About The Author

Kim Hiss, an associate editor at Field & Stream, has hunted ducks, antelope, turkeys, and deer throughout the country, enjoying a number of women's hunts along the way. She lives in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Click here to email Kim.

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June 06, 2008

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Our own Laura Bell from Garretsville, Ohio just sent this success story from her spring turkey season. I'll just get out of the way and let her tell it -- she has a lot to say. Congratulations, Laura! -K.H.

     I was lucky enough to fill both my tags this year as well as call in a few birds for my dad. Here's the rundown:
     We did our scouting well ahead of time and had a group of birds picked out for opening day. The birds were hot the day before the opener and gobbling at any sound around. But the firLauras08turkeyst day fizzled. The birds barely answered a call and finally shut up all together.
     We tried again the second day and got a much better response. We set up right under a gobbler and had him riled with a combo of my H.S. Strut Diaphragm call and my dad scratching up some leaves. He pitched off roost and minutes later walked into an opening and I took the shot. He weighed 19 pounds, had a 9 1/4" beard, and 1" spurs.
     The next day my dad downed his first of he season. Again the mouth call from the previous day brought his Tom down.
     Then for the third day in a row we scored. We tried a new woods and before we walked too far I hit an aluminum call. Nothing. Walked a little and tried again. Still nothing. Went just a little deeper again and I got one cluck out of the call when a gobble rang out within 100 yards of us. We dropped next to a tree and got ready. I popped in my lucky mouth call and let'm have it. Within a minute they appeared, a trio of bright blood red heads. They were excited, but they wouldn't come into range. They skirted it while gobbling their heads off, then slowly filtered deep into another part of the woods. They were hot and willing so we thought a new position might help us. We moved and soon the gobbles had turned back to us and edged closer. Soon they popped over a hill on my dad's side. They didn't like something and were on their way out when I told my dad to take the shot. A 10" inch bearded bird with 1 1/4" inch spurs was the reward.
     For my last tag we played with multiple birds but they wouldn't play into our set up. Finally on the last day it came together. It was pouring rain -- not the weather you want. We thought we had the birds' roost patterned, but after we set up and it was light out, my gobbler spoke up in another woods across the field we were watching. We thought about moving but knew we'd be busted. Again I had my mouth call, and combined with a gobble call that my dad was using we made our best attempt to make the Tom jealous. We sat in silence for some time, and finally I saw his white head coming our way across the field and he had a Jake along. He seemed to listen to the calls but something was keeping him out at the 50 - 60 yard range.Lauras2nd
     Then several hens came out of the woods to join the Tom in the field and feed. They came in to about 15 yards and took notice of us. This is where the rain helped us out. It started really beating and the turkeys hunkered down into tight little balls of feathers and were still as stones, just letting the rain come. It was very neat, to say the least.
     At this point I was shaking awfully bad from the cold and wet, but also the excitement. The rain gave in just slightly and my dad told me to call, as he didn't know how much longer he could sit. I hit it and it was enough to get the hens moving, but my gobbler still stayed out of the way. The hens started to feed off to my left and the Tom and Jake acted as if they would leave.
     I knew they were far but if this was the only shot, I was going to take it. I leveled my gun on him. I gave an aggressive call and they answered so I hit them right back even harder. The Jake took the bait and started to take a step closer, then a couple more. The Tom knew what he was up to and ran and cut the Jake off. The Tom now spots the decoys and starts running in with the Jake hot on his heels -- or spurs, rather.
     They closed fast and I got my shot at the 20-yard line. The Tom dropped instantly. It was an awesome end to the season! This bird weighed 21 pounds soaking wet! He had a 10 1/2" beard and 1" spurs.


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Lou Alexander

Congrats! All I have for my turkey season is a bunch of stories and no bird to show for all of my work. Our turkey numbers are way down in SE Kansas and I think I hunted the same bird for 8 weeks and, yes, I educated him well. It was a comedy of errors, mainly impatience, that cost me this year. I did have a first though, I had a hen so mad at me she was coming to kick my tail with three toms on her heels. . . I messed that one up too. I can't wait till next year.

G. Harris

Sounds like a great hunt! Congrats on filling both tags. If you have a chance check out the turkey hunt pics that have made it into the finals of the Sierra Sportmans photo contest. There is a $500 prize for the winner. http://www.sierraclub.org/sierrasportsmen/photocontest/