Slow start


It was a little late when I got out of work, so I decided to hit a roost site that was a little quicker to get into. The last time I visited this particular site was April first (two weeks ago) & I was lucky enough to capture some really good hen talk on camera! So I had high hopes for this morning's outing. I got in there good & early without any problems. I could see at least three turkeys in that same big white oak & a few more that were roosted maybe thirty yards beyond them. I snuck to within 15 yards of the closest three & got my camera gear ready. It was 5:55 (15 minutes before it started to break daylight) when I heard the first sounds which were tiny, little clucks. Then it got quiet for a little while. The only sounds were the distant hum of a nearby highway & the rushing of water from recent rains in a small drainage. I dozed off for a while, but was awakened by a soft tree yelp at 6:16! I actually forgot that I was already recording & almost hit the button again, which would have stopped recording. A couple minutes later, a gobbler sounded off maybe 80 yards away! A few more minutes went by, then some geese honked as they flew past, which elicited a shock gobble from at least two gobblers. Then some more tree yelps from a hen & the gobblers began to fire up! I could see one of the gobblers strutting on the limb in front of me about forty-five yards! It was still fairly dark, but I could tell he definitely had a full fan. The ocassional honking of canada geese was met with more gobbling. But there was very little hen talk up to that point. Once I had enough camera light, I zoomed in on the two closest birds & hoped they were hens. They were both still sitting on the limb & preening themselves. Then one of the other hens began yelping a little! She sounded like a younger hen with her higher pitch, but she sure sounded pretty! It wasn't long & I could see that strutter in front of me starting to get antsy. Every time one of those other gobblers would sound off, he'd throw his head up (snood raised) & look their direction. Then he'd strut & begin looking down towards the ground. Finally, I heard wingbeats & one hen in particular really started to get excited! She began a long string of yelps & went right into a cackle. This prompted another beautiful fly-down cackle from one of the other hens! Several more birds pithced down right over top of me landing within a few yards right behind me! Then one of the hens I was zoomed in on switched limbs & started yelping. She pitched out, giving a two-note yelp as she pushed off the limb. Then the other hen began yelping a little & followed. Once they were on the ground, they were very quiet. They slowly moved away from me into a cow pasture & out of sight. I gave them some time to put some distance between us & snuck out through the drainage to avoid bumping them. It was kind of a slow morning, but I wouldn't have rather been anywhere else!

Sunrise: 6:40 a.m.

Temperature: 45 degrees (cloudy to partly cloudy)

Wind: calm

Barometer: 30.25 & rising

Location: Southwest Pennsylvania

# of gobbles heard: 35

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