Alan Johnson - Pennsylvania

 

Alan went out last night & heard 4 different birds gobble.  So we felt pretty good as we walked in this morning.  We weren't able to get in there as early as I would have liked, but just before reaching the ridgetop we heard our first gobble.  It was across a deep hollow from us, off the edge of a beautiful pipeline right-of-way on a point.  We heard others gobbling, but that particular turkey off the point was the best gobbling bird.  So we decided to head over there & see what we could do with him.  When we got over there on the ridge with him, we ran into a few hens on that right-of-way.  They had us pinned down, so we just layed down on the edge of the woods & watched them pick their way towards us.  After a while, that gobbler we were after shut up.  I thought I heard another hen down there with him while we were waiting for those hens to walk away.  Eventually, they walked off & allowed us to make a move out closer to that point where we last heard that gobbler.  We tried to locate him with a crow call first with no success.  Then I switched to a subtle, young hen with no luck.  Then I got more excited & still not a response from him!  We set up blind for a while on that right-of-way & never heard from him again (nor did he show up).  At a little after 9 o'clock, we heard a hen yelp on the far ridge straight across the hollow from us (same ridge we started the morning from).  So we decided to ease back over there & try to stay with them.  When we got over there, we spotted that hen picking around in a hay field maybe 120 yards in front of us.  So we laid down & just let here do her thing.  There was no sign of a gobbler.  We watched her for a while & eventually lost sight of her.  Both of us actually fell asleep as we laid there in the warm, morning sun.  I happened to wake up & saw a longbeard standing there in the field close to where we last saw that hen.  He walked out of sight & we both dozed off for a while again.  Then Alan woke up & saw two longbeards over there & they eventually walked out of sight.  Then we heard one of them gobble on it's own on the backside of the ridge!  It was close to 11 o'clock when we decided to circle around the hill & get above them.  We got set up in a narrow hay field with decoys & started calling to them at a little after 11 o'clock...with no response.  Then with only a half hour left until quitting time, I jumped up, ran out the ridge maybe 80 yards towards the spot we last heard them & called to them.  They hit right away & it sounded like they were down in the woods on the sidehill within 100 yards of me.  I kept calling to them for a few minutes & they really fired up!  So I ran back, got set up again at 11:30 or so & waited silenty.  I was hoping they would come up the hill to where I called from & then hopefully, I could lead them out an access road right into our laps.  At 11:45, they gobbled again, not too far from where I stood calling!  I called to them again & they hit immediately.  Then we heard a jake yelp.  Pretty soon, I saw two red heads pop up & they were walking right out that access road to us (two longbeards & a jake)!  As they spotted our decoys & began strutting, Alan checked his watch & said "They come in to the decoy, I gotta shoot as soon as they get there to beat the clock!"  They strutted side-by-side right up to the decoys & Alan dropped one of them just before noon!!  Alan sat still after the shot & the other longbeard & jake hung around, trying to figure out what had just happened.  Eventually, they walked off after maybe 20 minutes.  But we were treated with a great opening day show in Pennsylvania!

 

Sunrise:    

 

Temperature:  46 degrees (70 degrees at noon)

 

Wind:  calm early (4 mph at noon)

 

Barometer:  29.92 & rising early (29.96 at noon)

 

Location:  Southwest Pennsylvania

 

# of gobbles heard:  90

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