Last resort

February 28, 2018

 

 

I decided to try a completely different area this morning in hopes that I could luck into some hens.  It was a little warmer than yesterday morning, but still a little chilly.  The sky was clear again & as I made the trek to this particular roost site, I wasn't sure what to expect.  I had only been in here once so far & there weren't any birds roosted here last time.  The ground was still saturated from all the rain we've had lately.  But it was warm enough that it wasn't crunchy walking.  As I got closer to some of the traditional roost trees, I began scanning the treetops with my binoculars.  But I wasn't finding any birds.  To make a long story short, I came up empty after checking what I first thought was a few birds that ended up being some clumps of oak leaves still hanging in the trees.  It was 5:24 & to say the least, I was a little disappointed.  There's another roost site about a quarter of a mile from where I now stood & I didn't know if I'd have enough time to get over there to it.  After thinking about it for a minute, I decided to try it.  So I hustled down over the hill, crossed the road & up the other side.  If I found some birds, I needed to be set up underneath them in less than an hour!  Once I got over there, I had to make myself slow down & concentrate.  I didn't want to spook anything if they happened to be in there.  I started looking for blobs in the treetops as I slowly walked towards some of the more traditional trees the birds use.  But once again, I couldn't see any!  I thought about turning around & going home to get some sleep.  But I decided to stay & at least listen.  So I dropped down over the wooded sidehill a little to just sit down beside a tree.  I kept looking in the trees as I crept down through the woods.  For a second, I thought I heard a gobbler spit.  I stopped & listened...sure enough, there it was again!  I thought I was hearing things at first because I'm always listening for that sound & kind of expecting to hear it.  So I doubted myself.  But I was almost positive I heard it.  So I inched down over the sidehill a little farther & finally found the source of that sound!  As a matter of fact, I could see two turkeys.  I checked with the binoculars & could tell both were longbeards.  They were both standing up & strutting.  I looked hard in the surrounding trees, but couldn't see any others.  So I picked a decent size cherry tree to set up in front of & slowly crept through the moist leaves to get to it.  It put me within twenty yards of the closest gobbler.  I got my camera gear set up & was ready just in time!  As I sat there waiting on the birds to begin talking, I hoped there were maybe some hens somewhere nearby that I couldn't see.  As daylight approached, the birds began gobbling.  When they did, I could tell there was one other gobbler down over the hill a little farther.  Plus, there was one to my left maybe eighty yards & a few others that gobbled on another ridge.  They sporadically gobbled on there own & shock gobbled at each other for the next half hour or so.  Once it started to break daylight, I still hadn't heard any hens though!  Eventually, they pitched down, sorted out their pecking order & walked up the hill past me out of sight.  I gave them a few minutes, then I ducked down into the bottom & circled my way out of there to avoid bumping them.

 

Sunrise:  6:51 a.m

 

Temperature:  34 degrees (clear & sunny)

 

Wind:  calm

 

Barometer:  30.08 & falling

 

Location:  southwest Pennsylvania

 

# of gobbles heard:  50

 

 

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