Archives for May 2014

Pennsylvania opening day and West Virginia Success

This morning I awoke to a partly cloudy sky with temps in the low 50’s with no wind.  That’s gobbling weather in Pennsylvania. As I made my way to my listening spot, I heard one of the birds from the day before.  He continued to gobble on the limb and for a second I thought he might be suicidal.  On the ground though, it was clear that he had a hen or two.  I could only hunt until about 8:30 and had to be out of my camo and ready for work at 9.  This turkey was definitely killable and I contemplated blowing work off, but responsibility took over.  “You’re 30 years old,” I said.  “You can’t go getting fired over a turkey.”  As trivial and stupid as it sounds, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about taking my chances with a no call no show.  But instead of trying to mess with the bird that might take several hours that I didn’t have, I sat in silence and listened to where they went as his gobbles trailed off.  I sat tight, hoping the other bird I heard the day before would come blundering up on me, but no dice.  The plus side is I made it to work.   The turkey doing all the gobbling will still be there Monday and as of right now, I’m off.  We’ll see what happens.

Valerie Vaughn and my dad with one mighty fine West Virginia gobbler.

Valerie Vaughn and my dad with her first spring gobbler.  Good job guys.

While I was screwing around, my dad and our buddy Valerie were in southern WV on a mission to get her first turkey.  They chased a couple birds around last year but never quite connected.  This morning Dad and Valerie texted me the above photo a few minutes apart.  They were able to get him within 25 yards and then had to watch him strut and gobble for almost a half hour before he cleared some trees and offered a shot.  When he did, Valerie turned out his lights.  Congratulations Valerie!  Job well done.




It ain’t a Lynch but…

Turkey season starts tomorrow morning in Pennsylvania.  While I’m not going to be able to give it a full days effort tomorrow, I’m going to hunt hard until I have to go to work at 9.  I heard two birds this morning where I plan to hunt and I hope they gobble in the same place tomorrow.  When I was getting my stuff ready I pulled out a couple calls and tested them out making sure nothing got wet hunting in WV.  When I was putting my box call back in my vest I noticed the writing on the bottom was starting to wear.  Not wanting the cool little story written on the bottom to be lost, I wrote it down.


My dad gave me this call in 2003.  He bought two of them off of their maker; a guy he met while hunting in South Carolina named Doc Wheddle who at the time was hunting his way across the country on a quest to kill a turkey on public land in 49 states.  Dad knew how I coveted his Lamar Williams box call.  I loved the way it sounded and the checkerboard patterns gave it a unique look (they also have a function) and Doc’s calls were built in a similar way.  He set both of boxes on his desk and told me to pick the one I thought sounded the best.  I made my choice and have carried this call on every hunt ever since.   Since then, I’ve used it to lure a lot of turkeys to their demise.  Its a little scuffed up  and and doesn’t sound exactly like that whiney Lamar Williams call, but it’s a killer in its own right.



On the bottom:

The maple inlays and beautiful old growth poplar body of this call were cut from salvaged timbers of a civil war era home built in Monroe County, Indiana.  Its base and lid come from an ancient walnut tree which overlooked the White River in Owen County, Indiana.  The design of this call was inspired by the incomparable work of Mr. Neil Cost and it was crafted in honor of his legacy as the  premier call maker of his time. #40   3/26/03   Doc

Doc certainly made a fine call and since then has accomplished his goal of killing a turkey on public land in 49 states…twice.  He also wrote a book called Turkey Tails and Tales from Across the USA.  You can check it out on Amazon HERE.  It’s a really good read and gives some good insight into what makes a hardcore turkey hunter tick.  Doc is a really good storyteller and the book is a very entertaining.  It’s almost like a compilation of stories like you’d hear in an old time deer camp.  Very cool.   I hope the turkeys are gobbling hard tomorrow and I’ve got a little of Docs mojo left in this box call.  Good luck to everyone in Pa tomorrow!  Make a narrow target and keep your head down.


West Virginia Day 3


After 3 days I was able to put a tag on a great West Virginia bird.

After 3 days, I was able to put a tag on this West Virginia bird.

As it turned out, I wasn’t needed at work today so I stayed down south to try and kill that turkey one more time.  The weather called for thunderstorms starting around 10 so I figured I’d at least get to hunt until then.  It was windy this morning but I was close enough to where the turkey was roosted to be able to hear him if he gobbled.  The only problem was he didn’t.  Right after fly down though, a hen responded to my call right about where I figured they were.  She started out soft and progressively got louder.  I matched what she was doing and started cutting at her.  She got aggressive right back and for a second I thought I could bring her around.  Instead, she moved off to the east and that was that.  As the morning progressed, the rain never happened and the sun came out.  The wind died down and it was actually a really nice morning to be out.

I was in the same place I hunted Monday and Tuesday.  And this was the same turkey that gave me the slip two days in a row.  Although I didn’t hear him gobble, I knew that gobbler was with that hen.  I have hunted this spot for a lot of years and I’d seen this kind of stuff before here.  He had hens Monday and Tuesday and they stayed just out of range on their way back up the hollow.  I knew if he ever lost his hens, at some point in the day he would come looking for me.  Every 30 minutes or so I’d call really soft then progressively make each series louder.  At noon, I happened to catch movement out in the direction I got the hen to respond earlier in the morning.  There he stood at 40 yards.  He had lost his hen(s) and here he was.  He would take about 3 steps and stop to look around.  He would stand still as a statue for a minute or more.  Since he was coming close, I just let him keep sneaking.  When he got to twenty yards, I let him have it.

1 inchers

1 inchers

Can I definitively say this was the same bird I’d been trying to kill the past two days?  No.  He could have walked in from somewhere else but I highly doubt that.  He did roughly the same thing every day except today he just got a little to close with his investigation.  But who knows.  The point is patience kills turkeys.  Even if he walked in from somewhere else, he’s dead just the same.  It may not be as fast paced and wire to wire exciting as having one rattle his head off all the way in, but when they’re henned up and not talking, waiting them out produces results.  It’s not always fast, but its effective.  As far as the season goes, everything looks pretty early in my section of Fayette County, West by God.  Not much green in the woods and the birds are just getting in the swing of things.  It’s just going to get better.  I’ve got to work tomorrow so I reluctantly headed back to Pennsylvania.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get down at the beginning of next week to try and fill my second tag.  From the looks of things, I’ve got plenty of time.