We froze in our tracks long enough for him and 4 other jakes to move away and allow us to back up and set up. We called a little and saw the jakes but couldn’t turn the gobbler around. As soon as the birds were out of sight, Chase and I circled around to get where we could see across the swamp. We set up and could see the Gobbler strutting, but could never call him in. We did call the jakes to within about 40 yards. See this hunt on my 2006 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.


APRIL 1, 2006 VIDEO HUNT #2
LOCATION: BALDWIN COUNTY, PRIVATE LAND
PARTNER: CHASE
CALLS USED: SMALL ROHM SLATE, 3.5 REED CUTTER DIAPHRAGM
DESCRIPTION OF CALLS: YELPS, CUTTING, CLUCKING, PURRING
DESCRIPTION OF HUNT: AM HUNT CALLED IN 2 JAKES – VIDEO

Chase and I returned to our hunting club in Baldwin County and made it to the opposite side of the swamp bottom. We spotted a couple of birds roosted in the trees as we made our way across the swamp. At first light there was again, no gobbling activity. We did hear a hen back across where we had seen the birds before light. After hearing no gobblers and hearing a couple of hens, we moved in closer to the beaver pond swamp where we had called up the jakes the week before. After calling for an hour and hearing no more turkeys, I gave Chase a slate and told him to practice his calling. We both called loudly as I demonstrated and he practiced. I had barely finished telling him that “wouldn’t it be something if we called up a bird with this wild frenzy of calling” when suddenly I looked across the swamp bottom to see two gobblers coming. They looked large and I told Chase to start with that I thought it was good gobblers. After I eased my binoculars up I could tell that they were just jakes. I asked Chase if he wanted to take one and he said no. The jakes came up to the lone decoy and didn’t want to leave without the decoy. See this hunt on my 2006 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.


Chase & Jakes


APRIL 3, 2006 VIDEO HUNT #3
LOCATION: TWIGGS COUNTY, PRIVATE LAND
PARTNER: ALONE
CALLS USED: SMALL ROHM SLATE, 3.5 REED CUTTER DIAPHRAGM
DESCRIPTION OF CALLS: YELPING, CUTTING, CLUCKING AND PURRING
DESCRIPTION OF HUNT: PM HUNT CALLED IN 4 GOBBLERS AND KILLED 1

I traveled to my hunting club on this evening after work and spotted several birds in a field. They appeared to be good gobblers, but were over 400 yards so I couldn’t easily tell. I set up and began calling and soon the gobblers started answering and slowly coming my way. They had been following a lone hen, but now they started directing their attention to me as I used several calls to sound like more than one hen. Once the birds were about half way, they went into a low spot and I couldn’t see them for about 15 minutes. I was hesitant to call much at this time as I didn’t want them to spot me until I could see them. When they arrived, they were moving on a line that would take them past me and out of range. I called softly and they didn’t seem interested so I made some excited cutts and they immediately turned and came directly toward my position. I had a clear shot but waited until I could see the first bird enter the screen on my camcorder. At that point I took the shot and watched as the other birds became excited and indecisive as to what they should do. I didn’t move as my gobbler was down for the count and didn’t need to be attended to. The bird only weighed 15 pounds but had 7/8 inch spurs and a 10 inch beard. See this hunt on my 2006 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.


Dereks first 2006


APRIL 8, 2006 VIDEO HUNT #4
LOCATION: TWIGGS COUNTY, OCMULGEE WMA
PARTNER: CHASE
CALLS USED: ROHM SMALL SLATE, 3.5 REED CUTTER DIAPHRAGM
DESCRIPTION OF CALLS: YELPING, CUTTING, CLUCKING, PURRING
DESCRIPTION OF HUNT: AM HUNT CALLED IN 1 JAKES AND 1 GOBBLER

Chase and I decided to hunt the Ocmulgee wildlife management area on this day. Bad Weather with rain was threatening and we weren’t sure how long we would be able to hunt. We set up our “doghouse” blind up and settled in for the hunt. There was no gobbling at daylight and after about an hour and a half later we looked and out of nowhere a jake made his way toward and past our decoy and eventually past us. Chase again elected not to shoot in hopes of getting a good bird. Soon after the jake was gone we heard a gobbler well off in the distance. At first we couldn’t tell the direction, but as the bird got closer it seemed he was over our right side. Some time had passed and the next time he gobbled he was less than 75 yards. We expected the bird to come in to the opening where the decoys were set. I told Chase to ease his gun into position but apparently the bird picked up some movement because we never heard or saw the bird. See this hunt on my 2006 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.


WMAJake


APRIL 15, 2006 VIDEO HUNT #5
LOCATION: OMAHA NEBRASKA, OMAHA INDIAN NATION
PARTNER: DAD
CALLS USED: ROHM SMALL SLATE, 3.5 REED CUTTER DIAPHRAGM
DESCRIPTION OF CALLS: YELPING, CUTTING, CLUCKING
DESCRIPTION OF HUNT: AM HUNT - GOBBLER KILL

Dad and I had made our way to Nebraska and had rendezvous’d with numerous birds on our first morning. The evening also saw a bird put the slip on us as he came over a hill instead of around it. We slipped back into the same area well before daylight where we had heard several birds gobbling the morning before. No birds were roosted nearby on this morning but we could hear several that we would try to move on. After giving it plenty of time to insure we didn’t have a bird close we moved toward the other gobbling birds. We set up several times but eventually made it back to the set up where we had started. It was approaching mid day when we heard a distant gobbler. After making some yelps and cutts, we could tell he was interested and was coming. Dad and I were positioned so we could cover as much of the hillside and bottom as possible and the bird would be approaching to my left and to my Dad’s back. We decided if the bird didn’t make his way around Dad’s left side that I would take him. The gobbler was strutting when I first saw him at about 125 yards. He made his way across a ditch and came directly in but then turned to go uphill and to my left. I shot the bird at about 40 yards. It was a good 3 to 4 year old gobbler weighing 23 pounds with 1 ¼ inch spurs and a 9 inch beard. See this hunt on my 2006 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.


Dereks Omaha Gobbler 2006


APRIL 17, 2006 VIDEO HUNT #6
LOCATION: HOT SPRINGS SOUTH DAKOTA, BLACKHILLS
PARTNER: DAD
CALLS USED: ROHM SMALL SLATE, TRUMPET, GOBBLE TUBE, 3.5 REED CUTTER DIAPHRAGM
DESCRIPTION OF CALLS: YELPING, CUTTING, CLUCKING, PURRING GOBBLING
DESCRIPTION OF HUNT: AM HUNT - GOBBLER KILL

After unsuccessfully working several more birds in Omaha, Dad and I set out to the Black hills of South Dakota. With threatening weather including snow, Dad and I decided to try out luck in the area near Hot Springs to stay as far south in the Black hills as possible. We talked to several people in town and gained some ideas of where we should start out. We made our way very early the next morning and as daylight approached we decided to park and make our way afoot so we could listen. As we stepped out we heard two or three gobbles. The birds were along the bottom in front of us so we made our way downhill between the gobbling birds. We eventually set up and could hear numerous hens with both gobblers. Both birds with their hens made their way in opposite directions and away from us. We chose the nearest bird and started trying to make our way around him. We set up several times but were only able to stay parallel with the birds. We eventually got far enough around that we felt good about calling them up. At this point the gobbler had not gobbled in quite a while and we weren’t sure if we had bumped the birds. We heard a different gobbler farther up the draw so we sat tight hoping that maybe he would come in. It wasn’t long before a gobbler started back gobbling near where the first bird had been. We weren’t sure if this was the original bird, but it wasn’t long before we had his attention and this time we were in perfect position to call him up. After calling excitedly for a few minutes, I quit calling to see what he would do. He seemed to break out and come much quicker at this point. He was strutting occasionally as he made his way to us, but seemed to be in too big of a hurry to strut as he thought the hens he had heard were getting away from him. Dad made the shot at 40 yards. The bird weighed 20 pounds had 7/8 inch spurs and a 9 ½ inch beard. See this hunt on my 2006 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.


Dads 2006 Merriam


APRIL 20, 2006 VIDEO HUNT #7
LOCATION: SPRINGVIEW NEBRASKA, PRIVATE LAND
PARTNER: DAD
CALLS USED: SMALL ROHM SLATE, 3.5 REED CUTTER DIAPHRAGM
DESCRIPTION OF CALLS: CACKLING, YELPING, CLUCKING AND PURRING
DESCRIPTION OF HUNT: AM HUNT – JAKES VIDEO

After 1 day of good hunting in the Black hills the wind and snow came. Dad and I tried to hunt on the second day, but the wind and snow made it almost impossible. We didn’t even get to hunt on the third day and made our way back to Springview, Nebraska for the third leg of our hunt. We knew the area where we would be hunting so we felt really good about our morning hunt. The weather had cleared and the wind wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been in South Dakota. We made our way very early to the river bottom near the cottonwood trees where we expected the birds to be roosted. At first light we heard about 10 gobblers, so we felt really good about calling one in. As it became lighter we could see birds roosted in the cotton wood trees. We had set up with a minimum amount of ground cover, so we would be very limited in our movement. As the birds began flying down we could not tell whether it was good birds or jakes. As we continued to call we could see four of the birds making their way across the field. As they came in we could tell that they were all jakes. They eventually joined several hens and for no apparent reason flew across the river. See this hunt on my 2006 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.


NebraskaJake


APRIL 22, 2006 VIDEO HUNT #8
LOCATION: SPRINGVIEW NEBRASKA, PRIVATE LAND
PARTNER: DAD
CALLS USED: SMALL ROHM SLATE, 3.5 REED CUTTER DIAPHRAGM
DESCRIPTION OF CALLS: CACKLING, YELPING, CLUCKING AND PURRING
DESCRIPTION OF HUNT: AM AND PM HUNT – JAKES VIDEO

Dad and I tried several more places the next day with no success but on this day we returned to the “cottonwood” roost trees in hope that there were more than just jakes. We set up a little differently with more cover around us. Again, as daylight came we could see birds in the cottonwoods about 200 yards away. There must have been 7 or 8 gobblers and as many hens roosted in the cottonwoods! When they flew down there were as many as 6 gobblers strutting at one time, but the only problem, they were all jakes! We hunted until about 10 o’clock and then left to try to find an adult gobbler. We hunted the mid day hours with our binoculars and after not seeing any birds we elected to return and set up across the river from where we had been earlier that morning. The first bird to come in was a hen and she came in flying directly across us from the upper hillside. Soon we heard a couple of gobblers and after getting rather aggressive with them, they finally decided to come in but again it was only 3 jakes. After continuing to hunt we heard another hen, and then saw her and 4 more gobblers. But again they were all jakes. Boy next year should be a good year for 2 year olds! Our hunt in Springview had ended with no kills, but we had some pretty good video. See these hunts on my 2006 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.


MAY 2, 2006 VIDEO HUNT #9
LOCATION: TWIGGS COUNTY, PRIVATE LAND
PARTNER: ALONE
CALLS USED: SMALL ROHM SLATE, 3.5 REED CUTTER DIAPHRAGM, TRUMPET
DESCRIPTION OF CALLS: YELPING, CUTTING, CLUCKING, PURRING
DESCRIPTION OF HUNT: PM HUNT CALLED IN 1GOBBLER AND 3 JAKES – GOBBLER KILL

Upon returning back to Georgia I made several hunts to find out the birds were in that lull that was almost impossible to get to gobble. When things get tough I usually make my way to my hunting club and settle in to at least see a turkey whether I can call them up or not. On this evening I stepped out of the truck only to see strut marks in the road. I had wished I had walked in rather than drive, but I still had hopes of seeing the bird. I followed the road into a small opening and continued to see the strut marks. I continued to ease along making my way to a long opening where I spotted the gobbler. I froze, but I think he had seen me. He was about 150 yards and just eased out of the road heading toward the field. I made my way as fast as I could hoping to get set up without being seen again. I slipped out a couple of yards to place a hen decoy, so the bird could be assured and hopefully come close enough for a shot. I waited about 45 minutes before calling and then called softly hoping the bird would already be in or near the field. I called every 10 or 15 minutes but continued to call softly. I thought about it a bit and felt that if the bird was nearby some good hard excited calling should make him gobble. I made some loud yelps on my trumpet and then came back with some hard cutting on my diaphragm. That was the trick. He gobbled to my back left and had not made it to the field yet. He was less than 150 yards and should come in. I never had to make another call. In about 10 minutes the bird was there making his way up the edge directly to my left. I set the camera knowing there might not be much video if he continued on his same path. Instead of staying on a path into the field, he saw the decoy and turned directly toward me. Boy, he would be too close if I didn’t shoot him soon, so I did and it was at about 10 yards then. There were 3 more jakes with him and they gave me a little video footage to go with the kill. The bird weighed 17 pounds with a 9 ¾ inch beard and 7/8 inch spurs. See this hunt on my 2006 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.


Dereks 3rd Gobbler


MAY 6, 2006 VIDEO HUNT #10
LOCATION: WILKINSON COUNTY, PRIVATE LAND
PARTNER: KEITH SMITH
CALLS USED: SMALL ROHM SLATE, 3.5 REED CUTTER DIAPHRAGM, TRUMPET
DESCRIPTION OF CALLS: YELPING, CUTTING, CLUCKING
DESCRIPTION OF HUNT: AM HUNT CALLED IN 1 “AGGRAVATED” HEN

A good friend Keith Smith and I hunted on this morning in hopes of trying to get a bow kill on video. Keith and I have been hunting together for several years and have just never connected on a video together. It is really a chore to find a setup for one person and video and each additional person more than doubles the difficulty. On this morning we only heard one gobbler in the distance but we did have one agitated hen come in and really show her ill temper. She continued to make an aggravated purr as she circled the decoys. I hope this audio is sufficient for my video. See the hunt on my 2006 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.


Aggitated Hen


MAY 7, 2006 VIDEO HUNT #11
LOCATION: JASPER COUNTY, PRIVATE LAND
PARTNER: ALONE
CALLS USED: SMALL ROHM SLATE, 3.5 REED CUTTER DIAPHRAGM, TRUMPET
DESCRIPTION OF CALLS: YELPING, CUTTING, CLUCKING
DESCRIPTION OF HUNT: AM HUNT CALLED IN 3 HENS AND MISSED GOBBLER

As the season nears end, I can always count on the Cullum Farm to provide some excellent video. This day would be no different. I arrived plenty early enough to get across to the far side set up before daylight. It had rained and was threatening even more. It actually was sprinkling on my way to the blind. I set out two jake decoys to the left and 2 hen decoys to the right. I managed to set up two tree umbrellas to help keep me and my camera dry. I still had to get very close to the tree the umbrella was in front of me to stay dry. As daylight approached I could hear a gobble across the creek and eventually a gobble from 150 yards in front of me. Perfect, I thought! Soon after good daylight the hens set in all around the gobbler. I tried to imitate and boss them into coming in. After a while, they silenced but soon after I spotted them entering the field from directly toward the gobbles. The hens fed in all the way to the decoys and after about an hour, the gobbler eased his way to the edge of the field. The gobbler eased in and around the edge like an older bird but eventually made it to the hen decoys at about 25 yards. I could have shot him several times but in an attempt to gain more video I let him get too far around to the left where I could not turn the camcorder because of the tree I had set up under. I would have to let him move back around to the left some. Instead of moving to the left, he started moving away as did the hens. I finally was able to see him well enough on video and had eased my gun up and over a limb so that I could attempt a shot. He was quickly getting too far, and for a second I thought of getting my rangefinder. I knew by the time I ranged him he would be 5 or 6 yards farther so I decided to take a shot. Then a hen got in the way and I couldn’t shoot. Finally he was open so I cut to make him come out of strut. On the first attempt I didn’t get the shot off, but I cutt again and he gobbled. I shot with a very steady rest but too my surprise, he ran …….. I shot again, he ran……….I shot again, he ran. To make short of a long sad story, I only knocked out a couple of feathers on the first two shots. I looked for the bird or any sign that might indicate I had a lethal shot, but there was none. I replayed the video and watched it several times. I marked the spot and ranged it thinking the shot was too far, but again to my surprise, it was only about 45 yards. I had shot birds many times before over this distance and killed them with no problem. It appeared it was just one of the “misses” I needed for my video season to be complete. Catch and release as I call it. So I could continue hunting and maybe again for this bird. See the hunt on my 2006 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.


MAY 12, 2006 VIDEO HUNT #12
LOCATION: JASPER COUNTY, PRIVATE LAND
PARTNER: ALONE
CALLS USED: SMALL ROHM SLATE, 3.5 REED CUTTER DIAPHRAGM
DESCRIPTION OF CALLS: YELPING, CUTTING, CLUCKING, PURRING
DESCRIPTION OF HUNT: AM HUNT CALLED IN 1 HEN, GOBBLER KILL

Five days later I returned to the Cullum property to do battle again with a bird I hoped was still around. I debated whether to set up on the hillside where I had heard a different bird on several occasions or back at the spot where I had missed the bird. I knew the grain would be getting a little high and the dew was pretty wet which makes it tough to get them to come out into the field. My plans were to stay for several hours and I figured the dew would burn off as the sun came up so for video benefits, I chose the field. I managed to get there as the day started to break and on this morning I thought I’d make the decoy set up a little different. I placed my Montana strutting gobbler to the far left, the two jake decoys to my front and the two hen decoys to my right. Again, the first gobble came from the hillside. I almost picked up to leave after 10 or 12 gobbles. As he continued to gobble, I figured I would even have a chance at him from my current position. In fact, as he continued to gobble, I assumed he was a two year old bird and started wondering if my Montana strutting decoy would be a bit too intimidating to him. I actually got up to retrieve the decoy and when I had made about two steps out of the blind, my gobbler just inside the wood line answered. I eased back into the blind as quickly and quietly as I could. I had to wonder if he had seen me, or maybe just heard the leaves rustle which provoked a gobble. At any rate I was in business. I sat back and started my calling sequence of low keyed yelps and clucks. I soon heard a hen and decided it was a must to get her in the field. For the first hour they stayed inside the woods in front of me gobbling and yelping occasionally. As I anticipated them entering the field at any time I noticed a sound from my right. I eased my head back behind the camera so I could see and a buck deer was less than 8 steps. He was unsure of the decoys and had to get closer for a look. As he did, he finally smelled where I had walked and snorted as he galloped off. He stopped to snort several more times. I tried to spook him at this point so he would go on, but no hand signals I could make would make him leave. He finally walked off, but my chances at the gobbler seem to be dissipating. I let the area settle down for about 20 minutes before I did any additional calling and in no time there were two more buck deer in front of me coming across the field toward the decoys. They didn’t make it far before they also scented me. They snorted and ran off directly into the woods where the turkey had last gobbled. Boy, this was just not my morning, I thought. I decided it was time to leave so I turned my back to the field as I started to break down my camera and pack my equipment. No sooner than I did than I heard a cluck……..or was it a putt???? I eased around to see a hen directly where the deer had entered the woods. The hen was coming toward me and the decoys. I eased around and slowly set down and don’t know how she didn’t see me but nevertheless I got the cameral rolling again. She slipped in to the decoys and then started to make her way back. When she made it to the where the sun was hitting the field, she stopped. She posed there for probably 30 minutes. The gobbler had gobbled another time or two by now, so I really wanted the hen to come back within range. At this point a limb or tree fell inside the woods and a hen inside the woods started putting. Well, what other obstacles will there be??? The hen in the field just stood there and starred. The gobbler was silent now for quite a while. Another hen started cutting farther up the field to my left and this was what turned out to be the save of the day. The gobbler answered and finally made his presence into the field. He was on a mission toward the cutting hen until he saw my decoys (including the Montana). He then made a 90 degree turn and came directly to the decoys. As he approached he veered away from the Montana to confront the jakes first. This was probably an indication that he was subdominant. It really didn’t matter to me, because at this point my safety was off and I was squeezing the trigger. The bird weighed 18 pounds had 7/8 inch spurs and a 10 ¾ inch beard. What a way to end the season. See the hunt on my 2006 video: Turkey hunting with Derek Fowler.

Redemption

Derek 4th Gobbler


THE END

Return to Turkey Page
Return to Derek's Home Page