The Adventures and Misadventures of a turkey hunt

NYDAN

Handloader
Sep 17, 2013
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New York State's spring turkey season finally opened on Monday, May 1st. My neighbor/friend (Caleb) and I had been anxiously waiting for this day. Another friend of Caleb's also went out. However, he hunted along the foot of the hill separate from us. Caleb and I had decided to hunt the 500-yard-long field on top of the hill. That field has three blinds in it. A simple ground blind made of wooden boards (no roof), is tucked under a pine tree near the west end of the field. As slightly elevated permanent 6' x 6' blind is in the middle of the field. This blind has a 6' x 6' table filling the inside of the blind. The center of the table is cut out for a hunter to sit in. The hunter is surrounded by table everywhere except a narrow opening between the chair and door. The third blind is a pop-up near the east end of the field.

Our first misadventure was the death of the golf cart we had intended to ride part way up the hill to reduce the amount of uphill walking we would have to do. The golf card died within 50 yards of the garage, so we had to walk the whole way and ended up getting sweaty and winded. On the way we discussed which blinds to use. He had initially indicated that he would go to the open top blind near the west end of the field. I suggested that he go to the middle, elevated, blind in the middle of the field since it was threatening rain and that blind had a roof. He agreed. I decided to go to the pop-up blind near the west end of the field since I would have protection from any rain.

Caleb's the second misadventure happened when he tried to set his decoys. Both of the support sticks broke as he tried to stick them into the rocky ground. He ended up fudging the decoys so that they were upright but badly leaning.

Caleb's bad luck continued when he opened the padlock on the door of the blind. He dropped it and it banged loudly on the deck. Clearly any turkey in the area would have heard it.

Caleb's bad luck was on a roll. When he opened the door to the blind some animal violently hissed at him. I even heard it 200 yards away and I am deaf. I thought it was a deer blowing but I didn't see any deer around. All I could see was Caleb's flashlight making wild motions. He shined his light inside the blind to find a vulture sitting on eggs under the table. With no stick around and almost no room to work with (the chair takes up the open area in the center of the table). Caleb tried to coax the angry bird out from under the table while avoiding the hooked beak which was trying to take a chunk out of his hand/arm/feet/leg. After a lot of fussing, and using the barrel of his shotgun, he finally got the vulture out of the blind without losing a chunk of flesh.

However, by now he could hear turkeys gobbling in the woods near the west end of the field, about 250 yards from Caleb, and he wasn't settled in yet. Two gobblers came out into the west end of the field before Caleb was ready. But he slowly got settled in, got his calls out, loaded his shotgun, and put his face netting on.

By now the two gobblers had move up to a stake we put just 50 yards from the simple wooden ground blind near the west end of the field. They were strutting around on either side of the stake. Caleb was thinking a few "kind" words about my suggestion to go the blind in the middle of the field instead of the one near the west end. He was thinking he could easily shoot one of the two gobblers if he had followed his first instinct. He tried to call the gobblers over, but they went back into the woods to check out a third turkey that was gobbling out of sight. Eventually all three gobblers came back out of the woods and literally danced around the 50 yard stake for the western blind. They didn't respond to his calls.

By now I had turned my hearing aids up about two notches and I could hear the turkeys gobbling and Caleb calling. I looked over and could see that three deer had come up behind Caleb, about 30 yards from him, and seemed to looking right him through the blind windows. I was afraid the deer were going to spook and spoil the chances of Caleb calling the birds in. Although I couldn't see the birds due to the woods between us, I threw out some yelps on two different calls and the birds responded to my calls and started toward me, on a path that would take them right in front of Caleb. When they got about 300 yards from me I could see the birds and could see they were going to walk in front of Caleb and I stopped calling. They got about 50 yards from Caleb and spotted his decoys. They changed direction and headed for his decoys. As they got closer and closer to Caleb I couldn't understand why he hadn't taken a shot. Finally, the turkeys were at the decoys and checking them out.

So, I am sitting in my blind about 200 yards from Caleb and I realize that he has three sets of deer eyes and three sets of turkey eyes within 30 yards of him. He can't move without something seeing him. He said he decided to wait until the turkeys got past him, looking the other way, before trying to get his gun barrel out the window. The turkeys walked within 10 yards of him and finally got past center point. He got his barrel out the window and shot the last tom at 12 yards.

The three deer jump, the two remaining toms jump, and then they all just started looking around at the flopping tom and the decoys. I tried to call the two toms over. They would gobble back at me over and over, but they just wouldn't come my way, instead they very slowly away into the trees. They were still gobbling back at me as they moved out of hearing.

Meanwhile the deer had Caleb trapped in the blind, since we never, ever, intentionally let deer or turkeys know we are in the blinds. These deer walk back and forth between the dead bird and the decoys. At one point I thought one of the deer was going to walk right up the ramp to the deck of the blind Caleb was in. The three deer hung around at least a half hour. Finally, a little breeze came up and one of them smelled Caleb and ran off with its flag up, alerting the other deer.

So, despite all of the morning's misadventures, everything turned out just fine with a smiling Caleb and an amused Dan.

12 yards from the blind.

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Smiling Caleb.

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Vulture eggs.

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That was quite unusual hunt if there ever was one. Congratulations on overcoming all the obstacles. Dan.
 
Have to say I can picture the incident with the vulture :ROFLMAO: There's no way someone could prepare for something like that! Every time I think about it it makes me laugh.
 
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