Coop’s 10 Foot Shot on a 2017 Spring Gobbler

My Dad had been seeing a couple Tom’s strutting in the open fields near his house in the last couple days so  I decided to take my gear along on a weekend visit and try to capitalize on the opportunity for a quick hunt.

Setup

I walked back along a neighboring woods at day break and heard the turkeys gobbling on the roost about 2/3 the way back on a 1/4 mile walk.   I was able to get to one of my Dad’s deer blinds that is situated in some brush and small trees along a drainage ditch.  My decoy was set very close to the blind in fear of being seen out in the open field and I got into the blind as it offered the best cover in the area.  Quickly, I unpacked my calls and did some prep work and the hunt was on.

Calling Sequences

The first couple call sequences produced responses from the other side of the nearest wood lot.  I could tell the turkeys were still on the roost but they were responding.  I kept calling and the gobbles all but stopped and I assumed the birds had hit the ground and either moved to other fields or were headed my way.  With small sequences containing breaks in between I started to hear the yelps of an incoming hen.  It sounded like she paced back and forth in the woods for a while but never stepped out into the field.

After talking to her for a while I leaned over to look around a tree trunk and saw the blue and red-head coming out of the woods.  The tom popped out of the woods into the strip of hay that surrounds the woods about 10 yards wide.  He was full strut at about 75 yards.  At this time the hen came out of the same woods at just over 150 yards and I thought he would go to her.

Closing the Gap

I let out a couple aggressive yelps and clucks with softer purring to follow.  He abandoned his display and headed right to me closing another 20 yards quickly and then returned to his strut.  Using a 20 gauge with 3 inch mags and a turkey choke tube, he was still a little farther than I would even consider shooting.  I called lightly again and he locked on to my decoy and headed my way.  I had to move my gun from one side of the tree trunk to the other and got ready.

He came right to my decoy and being in a box blind, he was in a blind spot for me.  I had to very calmly and quietly re-situate as I could only see the top of his fan in full strut.  Once my sights were on him, looking right at the back of his fan, I let out a loud stressed cluck just using my mouth, not much of a turkey sound at all.  He folded his fan and exposed his head.  BOOM, he was down with a shot to the back of his head at about 10 feet from barrel end to target.

The Results
My 2017 Michigan Tom
My 2017 Michigan Tom

The hunt seemed like it lasted a lot longer than it did with all the excitement.  When I checked the time though it had only taken about 35 minutes which included walking out.  A nice quick hunt that produced a great bird and story.

I didn’t weigh him, but he had a 9&1/2 inch beard with 1&1/8 inch spurs.

-Coop

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