Eddie Malik - Pennsylvania
Eddie heard a bird gobble before dark last night. Then he watched four of them fly up. So we at least had a place to start this morning...
As soon as we reached the ridgetop early this morning, they started talking! There were several birds gobbling. So we figured all four birds might be gobblers. We got set up on an old logging road with decoys & started calling to them. But they didn't show any interest. They pitched down & went away from us. There was another group of birds gobbling in the distance, down over the hill on the opposite face. So we decided to move in a little closer & get between them & the "original" birds. When we reached a knob, we spotted the group of birds we were set up on. They were in a field that was on private ground. So we elected to just sit down on that high spot to keep tabs on them & listen for the other birds on the opposite face of the ridge we were on. I yelped to them a few times just to see how they reacted. The birds to our left (the ones we couldn't see) hit right away & were closer! So Eddie ran out & put his decoys on the logging road as I got my camera gear situated. He had a tough time putting them where he could get a good, open shot. I looked up & saw the birds in the field coming our way too! So Eddie ran back & got set up. He didn't have a real good opening to the decoys because of some underbrush. But it's all we could do. The birds to our left gobbled again. This time, just out of sight! Then Eddie caught a glimpse of them, maybe 50 yards away. Two longeards! They were slowly making their way towards us. There was so much brush between us, we had a heck of time seeing them. But they kept inching their way towards us. Then all of a sudden, Eddie could see the other groups of birds to our right angling up thru the draw below us! But they were heading away from us. So I yelped to them & they all gobbled! The two birds to our left began coming our way a little quicker. The other three to our right continued to head up the other side of the draw, onto another knob. Eventually, the birds to our left saw the decoys when they hit the old logging road. Eddie cocked the hammer on his 12 gauge blackpowder shotgun. The sun was at our backs & shining off their iridescent breast feathers as they approached our decoys. One bird strutted non-stop as the other sort of just puffed up a little. Eddie couldn't shoot through all the brush when I could get the camera on them. I couldn't get the camera on them, when Eddie had a clear shot. Then both birds began to strut. This went on for a few minutes as they danced & strutted behind our decoys at less than twenty yards! Eddie said "I don't know how much longer I can hold this gun!" Then they just wouldn't separate. The minutes felt like hours as our muscles began to cramp from sitting motionless for so long! But eventually they separated enough & gave us both a good angle. I yelped just as Eddie dropped the hammer on his first black powder bird! His sidekick gobbled & hung around for a long time & couldn't make sense of the situation. But after a few hours, the other longbeard lost interest & walked off. We took some pictures & celebrated another great morning in the spring turkey woods! What a day!
Sunrise: 6:17 a.m
Temperature: 37 degrees (clear skies)
Wind: 4 mph
Barometer: 30.18 & rising
Location: southwest Pennsylvania
# of gobbles heard: 50