"Member Hunting Stories"
By HSP Member, Dan
I am a returning member. I spent one year as member a few years ago. I have returned to the HSP family to utilize the hunting and fishing opportunities away from the crowded public lands and waterways.
This spring was my first turkey hunt on (HSP) privately owned land in a long time. I hunt turkey with a Mossberg 500, 12 gauge. I replaced the standard 28" vent rib with a 24" cantilever mount barrel, topped with a Tasco 2X extended eye relief "Turkey Plex" scope. I added an oversized safety palm swell, and a high combed cheek piece to accommodate the scope, and ease the use of it while sitting against a tree.
The shotgun patterns well with a ported turkey choke. I built this gun to hunt turkey and that is all it does. The whole heavy mess is covered in camouflage and wears a Browning camouflage sling. I wear a basic turkey vest with plenty of storage and an orange flag that sticks out the back.
The excitement, just thinking about the opportunities to hunt birds without everyone else and their brother in the woods around me, was electric. There isn't much that gets the heart pumping faster than a turkey gobbling its head off headed in your direction, and knowing this piece of property is yours and yours alone on that particular day.
However, the birds and the weather didn't cooperate. Most of this past season, the turkeys gobbled on the roost for a short time, then shut up for the rest of the day.
My previous turkey hunting experience was mainly restricted to heavily forested river hills, where the birds gobbled for an hour at sunrise and then again around 10:00 A.M.
This year I was lucky to hear anything after the birds flew off the roost. I hunted hard, managing to call in a turkey for a fellow member opening morning, but without success for myself.
The last Saturday of the season I had my two feather flex decoys out when I woke up from a power nap, to see a white head out in front of me. The thing just stood there and didn't move for what seemed an hour, but was closer to minutes. I knew I would harvest this bird given the opportunity. He was clearly a jake, but it was late in the season and I like to eat turkey. He closed the gap 20 yards or so in about 20 minutes, while I softly worked my box call. I could see his beard as he would bend to peck. When he turned away, I uncrossed my feet, worked my shotgun to my knee, and put the birds head in my "Tosco Turkey Plex Reticle." I didn't have a mouth call in so all I could do was wait. The jake worked his way closer very slowly, turned broadside and stuck out his neck. I had been watching this bird for what seemed like an eternity. When you have two tags and two days left to hunt you take what you can get. He was still a bit far, but was within range for a clean kill. The outstretched neck was more than I could refrain and the shotgun rang out. The bird bowled over and expired from one number 5, 3 inch, federal copper plated buffered shell.
The anticipation of that bird reaching range and the successful harvest left me with a giant smile and a "Chest Thumping" sense of accomplishment.
He wasn't a boss gobbler, but it was a tough season and it had been a long time since I had a successful turkey season. I didn't compete with another caller for the same bird nor did I cross paths with anyone. Before rejoining the Club, I had all but given up turkey hunting.
I can hardly wait for fall.
(Editors Note: Thanks to Dan for taking the time to tell his story and the turn-around in his hunting attitude and success.
Stories such as these are not that uncommon. More members need to express similar situations in reference to other species. If similar situations are related to turkey hunting, fine! Say So! Doing so will only strengthen the club.)
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