Alan Johnson - West Virginia

Alan I drove to another piece of public land this morning. We were a little later than we would have liked. But we jumped on our mountain bikes & made our way to a far ridge with high hopes. As we rode, every now & then we'd stop & listen. Sure enough we heard a bird gobble from a distance. But it sounded like he had company. I heard a hen cackle as she pitched down not too far from where I thought the gobbler was. So we parked the bikes & hiked the rest of the way. When we reached a high spot above the point the birds were roosted on, we stood & just listened for a few minutes. But we never heard anything. So I crowed to see if I could shock a gobble out of him...nothing! A few minutes later, I threw out a few series of searching yelps & I thought I heard that hen hit. I waited a few more minutes & let out another series of yelps...GOBBLE! I jumped right in with some excited cutts & yelps, then the hen hit & he gobbled again! They were just underneath us on the west slope & just back from the point. So I walked towards the point & down the opposite slope, yelping & cutting excitedly as I went. Alan put the decoys out while I tried to lead them to the point (in front of our setup). That hen opened up a little with some more excitement in her yelps. I kept right on with the excited yelping & then ran back to get set up on the top. As we got ready, the hen yelped again right underneath the point where I called from last! Once we were ready, I yelped again & she came right back with some "walking yelps" telling me she was coming. Maybe three minutes went by & she answered my clucks with a very light, two or three note yelp even closer! A couple minutes later, she opened up again with another series of smooth, "boxy" sounding yelps. I answered her with some light yelps of my own. Pretty soon, I hear Alan say "Behind the decoy, Chad!" I zoom in on the gobbler, strutting on the point & walking to our right (where I last heard the hen). I clucked a few times, he threw his head up, saw our decoys & started marching right to them! His breast feathers glistening in the sunshine as he attempted to strut & run at the same time. He flogged our jake decoy, knocking it down on it's side & jumped on top of it! He was facing straight away from us with his wings dropped & back feathers standing erect, not showing his head. I tried to get his head up with some loud & excited calling so Alan could get a shot. But that longbeard was so engrossed in the situation, he barely paid attention to my calling. When he did throw his head up, Alan could only see the top part of his crown from his angle. Finally, I couldn't take it any longer & just said out loud "HEY TURKEY!" When I did, he yanked his head up & Alan knocked him right off the top of that thing! When he walked out to pick him up, Alan turned around & said "My first one with two beards ever!" But after looking closer, we noticed the bird actually had three beards & a pretty good set of spurs on him too! It was another great morning in the turkey woods! It's mornings like those that we as turkey hunters live for!

Sunrise: 6:36 a.m

Temperature: 28 degrees (clear skies)

Wind: calm

Barometer: 30.41 & rising

Location: northern WV

# of gobbles heard: 35

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