Eddie Malik - Pennsylvania
I was fortunate to hear three different birds gobble just before sunset last night on three seperate ridges! So my buddy, Eddie & I discussed our options & decided to go after the one we could get a better set up with. This particular bird was roosted on a steep sidehill just down off the spine of a beautiful, open hardwood ridge. There's an old road running along the spine of the ridge, which would make a great place to set up. To make a long story short: we got in there, stopped to listen & he gobbled twice just after the song birds greated the day. We got set up within 100 yards of him & another gobbler that was a little farther along the side of the hill & waited. But after getting set up, we never heard either bird gobble again! It was pretty foggy, so I held off calling in fear that they might sit on the limb a little longer with all that fog. But by 8 o'clock, after calling some, we still hadn't heard them gobble, pitch down or even show up quiet! But there was another bird that answered my calling on a far ridge across the hollow from us. By 8:30, we were on our way over there to see if we could do anything with him. The last time we heard him gobble, it sounded like he was on a small point that shoots out from a steep side hill. But he pretty much shut down as we were making our way to him. To be safe, we swung way out around to steer clear of him. When we got to where we thought he might be, we did some calling. But we just couldn't find him! It was really hot & muggy & we were sweating pretty bad. But we crossed a small ravine & got up on that point where we first heard him gobble from the other side. At a little after 10 o'clock, I gave him an excited yelp & he jumped all over it! He was just over the lip of the ridge maybe 80 yards at the most. So we scrambled to get set up. A crow flew over & cawed as I was setting up my tripod & I thought for sure he was going to pop up & bust me getting ready. But as soon as I was ready, he gobbled again on his own & I at least knew we didn't spook him! I yelped to him again, but he didn't respond. So I got a little more excited with another yelp & he hammered right back, even closer this time! A few anxious minutes went by & we hadn't heard from him, so I gave him a few soft clucks...nothing! A few more minutes later, he gobbled on his own & it sounded like he was rolling around the point below us. I was scared he was going to come up over the lip to my left & bust me. But at 10:18, I caught a glimpse of his fan rising up over the lip of the ridge & coming straight out in front of us! He strutted up onto the point, spotted our jake decoy & marched directly to it! When he reached the decoy, he spit & drummed, then spun circles around him! Then he began to nudge the jake & peck at his noggin! It was such a beautiful sight to see the sun glowing thru his fan as he attempted to make the jake flinch. We let him do his thing for a while & then Eddie finally ended the show with a squeeze of the trigger at 10:22! It was a great way to conclude Eddie's last day of hunting before heading back to work after a challenging week of hunting! It just goes to show you how things can turn around in the blink of an eye!
Sunrise: 6:10 a.m.
Temperature: 66 degrees (76 degrees at 10:30 a.m.)
Wind: 2 mph
Barometer: 30.08 & steady
Location: Southwest Pennsylvania
# of gobbles heard: 15