Early turkey season success and a thirst for more
I was fortunate enough to take a jake in the early portion of the 2017 turkey season. But, like so many of us, I was eager to get a chance at a nice, mature gobbler. I had been planning a hunt with a good friend of mine in Peterborough, Ontario. When the chance came up, I loaded up the truck and headed west to meet up with him. Our plan was to scout Friday night to try and find the tom we would want to chase.
The game plan and an unexpected visitor
We found some birds and where they were going to roost for the night. We set a game plan up from there. On Saturday morning, we made our way into our spot in between a cow pasture and corn field where we knew the birds had gone to roost. The woods were loud with gobbles from the roost as the sun started to break on the horizon. But, two coyotes decided to make an appearance and attack our hen decoy.
We started to get nervous the birds might have spooked. About 30 minutes later a young jake and mature tom came on a rope down the edge of the corn field to our set up. But, they stopped just shy of in range and decided to head back to the flock of about 12 turkeys. Once again, our hearts sank. But, I think that’s why so many of us love the thrills of hunting.
One more shot and an N1 Moment
After a short discussion, we decided to crawl back, jump the fence and put a spot and stalk on the birds, as I only had limited time to hunt that day. We made a mad dash through the woods on the bottom end of the cow pasture, through thick cover, for about 120 yards before crawling the final 60 straight up a hill to the corner of the corn field where we thought the birds would be. As I crawled to the cedar rail fence and slowly moved the grass to take a look, we were RIGHT ON TOP of the birds! I had 4 hens less than 10 yards and three toms at 25. I raised up the barrel of my 12-Gauge Benelli Supernova and let a 3-1/2″ Winchester longbeard shell fly. At 25 yards laid my turkey, a great tom with a 10″ beard and 1″ hooks. It was a successful hunt with ups and downs, but the best part was adding memories with a great friend in the field.
– By Cody Price
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This was my first season of turkey hunting. Well, any kind of hunting, really. I’ve been elk, antelope and whitetail hunting with my boyfriend, but I never actively participated. It was always more like camping to me.
I had tons of butterflies in my stomach the night before. My alarm was set for 3:30 am (way earlier than I have ever woken up for fishing). We layered up our camo, loaded up the truck with our gear, and headed east. We were lucky enough to get access and permission to hunt a small piece of private land along the river bottom of the Arkansas River. After a short drive we arrived at our “home base location,” gathered everything up and started hiking in to were we would set up. I was going to try to bag my first turkey.
The toms speak up
After we were all set up and situated, we still had about 40 minutes before the sun came up. I could see the turkeys still up in their roost for the night, and I didn’t have to wait long before they started gobbling and yelping. I had never heard a wild turkey gobble like that so close, so it was an amazing and unforgettable experience. After about 20 minutes of listening to them, I watched them start to fly down from their roost. I was getting more and more excited after watching nearly 30 wild turkeys fly down and in our area.
We could see at least three big toms and ten or more jakes. They started heading out away from us, but with our decoys and great calling from my boyfriend, they became interested and headed back our direction. It took them another five minutes (seemed like another hour) to mosey along our way, and get within my shooting range. I raised my shotgun, found a jake, took a breath and pulled the trigger.
BANG! My first turkey down! I will never forget that day!
– By Lindsay Smith
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Alligator hunting trip
It was a very warm day in the swamp of south Arkansas. We loaded up the boat and truck and waited for nightfall. As the sun went down, the team and I set out for an alligator hunting adventure we will never forget as long as we live.
We backed the boat into the lily pad infested water and began the search for an incredible species. We passed up multiple nice-sized gators because greed drove us to chase a trophy. As we slowly motored through the lily pads, we spotted a giant. I will never forget the first time we shined the light and saw the red dots floating on top of the water. We cut off the outboard motor, started the trolling motor, and began the stalk! My heart started throbbing as we inched closer and closer. We were just 15 feet away when he slowly faded away under the murky water. Our hearts sank. We were just seconds away from fighting one of the biggest creatures we had ever seen!
We continued scanning across the surface when he popped back up! The stalk was on for a second round! We trolled after him for what seemed like forever. As soon as we were close enough, we stuck him with the first harpoon. We hung on for dear life as the gator took us everywhere across the bayou. The gator wasn’t tired yet, so we stuck him with two more harpoons to seal the deal. Now that we had the beast worn down, we slipped a noose around its neck. We grabbed the shotgun and put one in the chamber. With the squeeze of the trigger, we had ourselves a gator that wouldn’t even fit in the boat with us and had punched the tag of this magnificent creature! We soon realized, with only half of the beast in the boat, that this thing was even bigger than we thought. As soon as we reached land, we heaved the gator out and stretched him as far as we could. When the tape measure hit 12′ 4″, we realized we had an N1 Moment to remember for as long as we live!
– By Hunter Mueller
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