Turkey (Gun) Hunters

Jen's First Turkey

We heard a Tom off in the distance and eventually saw a hen off to the left.  We watched her clean the water from her feathers since it had just finished raining.  Each of us took turns looking at her with the binoculars.  I had never watched a turkey up this close.  Then, all of a sudden, I glanced a little to the right of the blind and there he was!  The Tom came strutting right in and I whispered "oh my God, he's RIGHT in front of us".  I actually questioned what I was seeing.  He was so puffed up that I thought maybe I had him confused with the decoy.  However, after I watched him run in towards the decoys, I knew my eyes weren't deceiving me.  My first chance at a turkey was right in front of me!  My boyfriend, Ed started recording on his camera and I tried to get my gun in a position to shoot.  I told Ed "Tell me when Ed" and he responded "when he stops".  I didn't think it looked like he was stopping any time soon, but I listened to him and tried to slow down my breathing and calm down so I'd have a steady shot.  The Tom headed straight to the male decoy in full strut.  I had to readjust the gun since it was on the right side of the blind window strap.  He paused for a moment.  This would have been the perfect time for me to shoot, but he was positioned so that if I shot I would have hit him straight on and I feared I'd damage his feathers.  At this point Ed asked "do you have a shot?".  I waited another moment and he stopped again.  I felt like I had the perfect shot.  I took the shot and it felt like time stood still.  When I realized he dropped immediately I was ecstatic!  I couldn't believe that the first turkey I ever saw in full strut was the one I would shoot.  I did it!

 

Ashley Paddock's Turkey

Story: We get to the farm about 30 min before daylight so we sit in the car for about 15 min & then we walked to the ridge were I thought the birds would be roosted I have killed alot of birds on this part of the farm so I was so pumped the day before to hear a bird gobbling on that edge of the farm. It is about a 400 foot drop off on that whole side of the farm. Well we stand there & I hoot with my mouth & one hammers on the edge so I continue down the ridge to the edge. We get setup about 60 yards from the edge & I give out a soft tree call & he hammers but he is on the ridge to our left so I knew I was not setup right so I had her move with me & to another tree so we could face the ridge the Tom was on. When we got up to move we bumped a hen off a tree on our ridge so I was pumped because he was on the other ridge & I knew he would come our way since the hens were on our ridge. Well at about 6:45 am he flies out & starts strutting & gobbling on the other ridge so I start yelping to him then I just shut up to make him come looking for us & then another hen on our ridge starts clucking & then flies out & walks south of us which was perfect & then he folded up & started walking our way he crosses over to our ridge & by this time my daughter is shaking like a leaf. He comes up & starts angling to the right so when he goes behind a tree she moves perfectly & gets ready then the bird stops to strutt & when he comes out of strutt & sticks his head up she shoots & the bird hits the ground & then I get up & take off running then all of a  sudden the bird gets up & takes off running he heads for the nastiest valley he could ever pick & I go over it right on his tail. I slide down the hill on my back & butt & all I could think was keep your weight back chuck or it won't be good. I then get to a washed out area where there was a 8' drop off & I jump off after him by now I am gaining ground on him I then weave thru some rocks & right at the last minute he turns & tries to go up the hill & a leap on him & tackle him & I drill my arm on a rock. I now start feeling the pain in my ankle from the jump & it feels like I might have broke it but I didn't thank goodness & the rest is history.

We went to another check station because the first station we went to didn’t have a big enough scale so we went to another one & they had a deer scale & it weighed 32 lbs & he had a 10 ¼” Beard with 27 MM Spurs.

He is an absolute monster!!!!!!!!

I am limping around with a swollen ankle but I will live.

This is the best hunting day I have had in a long time.

 

Sandy Wiesner - Wisconsin, 2004

I got this tom on May 21, 2004. I Really wanted to go out with the bow, but since it was the last week of turkey season in Wisconsin, I took the shotgun. The birds had been hunted hard in this area and were quite spooky - plus, the forecast was thunderstorms and showers and I only had 3 days left to hunt. The night before, my husband, Bill, and I put the birds to bed. Early in the morn while still pitch-black outside, my son and I set up in that same area.

At first light, the toms were gobbling in their roost. Shortly after, the toms and hens flew down, walked through the woods and out into the field. We crawled up a hill on our stomachs very quietly and when we peaked over the edge out into the field, there stood two toms in full strut. My son, Brad, said, "Get ready mom and take the one on the right." I waited for the tom to come out of full strut and BOOM, the hunt was over. Thank God, cause an hour later it started raining and didn't stop for 3 days.

 

Deb Luzinski - Turkey 04

It was pretty though bowhunting spring of '04 in Bourbon County Kansas.  I couldn't call in a tom any closer than about 70 yards, I don't know about all of you but I don't take 70 yard shots with my bow.  Watching 5 toms strutting around in the middle of a field them trying to catch the attention of the hens, I decided  to try a different approach.  I asked Sis Mix, my friend and guide for her 20 gauge.  After a brief lesson from her as where to put the "bead", I headed out on a crawl-gun on back- for the other side of the field . The field was higher than the surrounding woods, so I hoped I was close to the area the toms were in. Once I reached my "guessed" destination on the other side of the field, I set up under a cedar and began stroking my box call again.  In a flurry came a hen followed by this tom.  It was an approximate 8 yard shot.  He weighed 26.2 lbs had a 10 in beard and 1 1/4 in spurs.  I set out an a Kansas Spring Bowhunt, and ended my hunt having my first gun hunt, gun kill.... I still don't own a gun-but I'm looking.

 

Real Turkey Hunters Never Quit

Running a local hardware store, raising 2 boys and trying to find time to hunt with my husband and children is sometimes very hard.  I have spent many trying hours to free up my schedule to escape the responsibilities of work (hiring wonderful women and men) to cover for me so I can appreciate a few hours of quality time talking to the local farmers and friends who might help me locate new properties to hunt. I love to talk about hunting and have many opportunities to mingle with a fantastic crowd of customers who frequent the hardware store. The farmers usually do not mind allowing myself and family to access their property for hunting purposes. I try to locate a few new properties every year.

This season, I had the wonderful opportunity of harvesting my first spring turkey on one of those newly located properties. I love to turkey hunt.  It is the only sport that I enjoy getting up early for.  There are not many mornings that inspire me to climb out of bed at 4:00 AM, except Ohio's turkey season

You must realize that when I turkey hunt, it is usually with the my husband Randy, our 2 sons Nathan(16) and Corey(11) and our best friend - also a "Randy".  This season, everyone had already harvested a spring turkey - except me.

Corey shot his first one this year during the youth season. His is another wonderful story waiting to be told.

But back to me ... I was beginning to feel a little deflated, yet still energetic about the season, hoping for Ohio's spring weather to change a little because all we had been getting was rain and high winds. I'd been out hunting with Randy and Randy, but still no turkey for me.  One thrilling experience I enjoyed, was the pleasure of helping my husband call his turkey into shooting range. He was able to get off a shot and harvested a nice turkey - but as yet ... my tag was still not filled. We spent Mother's Day weekend, camping and hunting. I was sure I'd find my turkey this time - seeing that it was Mother's Day and all, but by the weekend's termination, there were no turkeys and only heavy rains.  By now, the season was beginning to look pretty bleak.

Even so, I became even more determined than ever to get a turkey this year, so I decided to hunt an area close to my hardware store that we had hunted earlier in the week.  We hadn't seen any fresh scratches but I just knew there had to be turkeys in the area. I took my son to school that morning at 8:30 AM, headed to work, opened the store and then took off for the farm. By the time I was actually ready to hunt, it was 10:00 AM. I decided to climb the ridge and walk the outer rim overlooking the inner bowl area.  Nothing! No signs whatsoever! I continued to hike, dug up some ferns to transplant back at home, and called the store to let them know that I was taking a stroll through the woods and would be back shortly. (I do like to let the employees to know where I am when hunting by myself, just in case of an accident).

I continued around the ridge calling softly with my Easy Yelper, as I had been taught to do. As I walked around a corner, I spotted a hen milling around. As she meandered out of the area, I followed, letting her lead the way.  As she disappeared, I started calling again and then it happened! There! In the distance, a distinct gobble! My heart felt like it was on fire and for a brief moment I even forgot what I had been taught.  But experience pays off - I located a split tree and set up at the base of it so that I could see the path and the forest without having to move my head.  I called again, and the gobbler answered again. My heart was throbbing and I was concentrating on trying to control my breathing - which can be very difficult when you are facing one of your most important challenges - a chance to harvest your first wild turkey - the turkey I had dreamt about from season to season ... and now ... finally, a chance to fill the tag left empty far to long.

As the bird moved closer, he gave one last gobble before moving directly behind a tree. I took that opportunity to reposition a little to the right and was set up he walked out into the clearing - 25 yards away. I remember saying, "Now or never!", and took the shot.  As the noise of the shot was still ringing in my ears, I stood up, raced over to my turkey and put my foot down on his head to keep him from thrashing all over the forest. I was feeling so many emotions at that moment, that I all I could think about was calling my husband. I just wanted to express to him that all his patience, love and understanding of my desire to hunt the wild turkey, had finally paid off! Even though my family wasn't with me at the time, they were first in my thoughts. We had spent so much quality time hunting together that I couldn't wait to share this exciting adventure with them.

I am sure glad I decided to hunt the ridge that day. My first time gobbler tagged out at 17 lb., with a 10 inch, on May 21, 2003 at 11:30 AM.

I send my thanks to you for having a dream and letting us become part of a very special family of women hunters who are allowed to express their love for the sport.

Sincerely,
Lou Ann Weisenstein