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Georgia trip report

Old 04-19-2004, 02:11 PM
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Default Georgia trip report

My brother and I took our annual family turkey hunting trip last week -- to west Georgia this year. Thanks to Chad and Lee, we were able to get our boys on some birds, and had a big time.

Monday morning I was set up with my 16 year old son James in an area where we had seen birds leaving a food plot while we were trying to roost one the night before. Since we heard no gobbling by 7:10, we went ahead and set up between the food plot and the area we suspected they were roosting. We immediately heard two hens yelping, and I saw another one silhouetted in a pine about 80 yards away. After a few soft yelps, we heard a gobble in that general area, so I figured we were sitting pretty good, though with lots of henny competition. The strategy I decided on was to call sparingly and softly, realizing there were plenty of hens around the gobbler we heard, hoping the hens would bring him to us.

My third and last yelp was at 7:30, when the tom gobbled back at me, a little closer than before. I shut up and decided to see what would happen. At 7:40, from the other side of the large pine we were sitting against, my son whispered, "there he is." I slowly turned to see the tom in full strut, and then watched him drop out of strut looking right at us, trying to find the hen he heard. He had a hen with him, but was up in front of her showing his stuff to the new lady in town. The tom went back into strut, stepped behind a large double dogwood tree which gave my son the chance to put the gun on him, strutted out from behind the tree, and went out of strut to look up for that other hen (me) one more time. My son promptly rolled the two year old at 18 yards with load of 20 gauge federal number sixes. (18 lbs, 9 13/16" beard, 13/16" and 7/8" spurs)

In the meantime, my brother had my other son, and our 14 year old nephew with him on a different property. They got set up near some gobbling birds and promptly had one come in to about 25 yards, made them, and was missed by my dejected 18 year old son. About an hour later another one came in but hung up at about 35 yards, without presenting a clear shot before leaving. Greg, my brother, got some great video of the miss, as consolation. Later, while watching the video, we noticed excess movement by our nephew and figure that kept my son from scoring.

On Tuesday, I got with my son who missed the day before, and my nephew. We set up on a gobbling bird early, which walked the other way all morning.

In the meantime, my brother was hunting with his 11 year old son, and my son who scored the day before. They got set up on a gobbler who never made another sound nor showed up after that.

The next morning we were at another property we’d never been on before. I was with my two sons, and my brother had his boy with him in a different area.

We heard gobbling early, and not knowing the property at all, spent the next hour and a half trying to get positioned on gobbling turkeys. We heard at least three, maybe four different birds in the area. At about 8:30 we decided to set up in an opening with lots of fresh sign, and try to draw birds to us, hoping a hen or two would soon be going off to nest, leaving the toms searching for female companionship. I had at least two birds gobbling back at my yelps by 9:00, and by 9:05 they were heading our way. I was set up looking one way, my son the other. (My other son was just observing). At 9:10 two or three gobbled at the same time, and my son put his gun up in the shooting position at the direction they were coming. I yelped one more time, softly, and they immediately answered back, followed by another soft yelp by me.

I was prepared to shoot following my sons shot, provided the birds got in my line of vision within 25 to 30 yards. But suddenly, my son shot. Seeing nothing, I turned to him, and he lowered his gun, then put it back up on his shoulder, and shot a second time. Still seeing nothing, I said, “Did you miss?” He answered, “I got two.” I could hear two birds putting like crazy out there, and I yelped loudly and excitedly, following which a bird gobbled. They were running off though, and I never saw them. At that point, I stepped out where I could see better, and there was a downed bird, WAY out there. I later marked it off at 55 yards. It seems my son was so anxious about missing two days earlier, he just shot way too early. It is amazing that his 20 gauge #5 Hevi Shot loads killed that bird at 55 yards! The second bird he shot at was gone. After inquiring, it seems that bird was about 10 yards behind the first, and a third bird was behind that one.

A quick and tempered scolding combined with congratulations, and a reminder lesson about marking distances prior to the birds coming in was handed out. In any event, we were relieved and happy that he bagged one. (17 lbs, 10 ¼” beard, 1 1/8” and 1 1/16” spurs)

In the meantime, my brother and his son got on gobbling birds at the other end of the property, and by 7:30 had four gobblers strutting at 35 yards. Unfortunately, his boy missed the shot cleanly at 25 yards, but once again, Greg got some great video footage, of a miss. His boy’s nerves got the best of him.

We were awakened by rain pattering on the overhead tarp at 5:26 on Thursday morning. My brother decided to stay in camp with his boy and my two sons, while I went on out in the rain with Lee and his son Mitchell (our hosts), hoping to get Mitchell his first bird.

Nothing gobbled in the rain (or at least we didn’t hear it) until it stopped. We set up in the same area we’d been on birds the day before, and stayed out there till about noon, with nothing willing to play with us. Lee and Mitchell went back to camp, while I stayed out to scout for a couple more hours.

Everybody else went out for a short time in the afternoon, with no luck.

On Friday morning, I went out with one of my sons, and we were promptly surrounded by several gobbles. We set up on the closest one, who never made another sound. In the meantime, two more gobblers answered my yelps, and I made the (bad) decision to move closer to them as they were probably 200 yards away. As soon as we got up and had walked ten yards, a gobbler (that had been coming in quietly) flew off in a mad rush. Major bad bummer. Patience, patience, patience.

So, we went ahead and set up on the two birds that had answered us. And, of course, they never gobbled again, and never showed themselves.

At that point, I wanted to head off to an area I’d heard gobbling in on up in the morning the two days before. On the way over there, we heard a hen yelping, and set up in case she had a gobbler in tow. Before too long, she came up to us, and wanted company. Unfortunately, there were no toms with her, and she didn’t want to leave us. Finally, after about 30 minutes of her company, when it became obvious she was content to stay right there, we just stood up and walked off. After all, this was our last day hunting, and time was a-wasting.

At about 9:40, we were walking down a woods path back towards the area my son had scored two days before. I peered up as we came near a rise, and saw a full fan in the road up ahead. We scurried down off into the woods in a flanking maneuver, hoping to get well up ahead of the turkeys. After we got what we felt was a safe distance on the other side the way they were headed, we eased back out towards the road, where I promptly heard a sharp putt and turkey feet running away in the leaves. We sat down, waited a few minutes, and did another flanking maneuver – this time a double safe distance ahead of them. This took us to the same clearing where my son had earlier scored, and this time I sat down against the tree looking in the direction of the turkeys, while my son set up looking the other way.

At 10:05, I made a soft yelp. At 10:12, I made another, this time slightly louder. No gobbles. Nothing.

But in about 5 minutes, through the bushes, I saw the unmistakable broad-shouldered form of a tom sneaking down the path towards us. He would take a step, maybe two, puff up into a strut, look in our direction for a while, take another step or two, strut again, look again, etc. He had a nice beard, and I eased my gun up, aiming at the 35 yard mark I’d mentally made on the path.

At 10:21, he made it to my mark, and I harvested him at that point. We hurried over to him, and immediately noticed his double beard. (18.25 lbs, 9 5/8 and 6 7/8” beards, 7/8” matching spurs)

In the meantime, my brother was in birds with his son on the other side of the property, and this time, my nephew didn’t miss. (18.5 lbs, 8.5” beard, ¾ and 15/16” spurs)

It was a great trip, with lots of quality time with our boys, making good friends, enjoying beautiful Georgia spring scenery, all three boys getting their first birds, and an extra one to boot.

Hal
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Old 04-19-2004, 02:35 PM
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Default RE: Georgia trip report

Congratulations to all of you! I too hunt in Ga. and always enjoy getting out there to test my skills. What part of West Ga. did you hunt? Again good job and great story.
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Old 04-19-2004, 02:40 PM
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Default RE: Georgia trip report

that was just awesome[8D]
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Old 04-19-2004, 02:45 PM
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Default RE: Georgia trip report

Congrats to all involved!
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Old 04-19-2004, 03:52 PM
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Default RE: Georgia trip report

Congratulations to you all and what a great story.
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Old 04-20-2004, 07:52 AM
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Default RE: Georgia trip report

We hunted adjacent to Alabama, south of Columbus and around LaGrange.

Hal
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Old 04-20-2004, 08:15 AM
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Default RE: Georgia trip report

MAN.... that's a lot of gobbling and a lot of birds! My brother lives in Booneville, NY. I talked to him the other night. He glasses fields everyday and hasn't seen that many gobblers all spring. The winters and ice storms whacked them really hard two years in a row.

Congrats to you and all the young ones. Definitely a worth while trip with tons of action. I'm heading for NY in a couple weeks. Hope I hear a quarter of the gobblers you heard. Last year in 4 days we heard one gobbler and saw one hen.
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Old 04-20-2004, 08:57 AM
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Default RE: Georgia trip report

My brother, who made the trip from Utah, is wishing he would have taken a job in Georgia back when he had the chance in 1990...

Hal
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