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.  

West Virginia Opening Day

This about sums up my morning.

This about sums up my morning.

Last night, I drove down to my parents’ house in southern West Virginia for the opener of spring gobbler season.  I’ve lived away from home for about 11 years but I always make it back for at least the first two days of season.  This one is slightly different than years past, however.  I arrived to an empty house.  My mom is in Alabama at my sister’s until tomorrow, and my dad is in southern Missouri chasing turkeys.  The house wasn’t stirring this morning like it has every other first day of turkey season and it was almost eerie.

I went to the same place on the rim of the New River Gorge that I killed a bird the first day last year.  Three birds were gobbling in their normal places with two close and one far off.  As soon as they flew down, it was pretty clear they had hens.  They gobbled on their own and would not respond to anything I had to say.  I got between one tom and his group of ladies but they skirted the flat I was set up on and made it by unscathed.  Another 10 yards and it would have been game time but it just didn’t work out.  By 8:00 the gobbling had stopped and the rain began.  These birds tend to do the same thing every year, so I covered their return route and stood my post until the 1:00pm quitting time but they never returned.  Guaranteed, they will be back on that ridge top in the morning and so will I.  He may have won the battle, but the war is still up for grabs.