THE MILLENNIUM TURKEY
THE MILLENNIUM TURKEY
FIVE WEEKS prior to opening day of season I prescouted this turkey. I had spotted this gobbler and two other gobblers in a hay field. This gobbler was the biggest of the three. I continued scouting this gobbler several more times before season. the tenth time I scouted for him he had become the boss gobbler and had five hens he was following throughout the day.
THE 17TH DAY OF SCOUTING:
This was a turning point for the millennium gobbler. He and his hens changed their patterns. I attributed this to the spring mating season. He had lost two of the original five hens that had been with him. The hens had left him for another gobbler. One key aspect during the spring season is that hens will choose their gobbler, these had chosen to go with another gobbler. In fact it was one of the gobblers that was with my millennium gobbler in the hay field the first time I spotted them.
TWO DAYS BEFORE SEASON:
Two days before season opened I scouted this gobbler. He had changed the area where he had been roosting a week earlier. He was now roosted about 1/2 mile farther away. I attributed this to the fact I was hunting on a "PUBLIC HUNTING AREA" AND THE MILLENNIUM GOBBLER HAD GOTTEN A LITTLE TRAFFIC IN HIS TERRITORY.
He was there! right where I had left him on the roost the night before. right where I had left him on the roost the night before. His hens were also there about 75-yards away. I set up between the gobbler and the hens in a open field I placed 3-turkey decoys. 40-minutes before sunrise I made a very soft low hen yelp. An instant thundering gobble, then another gobble. Ten minutes later the storm clouds let loose with a down pour of rain. He gobbled ever time the lighting cracked. I was about 50-yards from him and only 25-yards from his hens when the hens woke up for the day and came down off the roost. They left in a run for the adjacent hay field and the millennium gobbler gobbled at ever hen sound they and I made.
A few minutes later he came down off the roost but flew away from me. He landed in the corner of the field and went straight into double gobbles and full strut. One minute later he left and walked into the woods heading what seemed like straight north. I summed up that he was heading for his hens in a northwestern direction.
I grabbed the decoys and went somewhat west towards the hens. Crossing through a fence line I hit the hay field and was late by minutes. The millennium gobbler was hooked up with his hens already. I tried two more times that morning and ended the hunt at noon.
Roosted the night before in the same tree, I set up this morning in the corner of the field. Everything was the same except the hens were not to be found. I set only two hen decoys up this morning about 10-yards away from were the millennium gobbler had flown down the morning before. Sunrise was on its way and it was clear as a bell.
I gave a couple soft hen murr murrs and went into a short yelp, the millennium gobbler was turned on instantly. A few minutes later he flew down within 30-yards of the decoys. He hit the ground strutted and gobbled and walked away in the opposite direction. He hit the end of the field and went into full strut and gobbled, gobbled and gobbled. I thought I had him even thou he had walked away. He stayed there strutting and gobbling for nearly ten minutes. At one point he started coming to my calls, then I heard his hens. One hen appeared out of the woods and into the field, followed about five minutes later by the other two. He gobbled several more times while on his strut area and the hens started coming my way. One hen came in within ten yards and feed and scratched around close to the decoys. The millennium gobbler stayed at the end of the field with the other two hens.
Three hours later this same scene was still going on. Only twice did the millennium gobbler move within 60-yards, a shot I would never take. About 10:30 am the hens and the millennium gobbler moved off into the woods. I made a new set-up by heading around and into their direction of travel. I changed calls and got aggressive with some cutting and loud yelping. I located the millennium gobbler and made the set-up. It was in some rough territory with thick cut over timber. After about five or six gobbles I heard him coming. Only 50-yards away he gobbled and one of his hens went to yelping. I copied her yelps to the tee, he gobbled again. The hen yelped more and more and I heard her yelping and fading as she was walking away.
*** STRIKE TWO****
roosted again the previous night. This morning found the millennium gobbler about 50-yards away from the two previous roost trees. I set up as I did the first morning. The morning came and no sound from the hens. But the millennium gobbler was in full voice as he rolled gobble after gobble out on the roost. I decided to use three decoys this morning to copy the hens and I decided to get a little more aggressive in my calling like I had done on the second setup the previous day. I actually cut twice while he was on the roost, something I normally don't do. Then I went into soft yelps, one right after another. The millennium gobbler was on fire. He flew down about 100-yards from me into the open field. After landing he went right into a full strut and gobbled heading right for me. I yelped about four times and he gobbled and went up into full strut again. He was 60-yards from me when to my left two hens flew into the field and landed only 20-yards from me. My decoys were 20-yards away. The gobbler ran right towards the hens and the decoys. He was about 50-yards away when he meet the hens. The millennium gobbler broke loose with gobbles and the hens opened up their vocal chords. I kept up the pace making every sound the hens made.
Two hens joined the decoys and went past them and past me to the end of the field. The gobbler stayed with the one remaining hen. Then came within 40-yards and I decided not to take the shot. The hen was within three yards of the millennium gobbler all the way, one stray pellet would be herdemise. the millennium gobbler walked with the hen another 40-yards and I changed mouth calls. He instantly gobbled and went into full strut. He turned and strutted about 20-yard and gobbled. I let loose with a long old lonesome hen call with the new call. The gobbler gobbled hard and went into a half strut run straight to me.
He was 40-yards out when I aimed the bead on the 11-87 at his head. I gave three soft yelps and he gobbled and strutted another 10-yards. He headed right towards the outside decoy in a full strut. He was only 10 feet from the decoy when I pulled the trigger. I treasured the moment as I gathered my harvested turkey. What a great ending to a three day turkey hunt.