This year I had the opportunity to go on a Turkey hunt in South Georgia with some good friends/seasoned turkey hunters; Clay Thompson,
Kevin Lee, and Darrell Douglas. Upon arrival to the plantation we unloaded our gear and then piled back into the suburban to go out scouting. We drove the plantation roads glassing what I was told would be likely turkey spots. Suddenly, Clay jams on the brakes. There in full strut about 100yds in front of the truck was our first gobbler sighting. He quickly put the truck in reverse and slowly drove away as not to spook it. Driving back to camp I was looking out of my window and spotted another gobbler. The seasoned guys put eyes on it and confirmed that it was a good looking bird. With the truck full of excitement for what was sure to be a great hunt come dawn, we continued back to camp.
This being my first time turkey hunting we thought it would be good to pattern my gun with the Federal 3” #6’s I had purchased. DD gets out his turkey targets and we tape them on a box. Pace of 20yds, I take the first shot. Very nice pattern at 20yds-a definite dead bird. Now we pace of 40yds; some shot in the kill zone but about the limits of my shell/choke combo. Now I feel comfortable knowing my effective range.
We get back to camp and crack open some cold beverages and fire up the grill. As the burgers and brats are cooking the guys start sharing stories about prior turkey hunts, some successful, some not. By the time dinner was ready they have me thinking that turkeys must be a really smart bird due to the fact that they have outwitted these 3 seasoned hunters on different occasions.
5 a.m. came very quickly the next morning, and anyone who has been to any type of hunting camp knows the first morning everyone is full of confidence and excitement. So about 5:30 we head out in pairs to set up in the spots we had scouted the night before, I was with DD and Clay with Kevin. The high for the day was forecasted to be 89 degrees and 70 for the low. I can assure you it was every bit of 70 degrees that morning. As DD and I start walking into the woods he stops me and pulls out a call. He tells me that it’s an owl call and the turkeys will “shock gobble” if they hear it. DD blows the call and to my amazement in the distance I hear gobbling. Instantly my excitement grows and I can’t wait to see what the morning brings. We set up our decoys and find some good spots leaning up against a couple tall pines, and wait.
As the sun comes up DD starts with a box call (as a newbie I felt our odds were best to let him call and me shoot). Every time he yelps the gobbler returns, and it sounds like he is getting closer and closer. An hour or two go by (I don’t really know how long as the adrenaline was pumping )then DD does a cluck call and from what sounds like should be ten yards from me this loud gobble…but no bird. Where is it I kept wondering? About 30min later DD signals me to come over to him and tells me that he watched the Gobbler walk through the field behind us. We call for another hour or so, by this time it’s about 85 degrees so we decide to pack it up for the morning and go have some brunch.
That evening we set up in a double bull blind (100 degrees in the blind), this time it was Kevin and I. We called for about 30 min and sure
enough got a response. Kevin called in a Bearded Hen, a Jake and a Tom, to within about 120yds, but as luck would have it they just pecked around out there for a little while then moved on.
The next morning was very similar to the first, only 5-10 degrees hotter! We called for a while and had replies, but just couldn’t get anything to come in close.
The following evening we set the blind up on the route the birds took the night before (well over 100 degrees this night in the blind) and started calling. Hours went by with little or no response then finally about 7:45 p.m. 4 birds were on us, 2 Toms and 2 Jakes. They started walking our way and seemed like they would be in range within seconds. They got to our 12 o’clock and I guessed the range to be between 50-60yds, so Kevin and I pick a bird and start to count 1…2…3…bang! 3 birds take to the sky and one runs as fast as he can to the tree line. Not even close. So best I can figure is 2 things, either we were delirious from the heat and the birds were never really there or my calibrated eye was off due to heat exhaustion I will leave it to your imagination!
All that to be said, it was a great time with a great bunch of guys and I’m hooked! I would recommend turkey hunting to anyone that is looking for a new challenge.
Chris Morgan is the Engineering Manager for SportDOG Brand. Chris graduated from ITT with a B.S. in Electronics and Communication. He has been with SportDOG since 2006. Having hunted in one form or another for over 10 years, Chris enjoys the chance to get out after new game. He lives in Knoxville with his wife, two children and yellow lab, Brody.