Alan Johnson - Pennsylvania
Alan tried to roost some birds last night & ended up seeing five gobblers about an hour before dark. He couldn't tell whether they were jakes or longbeards. But with the way they've been gobbling lately, it was the best thing we had going for us. So we started the morning close to where we thought they might roost & hoped they would talk a little. But as the sun came up, we still hadn't heard anything from them. As we stood there listening, I eventually heard the slightest little tree yelp! It was awfully close, so we hunkered down at the base of two trees above the head of a steep wooded draw. Pretty soon, we heard a few birds fly down & caught a glimpse of them a little later as they pecked around on the sidehill about eighty yards below us. Best we could tell, there were five birds. Most of which looked to be jakes. I started in with some very light hen talk & as late season birds normally do, they showed very little interest in my calling & never responded. But they were slowly making their way towards us as they pecked around. Alan was toting his custom 16 gauge flintlock & wanted a chance at his first smoke pole gobbler. But when they hit the fifty yard mark, they dropped into the head of the draw & we lost sight of them below the edge of the ridge. Pretty soon, we heard one of them yelp a little farther out the ridge past us. So we decided to make a move on them. It was just before nine o'clock when a turkey gobbled way off on another ridge. Those jakes calked at him & they were right below us! So Alan & I threw out some decoys. I decided to switch calls & do some jake yelping to see if they would respond a little better. Sure enough, they answered my jake yelps & sounded interested! So we got set up right behind the edge on a small bench & pretty soon, I caught movement just below our decoys! Alan cocked his hammer just as they started to crest the ridge. They spotted our decoys, but moved to our right a little & pecked around over there for a bit. Then they decided to come on in & check out the decoys, giving Alan a twenty yard shot with his muzzleloader! The gun went off & Alan raced through a cloud of smoke to jump on his very first gobbler taken with a flintlock muzzleloading shotgun (on the last day of the season)!! It was very cool hunt & one that I'm sure we'll always remember. What a way to end the season!
Sunrise: 5:55 a.m
Temperature: 66 degrees (partly cloudy)
Wind: 5 mph
Barometer: 30.05 & rising
Location: southwest Pennsylvania
# of gobbles heard: 1