Just about every time I run in to Ed Garner at the Y he wants to talk hunting. I don’t mind! I saw him after he sent this picture and story, but before I had opened the email. He told me the “short” version in the locker room, and let’s just say he was still pumped!
“Attached is a picture of the beauty I bagged opening morning. The big gobbler weighed at least 25-27 lbs with 1 1/2 inch spurs and a 10 inch beard. The bird was beautiful and huge!
I got to my hunting spot in Bedford a little late, about 10 minutes before sunup. When I got out of the truck to put on my gear, the turkeys were gobbling from all directions–must have been 7-10 birds gobbling within 300 to 500 yards. I was perplexed about which bird to pursue. I settled on one gobbling down below the house, across the creek. I would have a fence line with trees to provide cover as I tried to sneak within good calling range of the gobbler.
I finished putting on my gear and started out. After going about 75 yards, I realized that I would have to cross about 50 yards of open field with very little cover and probably would be seen. So, I decided to set up my decoys on the edge of the field and found a place to hunker-down about 35 yards off to the side with a good view. Fortunately, I found a depressed area, with good cover beneath a big oak tree, sat down and grabbed my Magnum Strutter box called. I had wanted to try my new friction call, but the box call was the first one I could grab and I wanted to minimize my movement. I had not been spotted and the birds, including the one I was pursuing, continued to gobble.
I hit my box call, and the raspy sound was music to my ears (and apparently the gobbler’s because he continued to gobble). A bird approached from my right side, though my view was blocked I could hear it putting real close to me; apparently It saw something it didn’t like and retreated. But my gobbler continued to gobble about ever 3-5 minutes and seemed to get closer then retreat.
After about 50 minutes of toying with me, I could tell the gobbler was finally consistently moving toward the decoys and me. I put the caller down and peered intently in the direction of the last gobbles. Suddenly, I saw a flash of red, blue and white as the bird began to strut, as he moved slowly toward the decoys and came fully into view above the depression in the field. The bird was so beautiful and big, I had to remind myself to get ready to take a shot. The bird strutted, then stopped, then strutted as he cautiously approached the decoys which were below me and off to my left.
The big gobbler was about 35-40 yards from me but I was afraid he would see me if I moved; as he continued to move, he put a tree between us; I felt it was now or never to get my 870 in position to fire. As I raised the gun, the barrel hit a limb and made a noise; the safety click seemed really loud, but I had the gun up and ready to fire when the gobbler came back into view. It took about 20-30 of the longest seconds of my life before he would reappear. I wondered if he had heard me raising the gun and was heading for the woods on the other side of the creek and out of range.
After what seemed like an eternity, that brilliant head, then the rest of the gobbler’s strutting body popped into view! I was ready, lined up the neck and head and slowly squeezed off a shot of 3″, no. 4 Winchester single X shots. The big bird went down and never got up! I just sat there for a moment, staring and catching my breath. Finally I walked over and just stared at the huge gobbler, lying motionless, with the sun reflecting off all those beautiful, iridescent blue, green and brown hued feathers.
The bird was of trophy proportions and beauty! I doubt if I will ever bag another gobbler as big and beautiful as this one–truly a magnificent trophy! The picture does not do it justice! I am mounting the tail feathers, beard and spurs. What a memorable hunt! I have never heard so many gobblers gobbling at the same time and for so long! What a beautiful morning that was! I am sorry you missed it!”
This is such a great story I am going to give Ed a little bit of a break on this “hero” shot. What an awesome hunt and bird!