PA Spring Gobbler Opener
When the alarm sounded off at 4:30am, I found no problem getting out of bed as I anticipated the morning ahead. I gathered all of my gear, loaded it into the truck, and then headed for my spring gobbler area. I arrived to the parking area around 5:15am and noticed that I was the first person to arrive. I decided to head to a spot where I had heard a bird sounding off a few days earlier. I arrived to my listening area about 1 mile from the truck just as the daylight began to appear. I no sooner sat down on my usual log when the sound that I had longed to hear that morning could be heard and heard often. I quickly moved down the mountain trail and closed to within 100 yards of the gobbling bird. I set up underneath a large oak tree that had excellent vision in front of it. The bird continued to sound off as I put on my gloves and facemask. Once fully set up, I pulled out my Ring Zone slate call and made a few soft yelps. The bird sounded off in response. He now knew right where I was located. I decided to set the call down and wait to see what he did once he flew down. Within 2 minutes of making my call, the woods went silent as the bird apparently had flown down and found some real hens to accompany him. I sat at the spot for another hour as I made a few more calls and watched a curious raccoon climb a nearby tree.
I moved down the trail in the direction of where the bird had been roosted, when I could hear the faint sound of a bird gobbling on a property that I did not have access to hunt. However, PA State Game Lands border the property on the very top of the mountain. My new plan was to circle up to the top of the mountain and work my way out to where I figured the bird was hanging out. I made the 3/4 of a mile hike to the top of the mountain, where I could pick up the State Game Lands trail that goes out across the top. Just as I arrived at the top I watched a few deer feed in front of me. While watching them I decided that I would go down over the other side of the mountain to see if there were any birds hanging on that side. Once the deer moved out of sight, I walked down over the mountain and found a nice area to make a few locator calls. I slipped the HS Strut Raspy Old Hen call into my mouth and directed my first call towards my left. Silence… I then turned to my right and started with a few purrs then just as I got into my yelps, I was cut off by sound of a red hot gobbler that couldn’t have been more than 80 yards away. I found the closest tree and quickly got set up. About two minutes after getting fully set up I figured I would give another call to let the bird know that I was still here and to see if he had closed the distance. I got the call positioned in my mouth when I spotted a turkey fan spinning around about 50 yards away. At that point I moved the call to the side of my mouth because I would not need to make another call. The bird continued to close in fanning out, strutting, spitting, and drumming. Whenever he would get to full strut, he would do a 360 degree spin as he looked for the hen that he thought he had heard. He continued to close the gap and got to about 20 yards into a clear opening. I decided that as soon as he broke strut I would send a shot in his direction. After making another spin, he broke strut and began acting as if he were no longer interested in finding the hen. I knew it was now or never so I sent the 3 1/2″ Hevi 13 5 shot in 2 1/4 oz from my Remington 870 Super Magnum his direction. The shot found its mark and the bird piled up. When I got over to him I knew that this could very well be my best bird to date. I filled out my tag, loaded him into my vest, and began the 1 mile trek back to the truck.
4th gobbler in 4 years for the Raspy Old Hen.
10 1/2″ beard, 1″ broken spurs (downside of hunting turkeys in rocky terrain), and 20lb 6oz, which is more than enough to make this my best gobbler. Now it’s time to see if I can fill tag number two.
Leave a Reply