I decided to head to Ohio this morning when I got off work. I knew I'd be cutting it close on time. But if the turkeys were roosted where I hoped, I had a decent chance of pulling it off! The last time I visited this particular roost site was a week & a half ago. There were no birds in there that day (that I know of). But I talked with the landowner afterwards & he told me he's been seeing them almost every day. For some reason, they just weren't in there that day. So I wanted to give it another shot. It was after 5:30 when I started walking. So I rushed through the cow pasture, through a gate & up the steep slope towards the roost site. As I started into the woods, I kept scanning the tree tops with my binoculars & it didn't take long to find a few blobs! But it was after 6:00 when I found them! I knew I didn't have much time & thought about just sitting down without putting my microphones out. But I didn't come this far to just sit there. So I took a chance! I could make out five different birds roosted off this steep wooded edge in some big oak trees. I wanted to get in between them all. But I would have to walk within five or six yards of the bird in the middle to get set up by a decent sized tree! The ground was beginning to show details & I worried that I was going to get busted. I tip-toed as fast & quiet as possible. But I made enough noise underneath that one bird that I made it nervous. It began putting & I thought for sure I was busted. But I didn't stop what I was doing because it was a race against time. I had to get those mic's out! Thankfully, it was one of those dreary, cloudy mornings. To make a long story short, I managed to get both microphones out. But the bird above me was nervous enough that it pitched into another tree about fifteen yards away! I was afraid it would ruin the whole situation because now the birds were on edge. But not long after sitting down, a bird to my right began strutting & gobbling! I continued to get my camera set up & hit the record button as quickly as possible. I noticed right away, the two birds to my left weren't too nervous. They were just preening their feathers. The bird that was doing the strutting off to my right was behind a big tree & I could only see him when he would lift & lower his fan. But for the most part, the birds were quiet. I sat there thinking to myself, "Wow! How did I get away with that!" Then I could hear something walking in the leaves. Pretty soon, I see a deer coming right at me at no more than twenty yards! Talk about perfect timing! I then thought to myself, "Now those birds will think that deer was what was making all the noise underneath them!" I just hoped the deer didn't wind me & start snorting. But it walked on past & angled up the hill behind me without a care. I sighed a breath of relief & tried to enjoy the rest of the morning. Every now & then, another bird would cough out a gobble on a far ridge. The two birds to my left, which I was focused on, continued to preen their feathers. They looked to be hens. Then the gobbler pitched down, landing twenty yards over my right shoulder on the steep bank. The two hens to my left threw their heads up. The bird that switched trees did some beautiful whines. The gobbler began strutting on the bank behind me. The other bird to my right then pitched down with the gobbler. The two hens to my left started with some soft clucks & under the breath yelps. The other bird continued to whine with a little more volume. Then the two hens to my left pitched out downhill into a field. It wasn't long & the other hen did the same. The gobbler & hen behind me walked down the steep sidehill to join them & it was over as quickly as it started. But man was I lucky! Whewwww!
Sunrise: 6:51 a.m
Temperature: 49 degrees (cloudy)
Barometer: 30.11 & falling
Location: east-central Ohio
# of gobbles heard: 13