Darren Dye - West Virginia

I met up with good friend, Darren Dye of Ohio to chase some birds in neighboring West Virginia. We started out the morning on a ridgetop to listen. It looked to be a very pretty morning & after a few owl hoots, Darren was able to rip a gobble out of a few distant birds (all of which were not on our ridge). The one we decided to try & kill was roosted in a familiar place - a beautiful hardwood point! We hoofed it over there & soon found out there were several gobblers together, along with some hens. Long story short...we set up & did some calling, but just couldn't make it work. They ended up pitching down & heading away from us into the bottom of a deep hollow. But every time Darren would call, there was one particular bird on an adjacent ridge that would hammer back. We figured he was killable, so we made our way to him. He continued to gobble as we closed the distance & we were able to get pretty tight to him. We set up above him on an old logging road & tried him with no luck. He held his ground, so we made another move. It was a risky move because he was so close, but we had to try it. Somehow, we got lucky & were able to sneak out of there without spooking him! We circled around & soon found ourselves set up just around the point from him. He continued to gobble, but he was stubborn. He did not want to come around the point! Then he went quiet. So after much thought, we decided to try & close the gap. We only made it about twenty yards & wouldn't you know that turkey came around that point & busted us! He putted & pitched across the hollow. By now, it was about 8 o'clock & we hoped to find another one. We did some cutting & running, but couldn't find the right bird. So we jumped in the truck around 8:30 & drove to another piece of property in a different county. By the time we arrived, it was after 9:30. Darren has access to a pretty good sized chunk of ground that has lots of birds on it. So we were set on covering as much as we could in the short time that we had. At a little after 10 o'clock, we struck one on another ridge! He was a long ways off, so we made our way towards him. We cut the distance in half & Darren kept checking him, but couldn't get him to sound off again. Finally, we got him to respond again to some cutting on a pot call! He was still across a small hollow from us. We continued to cut the distance. We stopped & checked him again...nothing! At first, we wondered if we spooked him. Darren yelped to him on a mouth call a minute or two later & he hit it immediately! But he was still across that small hollow. So we dropped into the bottom & got on the ridge with him. We knew he was pretty close. So we set up & called to him from a small saddle on the ridgeline. Pretty soon, we had two separate turkeys gobbling! But neither one wanted to budge. So we picked up & moved even closer. Darren called again & the closest one hit immediately right below us! Only problem was, we had a hard time finding a good setup for the camera. We fiddled around for a while trying to find a better setup, but it wasn't happening. We had to sit down quick. If the closest bird came up over the ridge, he would be right in our face by the time we'd see him. Darren started calling & a hen jumped all over him below us in the opposite direction! So now we had a gobbler to our left on the opposite side of the ridge not 50 yards away. Another gobbler behind us maybe 70 yards & above us & a hen down over the hill to our right just tearing it up! But in order to get any video, we were facing the wrong way!! So we moved about five yards & faced the other direction. Now if the one above us decided to come, we had a good view of the ridgeline in his direction. The hen was now to our left & still talking good! The closest gobbler (to our right now) would still be right in our face if he popped up over the ridge. But the bird above us quit gobbling & we didn't know if we spooked him with that last little move or not. That closest bird continued to hit Darren's excited calling every time & we thought he might come. So I somehow talked Darren into moving another ten yards & flipping back around to face the closest bird. It was a very risky move because all three birds were so close. We managed to reposition, flip back around & face the closest bird. All the while, Darren & that hen continued to jaw at each other! Pretty soon, Darren saw the hen below us maybe forty yards to our right. She stood there cutting & yelping & she sounded so sweet! She had a nice, throaty yelp. Darren & that hen battled back & forth for several minutes. Both gobblers then got quiet & I could see Darren's wheels turning, wondering what to do...then I saw a fan on the ridgeline in front of us maybe 35 yards away! I told Darren "There he is! There he is!" Darren got his gun up & gave him a few soft yelps. He poked his head up & then popped into strut! It was such a beautiful sight! He was blowed up in the green grass on that woods road with a blooming dogwood in the background. Darren let him come another five yards or so & gave him a face full of Tungsten at a little after 11:30! It was a nerve racking last few minutes, but it all paid off in the end! What an awesome day of turkey hunting! It's always a pleasure to share the spring woods with a good friend!

Sunrise: 6:30 a.m.

Temperature: 41 degrees at daybreak (75 degrees at noon)

Wind: 2 mph

Barometer: 29.85 & falling

Location: northern panhandle of WV

# of gobbles heard: Lots & lots of gobbling!

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